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What's New, BlueCat?                                          
The Official Newsletter of the

Bluecat Screenplay Competition   

May 15th, 2012 


Hey again, everybody - how've you been doing? We hope you enjoyed the last few weeks' interviews with this year's winners, finalists, and Joplin and Cordelia winners - and thanks again to all of them for their participation. Now, though, we're going to pick up right where we left off with the BlueCat tutorial series, so that you've got every possible trick up your sleeve for this year's competition.

Now, when we last left off, we were talking about Act II, so, as you may have guessed from this email's title, today we'll be talking about Act III.

Act III is, along with Act I and Act II, the most important act of your screenplay. All joking aside, Act III is one of the most commonly bungled acts, even in really good, award winning movies - it's not easy to resolve every plot thread and subplot while simultaneously completing your characters' evolution, all within the shortest act of your script. Doing it right ensures that people walk out of the theater singing your movie's praises; doing it wrong ensures that people will lament your movie for being 'too long.'

It's a fine tightrope to walk, but fortunately we're here to help, like one of those balance beams that tightrope walkers carry. (Not our best metaphor.) Read about Act III and, as always, keep writing!     

-The Bluecat Team  


PS - The deadline for The BlueCat Short Screenplay Competition is tonight at 12:00 PST! See below for details, and finish those screenplays! 

How To Write A Better Third Act
Look Backwards

Part of what makes Act III so tricky is that you're really just harvesting the dramatic crop that you planted in Acts I and II. Act III isn't the place to be meeting new people and learning new things; it's where the people and things from previous acts finally pay off. Marilyn Horowitz at The Script Lab has some tips on how to better set up those payoffs.  
Act III: Make Me Climax, Leave Me Satisfied
Our More Socially Conservative Readers May Want To Give This One A Miss

Script consultant Danny Manus clearly spends a lot of time thinking about sex and screenplays - although hopefully not both at the same time. At his website, No Bullscript Consulting, he's written up an article in which he compares crafting a great Act III to a night of, let's say, making whoopee. Give it a read - even if your screenplay doesn't improve, your partner might thank you.  
Selected Script: Toy Story 3
You're A Cyborg If You Didn't Cry During This Movie

Pixar has a great track record for making films that, on top of being cute and funny and enjoyable for the whole family, have rock solid screenplays. Toy Story 3 is no exception - particularly in its third act. Grab your Kleenex and read on as John Lassiter et al. elegantly provide for Woody and Buzz when their owner goes off to college.   
Why Can't People Write Good Endings?
Well, Because It's Really Difficult

When we said earlier that a lot of movies - even highly regarded, Academy Award winning films - fall apart in Act III, we weren't just goofing around. The folks over at Cracking Yarns have put together an analysis of the third acts of three critically and commercially successful movies with poor third acts, along with their thoughts on where they went wrong.
Who Are You Saving?
With A Little Help From Joseph Stalin 
Hey there, action movie writers. Do you ever feel neglected here at BlueCat, surrounded by brooding indie movies or dark comedies? Well, we found an article on Scriptwrecked that may interest you: Namely, it's one easy - yet slightly counter intuitive - tip to ensure that your Act III is engrossing and exciting.    

"The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder."
Alfred Hitchcock

"Great endings don't happen by accident. They happen because the writer has made them happen. Oftentimes, they do so by simple trial and error (and some tireless rewrites). The writers may even credit serendipity. But I think they happen because of a time-tested structure employed by the writer either subconsciously or by... learned instinct."

Drew Yanno, The Third Act  

for the 
Grand prize: $2000

Two Finalists: $500 each

   Have you got a great idea for a screenplay that just doesn't happen to be feature length? Maybe you've already written a short screenplay - between five and forty pages long - but you're not sure what to do with it. Maybe you're looking to get some perspective on your short before you try to produce it, and maybe pick up a little extra cash for the budget while you're at it.

If so, then submit your screenplay to The BlueCat Short Screenplay Competition! Think of it as a smaller version of the annual Feature BlueCat Screenplay Competition - shorter scripts and a shorter timeframe, but equally lucrative and beneficial to your development as a writer.

at midnight PST

All analysis will be sent by June 15th.

$35 entry fee (with analysis)

$20 entry fee (without analysis)

Winner will be announced August 1st, 2012 







Please check the list below for complete information on all upcoming workshops.   

 About Our Workshops

We write screenplays for people. The relationship between the story on the screen in the theatre and the people sitting in the seats makes or breaks the artistic and commercial success of the movie.


What does a screenplay do to authentically engage an audience? What compels a reader to keep turning the pages? Why do specific elements elicit stronger emotional reactions to our stories? How does a writer write this into their screenplay? Where does this come from within the writer?


An award-winning screenwriter, Gordy Hoffman founded the BlueCat Screenplay Competition in 1998, having since presided over the evaluation and adjudication of over 10,000 screenplays. This unique combination of writer and reader of screenplays has allowed Gordy to develop and evolve a keen eye and feel for how a screenplay works successfully, and the intuitive, personal ways to address the problems of a screenplay through a writer's approach.


Full Script Workshop (Limit 7 Writers)

Participants read seven screenplays in advance of the workshop. Screenplays can be first drafts or rewrites, with first time writers and veterans all welcome. During the workshop, Gordy provides direct and in-depth feedback on each screenplay, with everyone encouraged to contribute his or her own thoughts and concerns. Gordy provides brief written notes to each writer after the workshop. Audit option available.


The First Ten Pages Workshop (Limit 12 writers)

Each writer submits the first ten pages of their screenplay to the group before the workshop day. On the workshop day, we read the ten pages out loud, providing each writer the valuable experience of hearing their script, followed by a discussion of the pages by the workshop. Audit option available.


What if I don't have a script ready, but I'd like to attend?

Do you want to participate, but do not have a script to submit at this time? You can audit the workshop, which allows you to attend without submitting written material, read the scripts in advance and still participate in the discussion.

Note: A workshop may sell out in regards to full registrations, but the audit option is always available.

Full Script Online Workshop    
Full Script Workshop (Limit 7 writers)
Thursday, May 24th, Midnight PST: Scripts due
Sunday, June 10th PST: Gordy releases comment videos
Sunday, June 17th, 6PM PST: Followup questions due
Wednesday, June 20th, 6PM PST: Gordy releases followup videos  
Full Registration: $180
Audit: $40

Washington, D.C.   
Full Script Workshop (SOLD OUT!
Saturday, June 2nd, 9:00AM-6:00PM  
Full Registration $225  
Audit $45 
  Register Now

Washington, D.C.
Full Script Workshop (Limit 7 writers)
Sunday, June 3rd, 9:00AM-6:00PM
Full Registration $225
Audit $45
Full Script Workshop (Limit 7 writers - ONE SPOT LEFT!)
Saturday, June 16th, 9:00AM-6:00PM 
Full Registration $225  
Audit $45
Register Now 

Los Angeles 

Full Script Workshop (Limit 7 writers - THREE SPOTS LEFT!) 

Saturday, June 23rd, 9:00AM-6:00 PM

  Full Registration $175  

Audit $45  
Register Now

Full Script Workshop (Limit 7 writers)
Saturday, June 30th, 9:00 AM-6:00 PM 
Full Registration $225 
Audit $45 
Full Script Workshop (Limit 7 writers - FIVE SPOTS LEFT!)
Saturday, August 25th, 9:00 AM-6:00PM 
Full Registration $395 USD 
Audit $75 USD 

First Ten Pages Workshop (Limit 12 writers)
Sunday, August 26th, 9:00AM-6:00PM 
Full Registration $150 USD
Audit $75 USD
Full Script Workshop (Limit 7 writers)
Saturday, September 29th, 9:00AM-6:00PM
Full Registration $225
Audit $45
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