Can you pitch your movie in two minutes?
Not just the concept but the story.
Occasionally you find yourself in this circumstance. This month, in fact, a group of Seattle screenwriters will get two minutes each to pitch to a group of producers, agents, and managers.
So what do you say?
One method suggested by Seattle screenwriter, Betty Ryan, is all about condensing the key beats of the BS2 into something you can say quickly, and still make sense.
Betty’s solution is the following:
1. Opening Image
3. Break into Two
5. All Is Lost
6. Break into Three
7. Final Image
When she showed me her truncated beat sheet, then demonstrated this pitching technique in our Beats Workshop two weekends ago, I was amazed. Cogent, totally fufilling, and smart, her method got the job done — and it also pointed up that the key points in any story are the biggest action beats, the ones that still show “transformation.”
Another Seattle alum, Dave Sharkey, had told me earlier about his success in a local Film Festival. Look for details in our News section. Dave and his fellow filmmakers had 48 hours to think up, write, shoot, and edit a short seven minute film. How did they do it?
They used the Save the Cat! software!
Yes, the software can lay out any script or short film and adjust those same beats to as short as a 5-page script and as long as a 250-page one. You just plug in the appropriate total page number and all 15 beats show up in just the right place. Dave found a brilliant way to fast pitch his script, lay it out, and shoot it!
And the best news of all is: Dave’s group won first prize!
Structure, structure, structure! We seek it and reconstruct it in our minds when we see a movie, hear a pitch, or lay out a story of any length.
And I am so pleased writers are coming up with their own ways to adapt the Cat! method to suit their needs. Hopefully, we will be working on a way to raise the page count on the software to over 250 pages, extending that to 300 or even 500 pages.
Because this past weekend, I learned that many of the novelists of the Romance Writers of America are using Cat! software too to lay out their novels. And 250 pages isn’t long enough.
We’re working on it!
Keep the suggestions and the success stories coming!
Our Cat! writers are the smartest, most engaged, most success-oriented out there and I am so proud of all the hard work and great breakthroughs you are reporting.
Keep at it…. and keep us posted!