You may think that movies are movies, but in fact the medium in which they will be released has a big effect on what the movie will look like, which you will know if you've ever watched a TV movie in your Toronto B & B. There are three ways in which a movie can reach viewers - through theaters, through DVDs an On Demand, and through television networks. This article will focus on Made for TV movies and how they are different from other kinds of movies.
Movies that are made for television usually have much smaller budgets, meaning there just can't be a lot of special effects, so science fiction effects like space travel, lasers, and aliens are not common in TV movies. Likewise, the network will probably not have the money to blow up wedding venues or film car chases, so action movies are not a common TV genre. Whenever possible, TV movies tend to have fewer characters and fewer locations than theatrical movies, again to save on money.
The story usually revolves around characters and how they relate to each other. For instance, the story might be about an Ontario architect struggling to get a building made or a couple falling in love. However, one of the most popular story formats is the "woman in jeopardy" which has a ready-made source of drama and tension. These types of movies feature women who are abused or terrorized by their husbands or other men and eventually overcome these issues.
Movies that are also only of interest to people from a certain country or region, such as a biographical film about the Group of Seven, are often filmed at TV movies as well because studios will not back them as theatrical releases, believing that not enough people will be interested enough to see them in theaters. Popular topics for these types of movies are national figures such as politicians, artists, labor leaders, serial killers, and social activists.
Another popular format for made for TV productions is the historical film or miniseries. Nations with an interest in promoting and preserving their culture will often provide funding to networks who wish to develop programs about a psychologist in Kitchener who worked with Titanic victims or a group of women who worked in a bomb factory in World War II, allowing these more expensive types of productions to go ahead.