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

Bluecat Screenplay Competition   

May 29th, 2012 

Talk The Talk

We've spent a lot of time talking about screenplay structure recently - arcs, midpoints, acts, and the general script architecture that needs to be in place for your movie to stay engaging and entertaining for up to two hours. But as you can probably imagine, there's a lot more to every screenplay than just making sure the plot is turning at regular intervals. First and foremost, your characters need to talk to one another - and it's harder than it looks.

Dialogue is tricky for a number of reasons. For one, people in movies generally don't talk like people in real life - they're funnier and more dramatic, quicker on the uptake, and the things they're saying are brimming with important story and character information to advance the plot. But the trick is subtlety - as the old adage goes, 'If everybody in your script is saying exactly what's on their mind, you're in deep shit.' Subtext, subtlety, getting the point across in as few words as possible... It's enough to make you pull your hair out (and it often does).

Of course, there's no one 'right' way to write dialogue - Quentin Tarantino's dialogue is chock full of detailed pop culture trivia, Paul Thomas Anderson's is awkward and idiosyncratic, while Wes Anderson's dials up the quirk factor. Regardless, there's a few rules that apply to dialogue no matter what style you're writing, which we've tried to pull together for you in today's newsletter. Get started reading so your characters can get started talking!

-The BlueCat Team 

3 Ways To Master Subtext
Stay Off The Nose

Remember that classic line from Citizen Kane, where Kane says, "All I want is my sled Rosebud, because it symbolizes my lost childhood?" No? That's because he didn't say it - through the miracle of subtext, Kane only uttered the word 'Rosebud', leaving his meaning up to debate both by the film's characters and film historians. Subtext happens when your characters mean a whole lot more than they're saying, giving conversations more depth and drama than they would otherwise have. The folks at Scriptreaderpro have their own recipe for creating subtext, which is worth a look.  
5 Tips For Dialogue That Makes Grown Men Weep
This Guy Also Knows How To Write Titles

Playwright Daniel Heath probably knows what he's talking about - after all, he is the winner of the 2007 Emerging Playwright Award. In his article on good dialogue at Script Frenzy, Heath lays out five rules to follow for creating dialogue that works, and it's well worth your time - because it's both a great primer on writing good dialogue as well as a great primer on writing entertaining and informative screenplay articles. 
Selected Script: Glengarry Glen Ross
David Mamet Shows How It's Done

There are movies with great dialogue, and then there are movies written by David Mamet, which exist in a class all their own. Mamet got his start writing plays, where snappy dialogue, not special effects, is what keeps butts in seats. Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross, which he adapted form his Pulitzer Prize-winning play, is wall-to-wall great dialogue. The characters in this script grab your attention with their rapid fire speech patterns and don't let go until the last scene.  
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!      
The Paradox Of Great Dialogue
Make Your Words Work Hard

When writing a conversation between two characters, there's a lot more to think about than just what they're talking about. Your dialogue has to convey character, move the story forward, and tackle the aforementioned subtext all while being interesting and as brief as possible. Feeling overwhelmed? Candace Read at Suite101 can help you out.   
The Best Dialogue I Never Wrote
A Case Study

We've given you a pretty thorough rundown on how to write great dialogue, so we figured it'd be worth giving you a look at what makes an individual line of dialogue great. This anecdote, courtesy of veteran TV writer Phil Gladwin, recounts the group effort that went into crafting a truly dynamite ending for an episode of a TV crime drama.  

"Dialogue is really a function of character. If you know your character, your dialogue may very well flow easily with the unfolding of your story. Many people worry about their dialogue: It's awkward, or stilted; all the characters sound alike; they're constantly explaining things. Writing dialogue is a learning process, an act of coordination. The more you do it, the easier it gets."
Syd Field

"Let every phrase of dialogue or line of description either turn behavior and action or set up the condition for change. Make your beats build scenes, scenes build sequences, sequences build acts, acts build story to its climax."

Robert McKee   

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 Workshops


  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 have also added a new online workshop for September 

      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 th e 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 th is 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.


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
Register Now

September Online Workshop
Full Script Workshop (Limit 7 writers)
SCRIPTS DUE: September 6, midnight PST
COMMENTS RELEASED: September 23rd, 6:00 PM PST
Full Registration: $195
Audit: $40  

Register Now

Full Script Workshop (Limit 7 writers)
Saturday, September 29th, 9:00AM-6:00PM
Full Registration $225
Audit $45

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