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Screenwriting : Do Agents Prefer Versatility or Focus? by Tony Cella

Tony Cella

Do Agents Prefer Versatility or Focus?

After my latest project ends, I plan on tackling a few horror scripts I've been planning on writing for a long time. I enjoy writing horror, comedy, sci-fi and sports movies, but have heard agents prefer screenwriters that focus on one genre. What are your thoughts and experiences with the matter?

Richard Toscan

Screenwriters who work in multiple genres are the exception, but everybody in this business loves a good story no matter how it gets to them. Having said that, the vibe in the air is that agents may be more comfortable with someone who aces one genre or perhaps two closely related genres. Will be interesting to see what others say about this here. In reading your bio on Stage32, I found myself wondering if you haven't found your genre yet and have been trying out half-a-dozen. I suspect a lot of folks in this business would hear you've been a crime reporter and say, "Write me something about that."

William Martell

Focus... because it's easier to remember you as "that guy who writers horror" than "that guy who writes all kinds of different stuff", especially if they are looking for a horror writer.

Tony Cella

Thanks for the advice. I prefer writing horror and comedy, but once in awhile I mix horror with noir or set a horror story in outer space, or add write a comedy set around a sports team. Right now I have a handful of horror script ideas that will take about a month each, at most, to complete. Should I stick with horror at first then branch into comedy?

Richard Allis

Only my opinion, but I would concentrate on getting good at one thing. If you're burned out a bit on something, i.e. horror, maybe you can take a break and write a comedy. But I would pick one to at least be my main concentration. You can always branch out to whatever later.

Tony Cella

Thanks for the advice. @Dan. How did you find the agent?

Arran McDermott

I think my lack of focus on one genre or format may be what's holding me back as a writer. I'm interested in everything. From horror to sci-fi to comedy to period drama. I'd love to have a career like Rob Reiner did in the early days, where every film he directed was different from the last. I have at least one script in pretty much every genre. I also write short stories and novels. But I think now might be the time to focus on where my strengths are, namely horror/sc-fi/comedy shorts or TV episodes. Hopefully if I succeed with that I can then branch out to other genres later.

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