The term genre often conjures up images of gangsters, Western heroes, or monsters. In fact, the term is applicable to all stories. Genre is nothing more than the form, the envelope that encloses the characters and structure of the story. Of course, gangster films, Westerns, and horror films are particular genres. But so are war films, biographical films, science fiction films, and a wide variety of comedies.
In this section of the book, we are going to look at four meta-genres, those that transcend the more specific genres and yet include them. For example, every sports film, every gangster film, every screwball comedy has in it a layer of melodrama. Although we will be using long films to contextualize the different genres, we will look only at meta-genres that are suitable to the short film. These meta-genres embrace the particularities of the short film— its relation to the short story and to the photograph—as well as the link of the short film to nonnarrative forms such as poetry and abstract art.
Now we will turn to those meta-genres and show how they will be useful to your writing a short film.