There has been some discussion in film writing circles about the kind of material that the market will be hungry for in this time of recession. The conventional wisdom is that when things are looking down in the economy, the cinema-going public want to indulge in all that is optimistic, up-beat, redemptive, cosy and happy ending. Thus, people investing in movies, tend to buy up-beat screenplays.
The conventional wisdom in the world of publishing is very similar. And thus, commissioning editors are looking for material with a positive tone. Two weeks ago, I was at a talk given by Barry Turner, editor of the Writer’s Handbook. He was making exactly this observation. He also observed that in times of change, people who are adaptable tend to prosper. It doesn’t look good for the misery-memoir.
The two industries seem to be reflecting the same reality.
One world of caution, though, before we all hurry off and write cheerful yarns where they all live happily ever after. Being aware of market trends is good. But slavishly following them is, in my opinion, a mistake.
Writing has power if the writer is being completely honest and open as she/he creates it. If the story you want to tell has a bleak side to it, and you try to hammer it into a form that you think the market will like better, it may lose its power. And commercially speaking, you will do far better telling a story that 20% of people absolutely adore than one which 100% of people think is quite nice.