I am so proud of everyone in our Cat! circle! The success stories we are racking up, the personal and professional milestones we are reaching every day, are all due to one thing — great Cat!itude!
Case in point: our story structure software. Here’s a little tale about how we jumped into the software world, and will next week unveil an improved product — all thanks to you!
The idea for doing software at all came from screenwriter/software designer Bob McFarlane. He emailed us one day last year and wondered if we had ever considered turning our BS2 and Board he read about in the first Save the Cat! into an easy-to-use program? We were intrigued and immediately went to work together and discovered one thing: like all those in the Cat!osphere, Bob McFarlane is truly one of the nice guys to work with ever! And brilliant to boot.
We worked hard to get the software ready last summer and were delighted with the result!
The release of STC! 1.0 was a huge success. Lots and lots of screenwriters are now using our software, and not just writers, but also development executives, novelists, and even game designers. And after joining forces with the Writers Store, we had an overnight sensation on our hands.
But lo! We also got letters.
Writers had suggestions. They had ideas. They even had problems with some of the usability functions.
My own pet peeve was that the process of going from filling out the BS2 (our 15-point Beat Sheet) to The Board was a two-step one. It forced users to have to do the work twice, once to write out the Beat Sheet, and once to retype those beats into the scene cards on The Board.
Where was the fun in that?
What I wanted was a button that I could push and magically see my beats turn into cards on the Board!
And I was not alone.
And what about the process of turning Beat Sheet to Board to… Script? After all that hard work, shouldn’t we be able to have the 40 beats of my crisp, clean Board magically become the start of an actual screenplay?
Another suggestion was that we show a movie that had already gotten made and detail how it had 40 or so scenes to it — and demonstrate how they fit the template. If I was proposing a 40-beat outline for a script, where was the example in a major motion picture — even one that was longer than 110 pages?
Well, thanks to Bob McFarlane, all that and more is now going to be available in 2.0!
We listened! And we took action! And dang if I don’t love that about our Cat! crew! Bob has been fielding these and other suggestions to make usability better, and to let you be more creative in your imagining!
Now we have that button. Push it and your Beat Sheet is transferred to The Board. Yay!
And we have a feature that is truly mind-blowing — the ability to take a script in Final Draft and turn your scenes into cards on The Board. And the process goes the other way too, so that now you can do all the hard work of outlining, and magically see those cards go to your Final Draft screenplay!
And what movie have we chosen to show beat-for-beat? Spider-Man 2. A big two-hour epic, now reduced to 41 scenes — each with scene description, notes, +/- of emotional shift, and >< conflict — to show you how the pros use the tricks we describe.
We have also fleshed out the real estate in 1.0. Now when you begin a Beat Sheet by choosing one of the 10 STC! genres, such as Monster in the House or Dude with a Problem, you get expanded information on that genre — its key traits and elements — as guides to the needs of your story! And there are more prompts about each genre that pop up while youâ€™re working on The Board.
All this will be available in a new and improved version that you will be able to order as a hard copy or download through our store site starting next week when we unveil our brand new website (with lots of photos of the workshops). If you have version 1.0, weâ€™ll be offering an upgrade.
And thanks to hard work of our beta testers, including some of our home team LA Cats! under Greg Field’s baton, we will have hard copies available at the Writers Store booth at Screenwriting Expo 7 starting October 25. And wow, does the packaging look cool!!!!
We hear and we obey, fellow Cats! So keep those suggestions coming. And I hope you like the 2.0 and are as excited about it as I am!