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

Bluecat Screenplay Competition   

May 23rd, 2012 

Nobody Knows Anything

William Goldman's old adage about screenwriting was 'nobody knows anything.' He argued that you could take all the classes and read all the books you wanted, but in the end there was no hard and fast formula for what made one movie good and another bad - some stories just work,  others don't, and any speculation on how to be successful in the industry is little more than educated guessing.


Whether William Goldman is right or not is up for debate - we've found there's a definite corollary between people who've done their homework on screenwriting and people who become screenwriters - but there's no denying that when it comes to writing a screenplay there's more than one way to skin a cat, so to speak.


So now that we've spent the past few weeks giving you a tour of the three act structure that we love so much, we'd like to spend this week exploring some of the arguments against the three act structure - opinions from wizened screenwriting elders and young renegades alike who have their own strategies on how to write a good movie. Browse the articles and see what you think - whether you stick with the three act format or decide to buck tradition and go for four, five, or no acts, at least you can say you've considered all the options!

-The BlueCat Team 

The Myth Of The Three Act Structure
Just Make It Good

Alex Epstein, author of Crafty Screenwriting: Writing Movies That Get Made, isn't necessarily an opponent of the three-act structure - he just doesn't think a script needs to have acts of prescribed lengths with clearly delineated breaks between them in order to be good. Essentially, he believes that the three act structure is overrated, and the real secret to writing a good screenplay is... Well, read it yourself - we won't spoil the ending for you.

Robert McKee vs Formulaic Writing
Fewer Breaks, More Reversals

Robert McKee, author of screenplay bible Story, considers the idea that specific plot points have to occur on certain pages to be 'destructive' because it turns some young talents away from screenwriting by giving them the impression that the medium is too restrictive. In this video interview, McKee preaches the virtues of three or more evenly spaced reversals - moments that make your characters' world flip-turn upside down and keep the audience hooked.

Selected Script: The Fugitive
You Can't Go Wrong With Harrison Ford

1993 thriller The Fugitive was a big hit at the box office and with the critics alike - nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, it's generally regarded as a no-holds-barred good movie. But beyond that, according to Alex Epstein's school of thought, it's a great example of a script where act structure takes a backseat to good storytelling and the result is a great success. Give it a read and try to pinpoint exactly on which page the second and third act begin. It's more difficult than it looks!     
Free Entry To BlueCat 2013!
Details Below!

The 2013 BlueCat Screenplay Competition is getting closer and closer, and to celebrate we're going to be giving away free submissions to a few lucky contest winners over the next three weeks! Keep an eye on our Facebook page and Twitter feed, where we'll be announcing the contests and giving you a shot at entering BlueCat, getting two pieces of feedback on your script, and a shot at a $10,000 prize all for free!      
What's Your Problem?
Do You Have One? You Should.

Script Guru James Bonnet is a fully fledged opponent of the three act structure, which he calls "unnatural." Pointing out that Classical Greek plays were one continuous act and that Roman plays only took on the five act structure to allow for intermissions so the audience could pee, he argues that the three act structure has no business in modern film, where stories are told in two continuous hours without intermissions. Bonnet's blueprint for a good script? Create a problem, and then solve it. Click here for the details.
Four Or Five?
But No Less Than Three

The folks over at Screenplayology have condensed several arguments against the traditional three act structure into one article. To recap, some writers support the three act structure, while others argue in favor of four act scripts, others believe in five act scripts, and some don't believe in acts at all. We're sure that if we got a bunch of these writers into a room together there'd probably be the world's first screenplay format brawl.


"In Hollywood, nobody knows anything."
William Goldman


Alexander Mackendrick  

BlueCat Videos  

Over our history, BlueCat's often been asked questions from our community, topics ranging from script formatting, improving dialogue or finding representation. BlueCat founder and judge Gordy Hoffman attempts to answers your questions in our video feature, Ask BlueCat.  
BlueCat Interviews    

Miss an interview? Don't sweat it! All of our interviews with 2012's winners - along with some other interviews from BlueCat's past - are available on our website. It's a great opportunity to tap into the psyches of our winners and figure out what makes them tick - and, more importantly, what makes them write good screenplays! 
BlueCat Screenwriting Workshops


A workshop may sell out in regards to full registrations, but the Audit option is always available.
 Deadline for our Online Workshop is this Thursday, May 24th. We have three spots left open - register now!


We have added a second workshop on Sunday, June 3rd in Washington, DC and we will be coming back to New York on Sunday, July 1st for one day only.

     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.


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.


 Full Script Online Workshop    
Full Script Workshop (3 Spots Remain!)
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 (Limit 7 writers) 
Saturday, June 2nd, 9:00AM-6:00PM  
Full Registration $225 (SOLD OUT)
WIFV Member $175 
Audit $45 
  Register Now

Washington, D.C. 
Full Script Workshop (Limit 7 writers) 
Saturday, June 3rd, 9:00AM-6:00PM  
Full Registration $225  
WIFV Member $175 
Audit $45 
Full Script Workshop (Limit 7 writers)
Saturday, June 16th, 9:00AM-6:00PM 
Full Registration $225 (Only 3 Spots Left) 
Audit $45

Los Angeles

Full Script Workshop (Limit 7 writers) 

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 
Register Now

New York City
Full Script Workshop (Limit 7 writers)
Sunday, July 1st, 9:00 AM-6:00 PM 
Full Registration $245
Workshop Returnee $215 
Audit $45  
Register Now 
Full Script Workshop  
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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