Blake Snyder has written a book titled Save the Cat. It deals with script writing which ties into brief writing, themes and trial structuring. Here are just a few of his thoughts about this which you might consider regarding your next case or trial. By the way, we are still in trial so I have limited time for this blog right now.
- concentrate on writing one sentence. One line because if you can learn how to tell me “what is it?” better, faster, and with more creativity, you’ll keep me interested. If you can’t get to the heart of the story and less than 10 min. no one will listen. In Hollywood it’s called a log line or a one line.
- A perfect log line must include an adjective to describe the hero, an adjective to describe the bad guy and a compelling goal we identify with as human beings. The hero must offer the most conflict, have the longest way to go emotionally and is the most demographically pleasing.
- Try test marketing. Road testing your log line is important. Pitch it to anyone who will stand still even while in line at Starbucks as well as with friends and strangers.
- As producers listen to the pitch for a movie they want to hear a version of “it’s a story about a guy who….” Who is this about?
- once you have the hero, the motivation for the hero to succeed must be a basic one. It must involve a primal urge. A primal urges get our attention. Survival, hunger, sex, protection of loved ones and fear of death. The perfect hero is the one who offers the most conflict in the situation, has the longest emotional journey, and has a primal goal we can all root for. It must be primal of enough to answer the question would a caveman understand? You need to connect with the audience at a basic level. Some examples of primal drives are: the desire to save one’s family – Diehard. The desire to protect one’s home – Home alone. The desire to find a mate – Sleepless in Seattle. The desire to exact revenge – Gladiator. The desire to survive – Titanic.
- The rule of thumb is to stick to the basics no matter what. Tell me a story about a guy who I can identify with. I can learn from. I have a compelling reason to follow. I believe deserves to win and has stakes that are primal and ring true for me. But cast and concept are the starting point of getting any movie made. What’s it about? And who is in it? Are the first two questions any moviegoer asks.
- Somewhere in the first 5 min. of a well structured screenplay someone (usually not the main character) will pose a question or make a statement that is the theme of the movie. This statement is the movies thematic premise.
- the hero has to do something when we meet him so that we like him and want him to win. While you don’t have to have the hero save a cat in every scene or help an old lady across the street to make us love him you must make the audience in sync with your main character and your story. You must takethe time to frame the hero situation in a way that makes us root for him no matter who we is what he does.