Genre is a way of categorising a text through style and form. This is vital for both production and analysis of the text. Genre is mostly associated with film. There are a set of theories associated with film genre.
A text is classified in a genre by identifying the key elements that occur within the text. These can be referred to as paradigms as they range from costume, to plots and etc. As an audience we recognise these paradigms and expect certain themes and events to occur within the text e.g. the criminal will be brought to justice at the end of the police thriller. These paradigms are grouped into iconography (the main signs and symbols that we see/ hear); structure (the way a text is put together and the shape it takes) and theme (the issues and ideas it deals with).
Genre is important to both audience and producers. Audiences select texts on the basis of genre. For example, retail outlets group and categorise films by genre (HMV). Certain genres are considered appropriate to certain ages/ genders in society e.g teen movie, chick flicks. The repeated elements in genres attracts us to certain films. Do we want to laugh, cry, be blown away? We draw pleasure from this and our favourite films can represent our favourite genres. For example, fans of a particular genre of music dress in a specific way – metal heads and band tshirts or dark clothing.
Producers may construct film within certain genre conventions to cut costs. Furthermore, they market films according to genre because a niche audience has already been identified to enjoy that type of film. Producers may work in certain genres so they have more creative power e.g sci-fi. It is an accepted convention that spaceships make noise, and that creates excitement in battle scenes however, it is a scientific fact that no sound travels through the vacuum that is space.
Genre can provide structure and form which can allow a great deal of creativity. It provides key elements for an audience to recognise, so that they may further appreciate the variation and originality surrounding the representation of those elements.