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Sunday, December 24, 2023

The Popularity of True Crime in Film

True crime has become its own genre in film due to the increased hunger for these kinds of stories. Viewers can’t get enough. They’re ravenous for more information about what makes these criminals tick and for learning how the justice system works.


A true crime film is different from a true crime documentary in that the film is a fictionalized version of actual events. Actors play the murderer, kidnapper, robber, or any other kind of criminal. In the film version of the story, the script explores the motivation and psychology behind the crime, giving great insight into a world of which most people are not aware.


True crime has risen to one of the most viewed genres on Netflix and Hulu, appealing to a much wider audience than ever before. So, what does that mean for the screenwriter? True crime storytelling can be emotional and it’s the screenwriter’s job to lay out the facts blended with back story and motivation to keep the audience engaged. Most people are armchair detectives, so it’s fun for them to solve the crime. These movies are a view into the darkest side of our nature, delving into how crimes are solved, and how criminals are brought to justice …or escape justice.


Movies such as Killers of the Flower Moon starring Leonardo DiCaprio have captured the attention of true crime fans this year. Even though it explores a crime committed in the 1920s, it hits all the beats as it uncovers the possible motivation for the murder of Osage Nation members in Oklahoma. Based on David Grann’s novel, it follows a specific script writing formula for an effective adaptation.


Writing a true crime screenplay requires a specific set of skills. The writer needs to balance storytelling while accurately depicting facts. For this reason, research is a necessary skill to do proper fact-checking. It’s important to be mindful of people’s rights when laying out facts that may affect a single person or group. Avoiding exploitation of the victim and their families as well as the perpetrator’s families, requires experience in this genre. The writer needs to remain objective and just tell the story to allow viewers to form their own opinions.


Some pitfalls to avoid include the use of confusing or technical dialogue that only a small portion of the population would understand. Another pitfall is using non-credible sources for your story and not giving enough of the back story to help viewers understand why this crime may have happened. Some writers make the mistake of sensationalizing a story to make it more appealing, but it can backfire, resulting in legal issues.


With true crime scripts you have to be very careful with your storytelling. Since you’re talking about real people you have to make sure you’re presenting them in the correct way. This brings up the importance of character development. The characters cannot be hollow and must be important to driving the story forward. When writing true stories there can be a tendency to include every character in the person’s life, but unless they’re pertinent to the story, they should be supporting characters, if at all.


So, how does one go about writing a true crime film? One of the best ways to get started, unless you’re a writer, is to hire a ghostwriter. This way you can be credited for the film, but get it written by a professional.  A ghostwriter is experienced in writing all kinds of genres and you can find one who specializes in true crime. They’ll have the skills necessary to craft a story from the facts of a case and present it in an engaging way.


Ghostwriting services companies are a great way to find your ghostwriter. They’ve already vetted the ghostwriter and can find you one that will work best for you. Companies such as Ghostwriters Central work exclusively with ghostwriters and will protect your assets while taking care of all aspects of the writing process.


If you have a true crime story that you think would make a great movie, it’s a great time in film history to get it done. Find your ghostwriter and get started. You’ll be surprised at what a gratifying experience it can be and the public will eat it up. 

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