It’s the last hot and hazy week of summer. Big things are about to happen this coming crisp and cool fall. And I can’t wait!

I’ve got the launch of the new book and updated Cat! software coming up in October. I have a whole round of interviews, travel plans, and speeches to attend to. And then of course there are all those scripts I’ve been consulting on — and having a ball with! (There is nothing I love more than working with writers on their scripts! I love story, and I love the storytellers!)

So what movies am I watching in my spare time?

Here is the list of films I’ve been screening that will tell you where my brain is these days. And those great folks at Netflix (how do they DO it!) have been providing me with their usual fast and friendly mail service, firing those DVDs at me like tracer bullets.

The first category of film I’ve been enjoying is subtitled. Yup. I have been watching and in some cases re-watching some classic French films lately, enjoying the onscreen smoking of Gauloise and the free-wheelin’ use of the word “merda” even in 1948.

Bob Le Flambeur

Pepe le Moko

Shoot the Piano Player

Touchez Pas au Grisbi

What is the explanation for this foreign film jag? Is it the recent warming of Franco-American relations, the skyrocketing sales of Save the Cat! in France? The love of rich sauces? Well, partly.

Actually my screenwriting pal, Mike Cheda, and I are looking at these French gangster pictures for inspiration. We have just finished our re-write on Ringers, our very cool heist film (for Vital Pictures’ producers Chris Lemos and Luis Guerrero, who gave us great notes and as a result is now probably the best script either Mike or I have ever written), and one of the inspirations for that script was the heist film, Riffifi.

So essentially we’re going back to the well to see if there isn’t some other black-and-white foreign film that can inspire us again.

All of the above are just that. From the Truffaut classic, Shoot the Piano Player, to the moody-cool Bob, we’re seeing why structure, or the lack thereof, is important.

And all are ripe for re-interpretation.

Also in my cue is a whole raft of documentaries. I have been toying with the idea of writing a book that applies the BS2 to non-fiction – and trust me it does. From the “save the cat” moment to the “all is lost” beat (including the “whiff of death”), successful documentaries also follow the BS2. If you don’t believe me, here is my queue on that:

The Secret

What the Bleep Do We Know?

Fahrenheit 9/11

The Fog of War

In each case we follow a “hero” and like all stories, these too are about “transformation.”In this case, in addition to the hero, we are the ones transformed by new information, and our “all is lost” moment, the “whiff of death,” is the death of an old idea.

The essence of all communication can be found in the BS2, and the basics of storytelling are the same, no matter what language we use to tell it, and no matter what form.

The struggle to get our stories out is the same whatever canvas we use. Tell me a story. I love to find it, and understand it, and play with it, in every area of communication!

Enjoy Labor Day everybody! And Vive Le France!