Do I have everything?
Pajamas. Extra sweater. Copy of Save the Cat!
I am off to the UK for a week starting Wednesday. If my usual instant response to your emails isn’t up to standard, this may be why. I will be checking in with you via the Internet Cafe near Paddington Station in London where I will be giving a two-hour, sold-out presentation this Friday October 6. Then I will be connecting to you all via any helpful person with a laptop in Penzance where I will be conducting a two-day, sold-out extravaganza for the Cornwall Film Council. So please excuse me if I don’t answer back right away. I want to. And I will asap.
I can’t wait to see all my friends again in England who have made me feel so welcome — not once but twice! Thank you!
And I am really excited to talk about all the things I am learning of late about screenwriting and storytelling.
I must say that I am having out-of-body experiences when discussing these subjects of late; my sessions over at Disney Animation these past few weeks, and my one-day talk this last weekend in Phoenix have found me in a perfect state of happiness as I roll out the act breaks and story structure hinge points in the movies we love. I am supported by the most amazing writers who meet with me in these classes — such wonderful minds! It makes it easy for me to slip into channeling mode. There was a moment this weekend for instance while talking about a movie called The Black Stallion, a simple, “boy and his dog” fable, that I felt connected to… everything.
Finding your bliss is how Joseph Campbell describes it, “realizing your Personal Legend” is what Paulo Coelho says in a wonderful book called The Alchemist — and I have found my place talking and thinking about story. And I appreciate those who indulge me on this and allow me to express myself in this way. Please excuse me while my feet leave the ground. I’ll be back in a minute!
We tell stories because we must, because we are little tuning forks divining wisdom from beyond. It’s the same tales, told again and again over centuries, but we like and need to hear them, and there’s a very good reason: because they let us know that when we get up every morning it’s worth it. And it is.
So off I go. See you in Blighty. And I hope to share with you all the stuff I learn when I get back. And look for us later this month at Screenwriting Expo in Los Angeles with a special announcement about some new developments here in Cat!opolis. There is so much success available for us all, and it is coming to you very soon.
Keep at it. Don’t stop.
- Jackie Brown
Safe travels, Blake.
I love what I call “those little pockets of grace” that occur ever so often and during which every (positive) thing I imagine manifests. It used to frighten me, but now I embrace it as a sign that I’m tuned into the right frequency.
That’s what keeps me going during the slumps–the knowledge that “those little pockets of grace” always show up.
There are no coincidences, friends, and all of us here have been brought together for wonderful things.
Be well, Blake, and make sure your bliss leads you safely back home here to us in Cat!opolis.
- Stephen Todoro
Thank you for your encouragement. You help keep us focused and positive; something that’s often under-rated, yet crucial.
A million “gurus” can tell us what to do, but you seem to offer your knowledge as a friend and it comes through clearly in everything you write.
I am relatively new to screenwriting, but I have the drive, commitment and excitement that will carry me over the long-haul. And when I don’t, I’ll read a favorite section of Save The Cat! and get right back on track!
Have fun in good old old Europe!
BTW: Wasting time candy so much fun :)
- Jacqueline Lichtenberg
Oh, happy London visit! I’m sorry I missed you in Phoenix and I won’t be at Expo this year.
But I did finally lay hands on SAVE THE CAT! and read it cover to cover nodding on every page. My copy is now strewn with multicolored post-it notes, and I emailed you my amazon review.
I had actually encountered “The Board” years ago, but since I’ve been writing novels, I don’t use it — I use the 1/4, 1/2. 3/4, and climax points.
The timing for the screenplay is based on the same principle — but the intervals are different.
So I’m wasting some time making myself a BOARD — the card view in Movie Magic doesn’t arrange itself correctly to be of direct use.
However, for the modern market, your beat sheet STILL describes the award winners, the most moving, most enthralling films.
Here’s how I discovered that.
Some friends rented a DVD and invited me over for a group-watching. They skipped the opening credits and end-credits and discussed the content, not interested in my squealing about the FORM of the thing!
I had no idea what we were going to watch. It turned out to be an award winning foreign film that had pulled funding from some foreign organization but got big name USA distribution. A niche film nobody would ever expect to find in theaters.
USHPIZIN is the title. It’s got a lot of detail on IMDB and loads of reviews on Amazon.
I watched it looking at my watch and counting on my fingers.
Guess what? I think the thing hit every one of your “beats.” And I think that’s why it rose out of the niche nowhere films and powered to the forefront of its class and category.
The content is ultra-small-niche, but the FORM is “blockbuster.” Very instructive.
I think it’s easier to SEE the under-structure of a film like this than it is to SEE say SUPERMAN RETURNS (though I admired that one no end for the neat B story usage).
So SAVE THE CAT! has set me off on a new analytical study of films in general.
An Indy film shaped like a blockbuster — now there’s a concept.
At any rate, I am very excited at learning to craft stories to your beat-sheet and oddly enough, I think I may be able to actually DO it!
Next I have to find a topic (concept) worthy of the blockbuster structure.
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Oooooooh. I like this post. I know what you mean. Love the spiritual take. Itâ€™s refreshing to run into like-minded people. So this coincidence is cool.
Letâ€™s try this: We can visualize love and light of â€œSourceâ€ to the â€œevil dictatorâ€, from my last logline, but then the story might lose itâ€™s erie conflict.
Have fun out there and yes you are a real channel.