Filmmakers tell stories using a range of techniques and conventions whilst audiences have expectations of these stories partly because they are familiar with the different conventions. These conventions can include such things as types of characters, particular settings, style of soundtrack or certain dramatic situations. For example, a black and white film, set in a graveyard at night time with an eerie soundtrack will probably signify to the audience to expect a horror film whereas an opening sequence portraying men wearing stetsons, riding horses through a cactus-lined desert would suggest a western is about to begin.

The conventions are governed by the type of genre into which the film fits and filmmakers will both follow and break genre conventions with differing effects on the audience. This mixture of the predictable and the unexpected is a very useful way of starting to understand film genres.

To get you thinking about the different films genres with which you are already familiar, complete this chart showing what you already know about different types of film: