Happy New Year!
I am so excited 2008 is here. It’s going to be your best year ever! And we intend to be there with you, cheering you on to success every step of the way. And when I look at all the opportunities available to us — the only option is success!
After a very busy 2007, I had a chance to recoup and reflect during our break, and I want to note how proud I am of our mission and our industry!
We are in the middle of a very contentious strike, a lot is on the table, and the most important stack of chips is the future. But when the smoke clears, and we go back to work, and studio production begins in earnest, I hope someone will launch a campaign to remind us what a stellar job the movie industry does and the high standard it exemplifies.
I’ve had the chance to relax and enjoy some movies in the past few weeks, not just for “business” but for fun (although I still can’t help watching with the BS2 in mind!), and I was reminded again of how good we are. And what a great variety of entertainment we produce.
I saw a couple of big “popcorn” flicks, I Am Legend and National Treasure, and had a ball. Especially loved National Treasure and I’m so pleased my friends Cormac and Marianne Wibberley are experiencing such well-deserved success! Pure entertainment? Pure escapism? Oh yes! And no one does it better than the big studios. Still. Always!
Also watched There Will Be Blood, perhaps my favorite movie of the season (with the first fake Save the Cat! scene I can remember) and I was blown away. I want to see it again, and maybe once again.
Also caught Juno and Lars and the Real Girl, both of which hit the BS2 like clockwork. And both are perfect examples of the kind of low-budget Indie scripts anyone interested in pursuing that market should study. Just like creating for any genre, they meet the requirements their audience expects, but do so in a fresh way. Home runs both.
Okay, so there were also some clunkers: Into the Wild may be my new Memento.
But that’s what makes it a horse race. We all like different movies and like to write different ones, too. That’s why our job is so exciting and the business we are in so vibrant.
Point is: if you are looking at your career at the dawn of 2008 with a “woe is me” attitude, get over it! If you feel that “timing” or “corporations” or “lack of money” or “it’s all about who you know” is stopping you from winning, you are just plain wrong. The “system” is not in conspiracy to stop you from creating or seeing any movie you want to make or see. The world of the Indie is alive and well! And so is the big-budget studio flick.
There is room for us all.
There is opportunity EVERYWHERE!
There are diamonds lying at our feet — we just have to pick them up.
Any vision you have, any idea you want to express, any character you want to bring to life, you can.
And this is the year you do it.
I am excited about what we do. And I can’t wait to jump in. I am off to Seattle next week to begin a series of Master Classes there. We’ve also added a Beats weekend here in Los Angeles in February due to overwhelming demand — the pre-requiste for taking the Master Class. This 40 Beat class has become one of our most popular because it gets you right up to the point where you can write Fade In:
We will also be adding some new features to help you in your quest here on the site. First up will be a FREE downloads page with a lot of great info I usually give out to writers only at workshops. Look for a tab marked “Tools” in the next few weeks for these useful extras.
And starting soon, we’ll be offering those who’ve purchased our software a new 40 Beat breakdown of a current movie every month — just like what is available now on the 2.0 software for Spider-Man 2. I think the first movie we’ll do a breakdown for is Juno. Please email me suggestions throughout the year of the movies in theaters you’d like a 40-card breakdown for — maybe we’ll add them to the list!
So what are you doing sitting there eating corn flakes and reading this blog? Get to work! Write up some ideas and go out and pitch them to startled strangers at Starbucks. Join a Cat! group and start reading scripts or writing one. Go to the theaters, go to Blockbuster, go to Netflix (my next movie jag is an Otto Preminger weekend featuring Laura, The Man With the Golden Arm, and Bunny Lake Is Missing), and screen some movies that will help inspire the movie you want to write.
Let’s go! Let’s make this your best year ever.
It starts with saying: Yes!
Happy New Year!
I just read and watched both Juno and Lars and the Real Girl. What wonderful examples of BS2 method of writing. . . . And pure original entertainment.
Your continued support is exhausting.
Happy New Year to you and all your CATS. See you at another Masters Class in the future. You are the MAN!
- Ben Gilton
Great opening blog! â€“ Inspiring â€“ Yes!! As Iâ€™ve just set up shop â€“ Library style, preparing to write the finale (85-110) of my action/adventure/family/treasure hunter (aka) â€“ Golden Fleece! â€“ And just before cracking the lid, I decided to check in with the Cats and see if Blake had anything enriching to share â€“ Waa Laaa! – A terrific message, which gets me to thinking up my own RESOLUTIONS for what Iâ€™ll be referring to from now on as â€œBigâ€ 2008.
I want to bring into my writing GRATITUDE for what I already have â€“ and the ideas that come and ability to capture them, and the desire and discipline to share them â€“ and now with STC â€“ a way to organize and structure everything that gets tangled in my twisted antenna â€“ now I know where it all belongs in my â€œmovieâ€(s)!
I want to continually â€œvibeâ€ out to the universe THANK YOU for all this â€“ as I believe that the happy campers get the best â€œsitesâ€ – so thank you so much for all the inspiration.
I want to say YES more this year â€“ believing that the universe may be pulling me towards my goals, tractor-beam style, but I may be saying, â€œnoâ€, just because it doesnâ€™t look right â€“ not just how I imagined the way itâ€™s all â€œsupposedâ€ to go down â€“ or maybe Iâ€™m simply scared of opening myself up to the â€œgreatâ€ unknown. â€“ reminds me of Blakeâ€™s comments about how Managers and Agents come from the weirdest places â€“ canâ€™t always simply summon them up â€“ if I say â€œyesâ€ more often this year â€“ I may accidentally find myself exactly where I need to be.
And LOVE â€“ keep in the bright places with the bright people â€“and when Iâ€™m working on something that Iâ€™m not loving â€“ stop â€“ I got into this to write the movies and stories and characters that I love â€“ or elseâ€¦it may not be worth my effortâ€¦ And that will most likely showâ€¦
Alright â€“ again, thanks so much for all the inspiration and tools â€“ I use each as it comes down the pike â€“ and I find each and every one more and more useful.
OK â€“ for now, time to fire up Movie Magic Screenwriter and chisel out my â€œFinaleâ€
INT. TREASURE VAULT ROOM â€“ LATERâ€¦â€¦
Blake, thanks again for all the enthusiasm and belief you bring me with your words of encouragement. I look forward to the 40 beat breakdowns of upcoming movies! What a great idea! But the real reason I am writing is to share with you a lovely card I received for christmas – it reminded me of your blog about the messages on the hot sauce packets at Taco Bell:
Our love began with a glance across a parking lot.
You possessed me n just a few days.
I remember long drives through the countryside, and long weekend getaways.
“But the years passed, and like upholstery in the hot sun,
Your love began to fade.
And now in a time when i need your care the most,
You hit the blinker and turn away.
“And while our gas tank of love may be running on fumes,
I still have plenty of love to share.
So if you have a quart of tenderness left for me in your heart,
Take me back to Firestone Complete Auto Care.”
Perchance this ad was wrtitten buy a striking writer, now on the other team writing for advertisements.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
- Russell Bolding
Just a follow up to my post yesterday – tho pure popcorn fluff, I watched Shoot ‘Em Up last night and am now one huge fan! It didn’t seem, to me, to follow much of anything close to the cat method but it was a whoooooole lot of fun to watch. I do believe there was a Save the Cat… AND Save the Dog moment in there as well. The hooker (Monica Bellucci) keeps telling Smith, the hero (Clive Owen) to shoot a mean looking German Sheppard running towards them, he tells her,”I don’t shot dogs. I like dogs.” Later on, he ends up taking the dog home with him. In the case of the cat, a security guard is slurping down his coffee when Smith shows up, ties the guy up, and proceeds to slurp down the security guard’s coffee. There are stuffed cats everywhere with bumper stickers up that say,”I love cats!” Pure mindless entertainment. Okay, that is all. :)
Have you ever thought about being a motivational speaker? I’m talking about real motivation, not like Tom Cruise in Magnolia… lol. I’m sure you’d do a great job.
Other than inspire me, this post has also reminded me how many movies I need to see. There Will Be Blood (which is only playing at the ArcLight), Sweeney Todd, Juno (which I’ve already read, just need to see), and I guess National Treasure. I loved the first one but heard this one wasn’t as good. But your ringing endorsement might be enough to convince me.
Russell, my stepfather rented Shoot Em Up. It almost feels like a guilty pleasure – watching slam-bang actioners – but I can’t wait to pop it in either.
Here’s to a happy 2008 everyone!
- Russell Bolding
Garrett, I’ll say one thing… one of the truest lines in the movie is “violence is one of the most fun things to watch.” And they weren’t kidding either, brother. You’ll enjoy it.
Here’s my thing and this might end up being a rant so I apologize ahead of time, Blake. Lately, I have had a heck of a time, much to my chagrin, making myself write. I already defeat myself before I sit down to do anything. I play video games or force myself to do chores or deal with the daily frustration of life with a disrespectful wife and cat (the ending of THIS particular story may some day end up being “Kill the Cat” instead of “save it”. I’m slowly falling into self-defeat and self- doubt. I’ve been fighting with a 160 GB hard drive that refuses to format so I can use it as part back up drive and part video storage so I can edit my home movies. So far, the drive, wife and cat are winning.
Unfortunately for me, living with a “realist” for the past 12 years has taught me a lot of lessons. Statistics for success as a screenwriter are so skewed against, not to mention in my case, not having the funds to properly learn proper writing or living in the middle of BF nowhere hasn’t helped.
Here’s where I feel I’ve stood out, tho. I’ve pitched my first “strong” idea to a few people and they think it’s very interesting. “Evil aliens use a reality show as a ruse for their invasion and it’s up to a selfish 15 year old girl to stop them.” Even the owner of my Blockbuster has told me to work hard and get this thing finished and sold – he wants to see it! HE does! So, as I claw my way back from deletion (I accidentally erased 8 months of work down the drain by losing my Montage – Mac screenwriting software – file but I’m now back on page 20), I am doing all I can to keep focused with eyes on the prize.
I hate thinking about the money but there’s so much I need to do and so much that needs taking care of. Plus, I’m dying to get out of retail and into a career that might pay well enough to live on as well as keep me from worrying about whether or not, even if I card them, the girl behind the counter is of legal smoking age so I don’t sell her cigarettes and end up in jail as a result or whether or not all of the soda I’m stocking is in date or expired.
I work so many part time jobs to try and make ends meet and it’s getting hard. So much to keep up with. But the neatest thing is I ALSO work part time in Sioux Falls, Sd as a BVHE movie rep… DISNEY, man! I merchandise DVDs and Blu-ray for one of the greatest companies in the world! They don’t pay squat… but, the fun part is getting free DVDs with the hard work I put in as well as the opportunity to build standees and displays for the local theaters here. I just installed a display for Pixar’s next, Wall*E… and I was STOKED!
So what am I getting at? I want to be a part of the business form the inside so badly! I want to write, find an interested party or two and sell this sucker and find the end of my rainbow. I see you all with such positive attitudes and I just want to scream. I CAN be positive but life around me just keep throwing me curve balls. Never mind a “tough skin.” I already GOT that. Rejection wouldn’t hurt anymore than getting a flu shot. Wife supports me but not in the way most people get support. She only wants to see the money. Never mind about what my stories are about or what the script is going to turn out to be. She’d rather bitch and sit back reading Clive Cussler or Steve Alten (Dirk Pitt series and the MEG books respectively). Guys and gals, say a prayer for me. I want this as much as you all do and I know the pool of writers out there is totally overflowing. My story is “okay” – probably not something Mr. Spielberg would care to tackle (even tho he’s going to be one of the first I send a query letter to… LOL!) but I just need to focus. Okay, I’ll shut up now… :P
- Russell Bolding
Oh wait, one more thing… I have the pressure of wanting to take a ride to Sturgis on my NEW Harley (paid for with the funds from my sold spec script) this year, my undying need to go home to see my family – I haven’t seen them in 7 years nor even met my only niece and nephew face to face yet, as well as my 20th high school reunion is coming up. I want to be able to go home to surprise everyone that thought I’d never amount to anything. :) That is all. :)
What’s wrong with Memento and Into the Wild?
In my opinion there’s nothing wrong with Memento, but you need to read Blake’s book to understand the bile he has saved up for it… ;)
As for 2008, I feel charged and ready to launch into some fresh writing.I’ve just picked a couple of competitions I intend on entering so as to provide me with deadlines to force me to focus. And then I’ll start beating out the various ideas i have rattling around up here.
Blake, do you have any opinions on the various scriptwriting competitions that are out there? Any to steer away from? Any with true opportunities?
Btw, just plugged your site and book in a big way on my blog. Your book was a breath of fresh air when i read it a year ago, standing out from all the same old same old drivel that is aimed at us budding writers. Thanks for creating rules that actually liberate the process rather than confine it.
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Just rented “Shoot ‘Em Up” and can’t wait to watch it! Sure, pure popcorn entertainment but we really need more movies like this to cheer on. I LOVE a good cheesy, corny action flick, don’t you? Still dying to see “Sweeney Todd” tho. :) Cheers!