Here’s a fun fact to know and tell:
What’s the major difference between “Indie” and “Major Studio” production?
Indies can come out any time of year and are not made to satisfy a set schedule, while Hollywood produces films to fill slots in the calendar — “tentpole” movies in the summer, movies for holidays (Valentines Day, Halloween, and Christmas) and “Oscar contenders” between Labor Day and New Years.
So what’s January?
Usually it’s the place where “orphans” are found, those movies that got made, but aren’t stellar in their expectations. January is really the cruelest month, and often the time of year when audience drops, too.
So why is this January sizzling hot at the movies, with several hits, and box office up 19% over last year?
Notable among the hits is Mall Cop. As easy a poster to describe as you can think up (it’s”Die Hard at the shopping center”) and targeted right down the strike zone at anyone who has been near a mall — and that’s just about everybody. Another “Dude with a Problem” tale is Taken, starring Liam Neeson, which took the top spot Super Bowl Weekend, unusual for an action movie when most of its target is more interested in the game. Like Mall Cop, Taken is about as “primal” as it gets. If seeking revenge against the kidnappers who took your daughter doesn’t grab you by your caveman’s, what will?
Most think the uptick in box office is economic, proving that in hard times, movies do well — especially if they offer the kind of escapist fare these two do. But I think the explanation is more precise: Both fulfill the requirements talked about in Save the Cat! From poster to execution, they hit the target squarely.
Most important, success at the movies, and the types that are succeeding, bode well for us. More ticket sales mean more opportunity for new and seasoned writers. In a time when most industries are cutting back — ours, too — there is a glimmer of hope for real optimism with the right script.
And we will be right there with you, helping you to create, assess, and market stories that connect.
To quote Aadip Desai, former President of the Northwest Screenwriters in Seattle, and now an official Hollywood screenwriter who has moved to L.A. with not one but two solid specs, Save the Cat! is your “sidearm” and gives you the tools and insight to compete. Of the 50,000 scripts registered with the WGA last year, maybe 2000 sold, and 200 get made. We want you to be one of the 200. Delivering the basics is a must.
Primal. Targeted. Satisfying.
Tell that story — especially with a catchy title that “says what it is” — and your odds go up every time.
P.S. The First Save the Cat! Contest of 2009 is over! We had an outstanding avalanche of hilarity. Stay tuned as we wade through the brilliance to find the true diamonds and announce our winners this Monday!