That buzzer you hear signals the end of the first half of play here in 2009.

This halftime update is sponsored in part by the movie industry, so make sure you, too, run not walk to see Transformers, The Hangover, The Proposal and Up.

And now a quick review of what’s happened so far.

2009 looks like a great year for the movie business. The “poster” is in. Not that it was ever out. But the power of the poster continues to amaze, and bring in big returns at the box office for those who “get it.”

What’s the poster?

Think of the problem all moviegoers have: You are driving down the freeway at 70 miles per hour, you turn and look at the cineplex coming up on your right, then resume driving.

Well? What did you see?

I see the poster for The Proposal, that’s for sure. Right there without even knowing who’s in it. I see it just in the silhouette. Woman proposes to man. She’s cute. He’s befuddled. (And at least they’re not standing back to back!)

The title “Says what it is” in just two words.

And lo! Look what happened. The biggest opening for Sandra Bullock movie ever.

Are we starting to understand? Is it sinking in what I mean about “the poster”? Simple is good. Primal is good. Ironic is good. Clear is good.

But what about you?

At midpoint here in 2009 are you achieving your goals? If you are a spec screenwriter on the move, you should be writing four a year (on average and including tv scripts that’s what’s always worked for me) — so you should already have two specs completed by now. You should also have 10 to 20 pitches you’re working on. You should have doubled your list of contacts since January. You should be hearing “the rolling thunder” that lets you know you’re not just doing great —  but that you are a “force of nature” that cannot be stopped.

If you are not hearing the thunder yet, change your ways. I get tons of email from writers decrying the lack of one skill or another. “That’s me, that’s who I am” they say. No. Not true. Deficits are meant to be overcome.  If you’re bad at dialogue, get better at it. If your ideas aren’t connecting, come up with new ones. If you are isolated in your town, sitting in front of your computer  in an echo chamber of your own design, go to our Forum and connect with others in Cat! Nation and get feedback. And if you’re in New York City, sign up to-freekin’-day for our August 15-16 STC! event. Get in a room with other screenwriters who are going to make the second half of 2009 the winning season it should be.


That’s the buzzer! It’s time to return to the remainder of our game. Stay tuned for the nominees for the 10 best movies of the year (Yikes!! What a bad idea!).

Go. Fight. Win.

Ready?…. break!