Save the Cat

TV Consultants go to Hollywood

We seriously did.


Photo credit: Flickr user: raindog808 [CC-BY-2.0 (] via Wikimedia Commons.

If you have never heard of Act One, check it out. Especially if one or more of the following apply to you:

  • you are interested in screenwriting or producing
  • you love good stories
  • you already have a Bachelors, Masters, Plumbing Certificate, and Doctorate in Canon Law and would rather not spend the rest of this decade in school
  • you want to learn from people in the industry, like Bill Marsilii who wrote Deja Vu and Clare Sera who wrote Blended (and that’s just been the first two weeks)
  • you finally want to take that first step to break into Hollywood

This is my first step and since I suddenly find myself work-free and sitting in a cafe trying to enjoy an almond-milk latte as a blank page glares at me judgmentally, I (of course) decided to do what every responsible, hard-working, non-procrastinating writer would do: resurrect the ol’ blog.

And use you as guinea pigs.

I am working my way through Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat! and he recommends going up to a stranger, pitching said stranger your movie, gauging the reaction of the stranger, and using the response to improve your idea. One minor point: talking to strangers is scary. In fact, from my impressionable elementary school days I was taught that when a stranger approaches me (regardless of the scenario) I shout “NO! AND RUN AWAY!” (And then run away.) Another minor point: sharing your ideas with your friends is scary enough—sharing them with someone who has no investment in your emotional survival? Terrifying.

So I’m going to share them with you. At least when you attack my ideas, I can blame it on the depersonalizing veil of the Internet and then take my romcom about a robot who falls in love with a dog and cry in my closet in peace.

For now, I’ll start things off easy with the first exercise (from Chapter 1):

Pick up the newspaper and pitch this week’s movie choices to a friend. Can you think of ways to improve the movie’s logline (one-sentence description of a movie) or poster?

Hello, a friend. Please tell me—you can vote in the comments—which logline makes you want to jump in your car and get to a theatre?

A) A retelling of the classic “Sleeping Beauty” tale from the perspective of the villainess Maleficent, who suffered a betrayal that turned her once-pure heart to stone.

B) Betrayed and bitter, Maleficent curses the annoying Sleeping Beauty—only to deal with crippling loneliness.

A) Two immature young parents relocate to the suburbs and begin a feud with a riotous fraternity that moves in next door.

B) Having relocated to the suburbs to raise their newborn baby, two young parents begin feuding with the fraternity that moves in next door.

In 1985 Maryland, a shy teenager obsessed with pingpong and hip-hop gets hired to perform in a MC Hammer music video.

B) In 1985 Maryland, a shy teenager obsessed with pingpong and hip-hop has a formative summer vacation.

A) The mutant superheroes known as the X-Men join forces with their younger selves from the past to change a major historical event in hopes of saving the future.

B) When the X-Men are being harvested for scientific research, they go back in time and join forces with their younger selves in an attempt to change the past.

Thank you! More to come.