The box office results are in and the movie business did extraordinarily well this holiday, an uptick from a year which overall saw a 4% drop in ticket sales. But the last minute rush bodes well for all in 2009.

The huge success of last month’s Marley and Me, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Yes Man, Bedtime Stories, and holdovers like Four Christmases and The Day the Earth Stood Still seem to indicate two things:

1. The assumption about the movie business doing well in hard times holds up and…

2. Older audiences may be what have made the difference

This year, as I’ve stated, will be your best year ever. Why? It’s because if there’s one thing 2009’s movie business will need it’s high concept, easy-to-see and make, castable, general-audience movies.

The very thing that Save the Cat! is about.

On top of this, if articles in Variety and Hollywood Reporter are any indication, there’s good business in the spec screenplay sales. I love the loglines of the scripts and pitches that are selling! These are ones that fire up my juices, ones where I say: Why didn’t I think of that? Kind of like the ones discussed in the very first chapter of the first Save the Cat! that pinpointed exactly how Four Christmases would attract talent and audiences based on its concept alone.

So if there is one really great way to end the year, it’s knowing this: your business is in a period where they need our scripts. Despite internal shake-ups, layoffs, and studio realignment, opportunity is everywhere.

It also means we have a mission: We get to lift spirits. Enlighten. Empower. Inspire. As well as entertain.

We’ve been waiting for this moment all our lives.

The 2009 Screenwriter's and Playwright's Market
The 2009 Screenwriter’s and Playwright’s Market

To help, take a look at this book in which I am proud to have had a small part. Writer’s Digest and Writer’s Market have created a resource guide just for screenwriters, The 2009 Screenwriter’s and Playwright’s Market  — an amazing tool rivaling the handy Hollywood Creative Directory for names to query and approaches to try in 2009. Put together by my buddy Chuck Sambuchino, and with a fantastic article by writer Robin Mizell about Save the Cat! this is definitely a post-holiday stocking stuffer for yourself or your writing group.

I’m also pleased to report that our beat sheet workshops for January and February sold out fast, with some really top writers I can’t wait to work with! So we’ve decided to add a new class on March 7 and 8. Trips this year will include a return to London, Vancouver, Portland, Seattle and, hopefully, New York City. But we’ve also had inquiries from writers in Toronto, Chicago, and Washington D.C. If you’d like to be included, please contact Rich Kaplan ([email protected]), who is arranging the 2009 schedule now.

So. Set your clocks for 2009. Make a list of goals and aspirations. Be audacious in your spoken wishes.

And let ‘er rip. This is it! This is the greatest year of your lives! Let’s enjoy every minute of it!