One of the many disciplines Save the Cat! endorses is the cultivation and clear enunciation of your ideas.
It’s not enough to be inspired, it’s not enough to “see” your movie.
Can you get someone else to see it, too?
Screenplays are blueprints for further action. And action starts with the idea.
If you can get yours into a form I find intriguing, I will ask to see that script.
If the script is well told (and that means well-structured, another STC! principle), I as producer will ask: Who is this for? And can it be made and released for a price that will make back an investment?
And finally, once I’ve asked for your script, bought it, and made it into a movie, I now have to tell others about it, and tell your idea a third time in a smart advertising campaign. It’s a $30 – $50 million investment in P & A (prints and advertising) on average for the typical major studio release.
But just because we’re “only the writer” doesn’t mean this information cannot inform what we do, too.
One of the better articles about this rollout can be seen in an essay in The New Yorker by Tad Friend that writer Dianna Ippolito brought to my attention. I have since suggested it to other writers, and now you:
The article details the challenge of testing, marketing to, and rousing an audience into action. And by the way, this is not meant as a negative by any means, but as a reinforcement of the pressing need to be clear when we lure audiences to our scripts — be it one decisionmaker or millions!
Pitch, is all I’m saying. Put your movie idea into a form you can tell others about… and get them interested. Whether it’s a lively poster line that sums up your movie in a catchy slogan; a tight logline that hints at the beginning, middle, and end of your hero’s adventure; or a treatment that grabs our attention — grab it! Not only will you have a better chance of selling your project, but the discipline of clearly stating what your movie is about will make the writing of that story that much better, too!
P.S. And speaking of the discipline of writing a better logline, the avalanche continues on our STC! Contest. Our judges are overwhelmed with the hilarity. Keep ’em coming. But please note the rules of the contest; some of you are missing the assignment! Like all our contests, this one is both for fun and for developing the writing muscles that are vital to our careers!
P.P.S. I have heard from several teachers (two I spoke to at Screenwriting Expo this fall) that both Save the Cat! and Save the Cat! Goes to the Movies are being used as the sole texts for college and high school film courses. I would be interested in hearing from any teacher using Cat! and would be happy to speak to your class via speaker phone as I have done over the past few months to great results! I am also pleased to report that Save the Cat! Goes to the Movies especially is selling off the hook, another printing has been ordered, and it’s reached “best seller” status faster than the first book! Thanks to all who have made my second book as great a success as the first, and please let me know if I can be of help answering questions or appearing — even virtually — in your classroom.