Wow! What a Weekend!
I am getting ready to come back to the States, but wanted to thank everyone who made our first UK seminar such a great success. Thanks to our sponsors Moviescope Magazine, The Central School of Speech and Drama, the one-and-only Jonathan Hall, and Jaci Stephen for her great article about our class.
This weekend’s class showed how amazing it is when writers get together in small groups. We paired off and created four teams in class, going from the suggestion of a title to logline to beat sheet to pitch in 48 hours. The final four pitches by the brave souls selected by their group to tell their story were off the charts superb — and shows again how if you “hit the beats” a primal, meaningful, resonating story is sure to follow.
Also got a great suggestion for a new book that I have been noodling on ever since. And, as always, the experience I gleaned from being in the company of creative, generous, talented creators is nothing short of inspiring.
Thank you, one and all.
- Natalie Hitchcock
THANK YOU BLAKE!!! It was a fantastic weekend. Come back to London soon!
- Simon Drake
Darn it, i wanted to go but was booked up that weekend. I’m so going to go next time Blake’s in London!
- Paul Brannigan
That look you see isn’t because we are cold and deliberate it’s because we’re shell shocked and overawed! If I was pitching the weekend as a movie it would have to be “The Snyder Syndrome – A true life Stranger Than Fiction”. It struck me just after my midpoint moment (complete with party and kiss on Saturday night) that somehow Blake had transported me into his world – I was not only learning about the Beat Sheet I was living it! After the first day I’d gone back to the hotel to work on a couple of “Elevator Pitches” but I met a nice young woman in the hotel bar… (it was all very PG we’re both happily in other relationships but it hit the beat to the letter) The next morning came the turn. And I kid you not, an American lady gets in the elevator with me. She’s a film journalist and the daughter of seminal English Director Ken Russell. “So what are you working on?” she asks. Had I done my homework I could have given her a short effective pitch. As it was she took pity on me and introduced me to her dad who I was also unable to pitch to. Now I knew I was in Blakes World and sure enough my next beat was “Bad Guys Close In” as my lack of preparation made the second day’s work that much harder for me and my group. You see my Ugly Truth is I like to busk it – I’m okay at winging it, know how to get a few laughs, and so I’ve got lazy and complacent. But I needed to experience all those beats including All is Lost (trying to deliver an ill-prepared story pitch and letting my group and co-pitcher down) and Dark Night of the Soul moments to see this truth and realise that this old way of operating wouldn’t cut it if was ever given a chance to pitch to Universal for real. Unless I change my ways I will never be a successful writer. I came back and decided I had to “Storm the Castle” and clear all the distractions out of my office and life. The whole thing so bowled me over I’m writing an article on the experience. I need to – for therapy. Thanks Blake – I don’t know what magic you use but it works!
- Karen Goro
Cold and deliberate? Get outta here!!!!!
Blake, thanks it was an AMAZING weekend! What more can I say? I am buzzing with ideas, can’t wait to join the London Cats and to just get my script sorted. Thanks to everyone else for making the weekend fab, fun and inspirational.
- James Woolf
Thanks to everyone for a terrific weekend – very inspiring for us cold and deliberate Brits! Really glad I wore those bright blue trousers now!
See you all again
- James Harbinson
Ok, but what we all want to know is when the heck you’re coming to Canada? I mean, granted we’re not as exotic as the UK and we all sound like Celine Dionne working a woodchipper in Fargo but your money is worth more here!!
Think of it Blake. We pay you with 5000 Quatloos (or whatever the hell you call our money) and when you return to sunny California you can afford to buy as much maple syrup that will fit in your glove box.
I’m even willing to install electricity up here if you come.
The glaciers have pulled back as far as Toronto now (although really most of Canada considers Toronto to be our embarassing inbred cousin) so come on up Blake.
Once you’ve gone “aboot” the rest of the story is “moot” (uh… clearly you can see that we need writing classes up here).
- Patrick Reynolds
Not only is Save The Cat a great, tight system but the possibilities it offers are, thankfully, spread by Blake, a master story developer. One of the few scriptwriters, surely, able to think continuously on his feet to help individuals and groups weigh the nuggets of ideas and grow them into the spines of full-arc stories. And do so against the clock. Repeatedly. Juggling one pitch or logline or question after another, and being ever open and full of energy. It is great that the Cat system is shared with us. Even better, possibly, is how it meets the world, and spreads. The London seminar was inspiring and helpful, and not least among the benefits it offered was the chance to work, live, with Blake to refine and adapt ideas, step by step, and to fire-up ideas in the creative crucible with everyone. Thanks, Blake.
Paul B, that’s a great story!
Paul, your story is brilliant and it’s made me think about my daily life as a beat sheet! Funny as hell and very insightful!!! Thank you for brightening my day! PS. I wasn’t able to make the London weekend but will be at the next one. Jayne (UK)
- Kris Griffin
I echo Paul’s comments and quell his fears in that he didn’t let the group down at all; it was a very difficult task with a very rewarding outcome. The whole weekend was part of an amazing learning experience. I’ll be a better writer because of it and I’ll never watch a movie in the same way again.
A truly inspiring seminar with so much to take away it leaves you breathless and bursting with writing energy.
Thanks to Blake and to everyone who make the weekend such a massive success.
- Sarah Beach
Loved your story, Paul! And what an elevator encounter – even if you feel you blew it.
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Wait! You can’t do ANOTHER book, until #3 comes out! (At this rate, I’m going to have a whole shelf of CAT! books. :D )