Why Structure Resonates
Since James Brown went to that big dance club in the sky, I am officially â€œthe hardest working man in show business.â€ In addition to my movie that goes into production this year (my 13th spec script sale) and working out the two new scripts I plan on writing in 2007, we here at Save the Cat! are really excited about the upcoming events we have planned. Seminars, podcasts, the radio show, and of course our famous highâ€“intensity structure weekends! All of these are designed to help you write stories that work, from initial concept to final fade out. And as you know, figuring out why stories work is my passion. I get a thrill every time a story method becomes clear to me — and I canâ€™t wait to tell everyone I know.
I am finishing the manuscript for the sequel to Save the Cat! News comes from my publisher that STC! is the #1 best selling book in their catalog right now. Our numbers are blowing people away. Why? Because I not only tell the truth about what it takes to sell your script, I give you the tools to communicate your vision, your way. The new book that will be coming out this fall is â€œthe graduate courseâ€ of STC! It takes the 10 genres I coined in the first Cat! and breaks down five movies in each category to show the range and breadth of each. Mostly, it is an easy reference so that if you are writing a â€œdisaster movieâ€ or a â€œbuddy movieâ€ or an â€œensemble,â€ you can turn right to that chapter and see how others who came before you tackled the very same issues you are wrestling with right now. And this applies both to big-budget studio films and â€œlow-conceptâ€ Indies — because guess what?
The â€œrulesâ€ of storytelling apply to all.
In the Indie category I will tell you why Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Napoleon Dynamite, Open Water, Crash, Brick, and Maria Full of Grace all follow my â€œrulesâ€ for what makes a good story. Do they always fit the BS2? Yes! And itâ€™s amazing to me every time I see it unfold! But I will also show you how you can mix it up once you know the elements of structure, how say the B story often hits late — as it does in Oceanâ€™s Eleven and Black Stallion — and how the Theme Stated beat can take place mid-movie, as in — Titanic. Successful stories hit all the beats; they donâ€™t necessarily hit them in precise order. This new book should make clearer what I talked about in the first. It’s all about having a language we can use to get to the essence of any story challenge.
Gad! Iâ€™m excited!
Why a well-told story resonates with us is simple. We want to learn how to live our lives, and stories tell us how others do that. Thus finding what your story is â€œaboutâ€ is key. I note that Babel won Best Picture – Drama last night at the Golden Globes. Just like Crash, which I break down in the â€œInstitutionalizedâ€ chapter of my new book, Babel is an ensemble, multi-story, theme-driven tale about â€œtransformationâ€ — the true purpose of any story — and the reason we send heroes into the â€œtransformation machineâ€ aka Act Two.
More will be revealed, as they say â€œin and out of these rooms,â€ but I am having a transformation experience myself by getting to know all of you, and working out why every good story resonates. Thanks to everyone who made STC! such a runaway hit. Stay tuned for more mind-blowing structure tools!