Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror… by George, that’s it!!

For the better part of my life I’ve been encouraged to pigeonhole my skill set into ONE category, one genre. Do I want to be a director? Then direct. Or maybe a producer? Then produce. How about a graphic designer? Make up your mind, kid. Maybe I’ll try video editing? Just pick one and stick with it!


Well, it’s safe to say that at the age of 38, I still can’t make up my mind. And dammit, why should I? I’m having a blast doing it all. Ain’t variety the spice of life? One would hope. So when it came to writing The Sleeping Deep I (subconsciously) approached it as I do with my meandering career path: it’s a little bit of this and a little bit of that with a dash of this other thing thrown in, too. Is it horror? fantasy? science fiction? mystery? thriller? Please, pick just one. Thank you.

One?? Are you kidding me? Where’s the joy in that? This goes back to the days of multiple choice tests in school. I was forever wracking my mind, wringing my hands, deliberating and agonizing over each letter. At least 1 choice was obviously wrong (right?) but I’d typically find myself torn between two, sometimes three options that all sounded relatively close to one another and potentially correct — and I wanted to choose them all. Bad idea.

Needless to say, I was hardly an “A” student. Only when it came to art class did I really shine. Sciences? Yawn. Math? Forget it.

If one has a decent idea for a screenplay and it easily falls into a genre category (drama, comedy, romance, action, what have you) then you’re one step ahead of the rest – or are you? However, if one finds that their concept is nebulous, multi-layered or complex and its genre isn’t easily identified — that’s okay, too. Let the story take the wheel and steer you where it wants to roam. By forcing the concept to stay inside the lines and “on target” you run the risk of missing opportunities (roadside attractions, side streets, places of interest) that may just enhance the initial story and drive it to a destination you never thought possible. “Wow! Look where we ended up! I never knew about this place. Glad we decided to check it out.”

I got word that The Sleeping Deep made the semi-finalist list (semi-FinaList?) at the 2nd StoryPros contest. I had submitted to their 1st contest when there we no genre specific categories, only one long list of screenplays: drama, sci-fi, family — all swimming up the same stream. This round they made the decision (a wise one IMO) to breakdown the competition into different categories with mixed genres. There happened to be a Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror category which could very well be considered a legitimate genre if you check out the shelves at Blockbuster and read the DVD cases. Science fiction? Check. Fantasy? Check. Horror… Eureka! That just about covers all the bases of The Sleeping Deep. Stir in a spattering of Mystery, Suspense, and Lore and now you’re cooking.

Next up? Perhaps it’s time I write that Bromantic/Disaster/Period/Dramedy I’ve been toying with. ;)


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