Recently, I’ve had to honor of helping out on a couple of studio projects.

For you and I writing on spec, there is a palpable need for success, but get inside the walls of the studio, with millions of dollars and the jobs of your fellows on the line, and  the pressure is intense.

So why was I surprised to see the very same tools and techniques we use in play?

When we start getting into it, those same visuals found in our Save the Cat! software, and the same phrases and approaches we use in class, lifts the development process, too.

“Come over here and look at what we’ve got so far,” I hear before being shown….The Board! And there it is on the studio wall,  just like the one I use at home.

To illustrate the direction where we stand with the film in progress, The Board is the tool that is whipped out, and it illustrates the story perfectly. “Here we are in the Set-Up of our film, here’s our Midpoint, here’s our Fun and Games section,”  and to tell what happens in each scene… a simple declarative sentence.

See! Simple is good. The pros don’t have time for less.

And that’s not all.

Just like in our Beats and Board classes, the ideas that pop, the understanding of story, and the way we make our point is the same, too.

“Okay, this isn’t it, here’s the bad way to do this but…” is the way the pros begin their pitch.

That simple preamble to an idea says: “No this may not be it yet, but maybe this direction will jar loose the real way to find the answer.”

Because when you are deep in it, looking at the picture in a new way is a must — and really, there is no such thing as a “bad idea.” The pros insist on the freedom to be wrong

And I must say that what really makes my heart sing is also the attitude with which the pros take on the task, for it too is just like in our classroom.

It’s ever positive. And always moving toward the light.

Yes, we had to give up this whole way of looking at the story that we spent months on… but look how far we came because of it! Look what going down the wrong road helped us find!

We’re excited! We are on it! There is an answer here.

And it’s fun! Despite all the pressure, man this is the greatest thing I’ll ever be involved in… ever!

For writers yet to get their first sale, who think the process is somehow more magical inside the walls than out, no, it’s the same. And I am reminded again of some other very important qualities: how ego must be checked at the door, how positivity must be embraced, and how “never give up” must be our motto and the life blood coursing through our veins.

But we knew all this already. Didn’t we?