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.
FOUR a year?
I’ve been doing two — based on Terry Rossio’s advice.
- Captain Perry
I’ve got two so far this year and have two more planned for the remainder of the year.Readers and sounding boards in Charleston S.C.are hard to come by.I’m looking for a West coast writing partner.I’m serious.I’m never at a lost for original ideas but I can’t for the life of me get my stuff into anybody’s hands who’s ever read a screenplay.Everybody who reads my stuff thinks it’s just wonderfull.Well it could be one day if I can find a critic.But aint that a CROCK.
- Andrew Bellware
How does one sign up for the August class?
Thanks for the pep talk, coach. Needed that.
- Mike Rinaldi
I think what I’m hearing Blake say is that each of us needs to be the protagonist in his or her own story. Which means being proactive! Because stasis is death. So if you have an obstacle or detriment, overcome it. Sometimes writing a character’s arc means completing your own. Be the hero of your own story and go write!
- Jeff Paterson
Sounds like your vacation fired you up, Blake, good to see you’re back:)
Hey Captain Perry, you ever want a critic, send something my way and I’ll give you my two-cents without charging a dime.
- Captain Perry
Same here Jeff.If you send me your script,it doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad,I will promise to help you make it [email protected].I can mail it or put it in a file.Tell me what’s best for you.Thanks Blake,My resolve you triggered is to offer and seek the help and opinions of my peers.
And for anyone looking for a “fresh” idea for a story, there HAS to be a comedy (or maybe horror?) movie waiting to be written about these interesting protagonists and antagonists:
Blake, you’re my new guru. I’ve got specs to finish before I birth my baby this fall, and I’m sleeping with Save the Cat. (It works by osmosis, right?)
Great post Blake. You excel at putting things into perspective with something tangible. I think writers –myself especially– are in desperate need for that.
But one item on your list is especially hard for me to find a starting point: building contacts. I don’t know how to find any contacts, much less double them.
I know it’s necessary, but it’s hard to see how to start. Do I just let my work speak for itself?
- David Phillips
“Every morning, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must outrun the fastest lion or be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle or it will starve. So whether you’re the lion or gazelle, when the sun comes up, start running.”
Thanks for the insight Blake.
- Forrest Knutson
This post has been an amazing CATalyst. FOUR screenplays a year! Holly Shimoli! Kicked my butt into gear. Thanks Blake! You’re a continuing force of inspiration.
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It’s always nice to get a nudge to remind us all of what we should be doing. I, for one, need to get better at my pace of writing scripts. I’m a natural at the other things… and I am a natural at writing fast (he says to himself 5x).