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Story Structure Made Easy
Why would you want to ‘Save the Cat’? If you are a screenwriter or aspiring one you should have heard by now of Blake Snyder’s game-changing screenwriting book.
In his 20-year career as a film producer and screenwriter, Blake Snyder sold dozens of scripts, including co-writing Blank Check, which became a hit for Disney, and Nuclear Family for Steven Spielberg — both million-dollar sales. Named “one of Hollywood’s most successful spec screenwriters,” Blake sold his last screenplay in 2009.
His book, Save the Cat!® The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need, was published in May 2005 and is now in its 24th printing. When I read this book it really had an impact on my storytelling and screenwriting.
Thankful Blake was not done and apparently it was not quite the last book on screenwriting you’ll ever need, as the eagerly awaited sequel, Save the Cat!® Goes to the Movies: The Screenwriter’s Guide to Every Story Ever Told, was published in October 2007 — shooting to #1 in the Screenwriting and Screenplay categories on Amazon.com. Blake’s third book, Save the Cat!® Strikes Back: More Trouble for Screenwriters to Get Into… And Out Of was published in November 2009.
Blake’s method has become the “secret weapon” of many development executives, managers, and producers for its precise, easy, and honest appraisal of what it takes to write and develop stories that resonate. Save the Cat!® The Last Story Structure Software You’ll Ever Need has codified this method. Blake passed unexpectedly in 2009 but the Save the Cat community carries on Blake’s work.
I had the pleasure of interviewing one of Blake’s main pupils Jose Silerio. Jose is carrying the torch of Blake’s work and travels around the world well…saving the cat.
Enjoy my informative interview with Jose Silerio.
LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
- Save the Cat – Official Site
- Save the Cat!® The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need
- Save the Cat!® Goes to the Movies
- Save the Cat!® Strikes Back: More Trouble for Screenwriters to Get into …
- Rise of the Filmtrepreneur®: How to Turn Your Indie Film into a Moneymaking Business
- Rise of the Filmtrepreneur®: FREE AUDIOBOOK
- Indie Film Hustle TV (Streaming Real-World Film Education)
- Rev.com – Closed Caption Your Indie Film ($10 off Your First Order)
- Alex Ferrari’s Shooting for the Mob (Based on the Incredible True Filmmaking Story)
- VideoBlocks (Stock Footage – IFH Discount)
REAL-WORLD STREAMING FILM EDUCATION
- Indie Film Hustle TV (Streaming Real-World Film Education)
- Hollywood Film School: Filmmaking & TV Directing Masterclass
- Filmmaker in a Box – Learn How to Make an Indie Film – 18 Hours+ of Lessons
- Storytelling Blueprint: Hero’s Two Journeys
- The Dialogue Series: 38 hours of Lessons from Top Hollywood Screenwriters
- Filmtrepreneur® Podcast
- Bulletproof Screenwriting® Podcast
- Six Secrets to getting into Film Festivals for FREE!
- FreeFilmBook.com (Download Your FREE Filmmaking Audio Book)
Save The Cat! Tutorial Video: BACK TO THE FUTURE
Save The Cat! Tutorial Video: THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION
One of the greats! Shawshank shows the power of story told through strong beats, setups & payoffs.
Save The Cat! Tutorial Video: TOP GUN
TOP GUN is not only a classic 80’s film, but it’s also a perfect tutorial on utilizing strong beats in a screenplay.
Save The Cat! Tutorial Video: TRUE LIES
True Lies is a fan favorite and proves James Cameron knows how to take action & comedy work well together.
Save The Cat! Tutorial Video: ALIENS
Further proof of Director James Camerons’ ability to use strong story beats along with a solid film premise “truckers in space” to great effect.
If you liked Screenwriting Story Structure Made Easy, then you’ll love:
The Writer’s Journey: The Screenwriting Blueprint with Chris Vogler
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Stuff You Need in Your Life:
IFHTV: Indie Film Hustle TV
Book: Rise of the Filmtrepreneur®: How to Turn Your Indie Film into a Moneymaking Business
Book: Shooting for the Mob (Based on the Incredible True Filmmaking Story)
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Transcription – Indie Film Hustle Podcast Episode #71.
Welcome to the Indie Film Hustle Podcast Episode Number 71.
To be a screenwriter is to deal with an ongoing tug of war between breathtaking megalomania and an insecurity so deep that it takes years of therapy just for you to be able to say, ‘I’m a writer’ out loud. Blake Snyder. Save the Cat.
Broadcasting from the back alley in Hollywood. It’s the Indie Film Hustle Podcast where we show you how to survive and thrive as an Indie Filmmaker in the jungles of the film Business. And here’s your host Alex Ferrari.
Alex: Welcome Indie Film hustlers to another episode of the Indie Film Hustle Podcast. I am your humble host Alex Ferrari. So today’s show is sponsored by the Million Dollar Screenplay by Paul Castro the writer of August Rush. It is amazing course if you want to be a writer or screenwriter. This course is great. It tell, it gives you the nuts and bolts right off the bat and it’s very quick probably about an hour and a half to two hours and gives you straight to the point stuff that get you started or finesse your screenplay. You can go to indiefilmhustle.com/milliondollar that’s indiefilmhustle.com/milliondollar and he has a brand new course which with your screenwriter a filmmaker what ever you are in the business. This course is amazing. It’s called the million dollar business of screenwriting but a lot of the stuff that he talks about in this course can translate into all aspects of filmmaking from how to read a room, how to pitch or how to pitch a story in a room to an agent, to a manager, to an investor, how to read a room. How to deal with agents, managers. Just how the business works in a whole and it is wonderful man. Really really great stuff. So go to indiefilmhustle.com/screenwritingbiz that’s indiefilmhustle.com/screenwritingbiz and download that. Really worth it guys. So to go along with our screenwriting theme today guys. Our guest is Jose Silerio from ‘Save the Cat’ Blake Snyder’s amazing book. Blake passed a few years ago but Jose is keeping the torch going on his amazing work on Blake’s amazing work with ‘Save the Cat’.
If you’re a screenwriter today or you’re aspiring screenwriter today and have not read the book ‘Save the Cat’ you have to go out, stop listening, go to the show notes at indiefilmhustle.com/071 and click on the link to buy the book. It is a must read for all screenwriters. It’s remarkable what Blake was able to do kind of revolutionized screenwriting and I wanted to reach out to the ‘Save the Cat’ community and wanted to share what Blake had done with ‘Save the Cat’ with our community our tribe. So Jose was nice enough to talk to us about Blake, about ‘Save the Cat’ and all the revolutionary ideas that he came up with all those years ago when he wrote ‘Save the Cat’. So without further ado enjoy my conversation with Jose Silerio. Jose man thank you so much for joining us on the Indie Film Hustle Podcast. I really appreciate taken out the time man.
Jose Silerio: Thank you very much for having us Alex. I mean were happy from ‘Save the Cat’ would be part of this and you know just help out screenwriters as much as possible.
Alex: Yeah I’m a huge huge fan of Blake Snyder’s work and ‘Save the Cat’. I read all three books. And they’re amazing. And they have kind of change the business a lot. Ever since they were released. So can you tell me a little bit about Blake and ‘Save the Cat’. For people who don’t know.
Jose Silerio: Yeah definitely. You know as you said ‘Save the Cat’ sort of became big in the industry and that’s not you know not something simply us to think our own or but it’s only from our own experience. You know when Blake was still around, we saw how his method, his books really became popular and Blake really you know screenwriter yet just like most of us. He started screenwriting way back in the eighty’s. He was even started working for his dad in his animation serious doing the voices for the kid in the show and all that and he got into screenwriting way back in the eighty’s and he sold you know several scripts throughout his career like twelve or thirteen altogether and in couple other made. It’s a blank check and stop or your mom or my mom will shoot Richards the more famous ones he did that came up. But I think from Blake really what he did with ‘Save the Cat’ and I would kind of how we did well for him is that you know just like everybody else and in the CS specially for writers that there are those ups and down moments and right there you’re always you know struggling to sort of break in. Even though and I said even though you’re in already. You are kind to have moving yourself.
Alex: That’s what you have done it’s like Janet Jackson says what have you done for me lately
Jose Silerio: Exactly and I think that kind of came from I think knowing that the struggle who went through who wanted to make sure that other writers following him sort of had a little bit easier if I can put it that way and he found you know he had his own method of developing structure. And if you see it it’s funny because he had this little story. Was that he you know this is like early May ninty’s or late eighty’s he tell me he want to do these development meetings. He submitted a script. You know the producer was there and they decided to him with a script and the producer goes then so what’s your you know break, act to break. Just talking about the story more. Then after the meeting ended. You know when all other producers, the one producer who see on with him pulled him aside and said you don’t know what the act to break is, right. Yeah I have no idea what it so
Alex: Right right.
Jose Silerio: Sort of became his introduction into creating structure. And him realizing that you know in order to tell a good story regardless of story. We need structure. Again so he developed this own system which eventually began to ‘Save the Cat’ method and again because it’s from his own experience of wanting to help other writers later down the road. You know he just simply wanted to share it because it sort of working for him and like you said you know once he published the ‘Save the Cat’, the first book at his published and people knew gravitated toward it and it just exploded.
Alex: Now did you know what, where ‘Save the Cat’ came from the name.
Jose Silerio: The name ‘Save the Cat’ itself is a term that uses and you know and it’s a simple way where your audience to like your main hero. It’s ‘Save the Cat’ literally comes from the term you know saving a cat you know and what place it’s just what you give your hero an action to do early on in the movie, in the script. You know that makes us say oh that’s a nice guy you know I like this person you know which will make me want to follow this person’s journey for the rest of the movie.
Alex: Which would be the opposite of that would be ‘Kick the Dog’ which will be my book. ‘Kick the Dog’ how to be an evil person.
Jose Silerio: And it’s a great way to introduce a villain.
Alex: Right. You can, anybody who kicks a dog like that guy’s bad. So it’s a perfect example. So that’s where it comes from. OK great. So how did you get involved with ‘Save the Cat’.
Jose Silerio: You know it’s funny I got involved in ‘Save the Cat’ exactly the same way like everybody discover ‘Save the Cat’ which is I read the book. You know Blake. You know before the book came out. But when I read the book you know and the list. Oh you know the people, writers that I’m a very lazy reader. I’m sorry to say. A book you know even though it was a thick. ‘Save the Cat’ let’s not read it’s thick.
Alex: It’s not a hard read.
Jose Silerio: It would usually a book to pick would even take me something like a year to read.
Alex: You’re really lazy. You’re really lazy right.
Jose Silerio: ‘Save the Cat’, I sat down open page one couldn’t put it down. It just like you said it’s a very nice it’s you know you get it right the way. You get what Blake talking about and what the thing that nice thing about it could be a sort of for me this is my reaction. This was very encouraging and telling me that you know this is something that I can do and a lot of the things that I found myself like oh no as a screenwriter like I’m getting stuck here you know explaining it and telling
me no this is all you have to do and that’s how I got into ‘Save the Cat’. I read the book. You know he had this email address which everybody knows who have read the book. I wrote him. Ask him what other stuff and all that and then one day Blake asked me saying hey I need help with the script that I need to read can give me notes. You know maybe we can build something together and luckily you know.
Alex: You were at the right place at the right time
Jose Silerio: Exactly you know the stars aligned for me and that’s how I got into ‘Save the Cat’ and it was like way back into 2006 2007.
Alex: I can’t believe that’s way back.
Jose Silerio: Yeah. It’s like ten years now.
Alex: Wow! So can you explain to everybody. What a is because I remember the first time I was in an executive meeting and someone goes so where’s your beachy. I’m like. So you see the character does this. This is very similar to what Blake did. I am like I just try to keep going with it but then afterwards I found out what a beachy was. So can you explain to everybody what a beachy is.
Jose Silerio: Well a beachy especially now with ‘Save the Cat’ and a lot of you know a lot of other I guess, producers everybody has their own kind of definition for what beachy is. So I’m going to going to go with the ‘Save the Cat’ definition as Blake put you know the beachy has an for us we have what we call the fifteen beats, a fifteen key beats and what that process the fifteen beats of the beach same as the Blake Snyder beachy. It just really pinpoints the fifteen key beats that your hero must go through in order to tell a good story. These are moments of must be happening to your hero and your hero must be doing us well in order for us to be able to follow that structure, that story in a way that’s very familiar for the audience and again when I say familiar I’m not saying you know you’re just merely copying from other movies, other scripts, other books you’ve read before but in a story structure is something that the been ingrained in all of us ever since you know from nursery rhymes, telling jokes it always a structure and that beats you know those fifteen beats is something what Blake sort of not really develop. But he
Jose Silerio: Even not discovered but he just kind of made it clear for everybody and he said and he having studied all these films that they felt like you know what really successful films they really like he said, you know he discovered there were just fifteen beats were always present and that’s what you know I guess a beachy is. You know you have this fifteen beats in ‘Save the Cat’ there minorities go from opening image all the way down to fifth, the final image that like I said earlier that we like your hero must go through. So in short I guess it’s really like an outline or but maybe it’s a good way to really help you as a writer figure out what’s happening and more importantly when it should be happening to your hero.
Alex: Right. It’s kind of oh well what I have taken from structure is because when I write my structure is pretty sound because I like structure I like having that those tedpoles to be able to like right too. So it’s like OK from here to this point to this point. This has to happen so how I get to Point A to Point B is up to me as a writer but I have a place to go. Without that structure you’re just kind of like meandering all over the place.
Jose Silerio: Exactly. I think it’s what you said you know that nice firm that use was temple which is exactly
you know what Blake was meant. A lot of times and I say this all the times like when I went to film school that when you know the right thing in screenwriting class one and one. The thing that he always got was Ok there is act one, act two, act three.
Alex: Yeah right.
Jose Silerio: And I like Oh
Alex: That’s very wage.
Jose Silerio: How do you fill it in and thats what you know ‘Save the Cat’ beachy that Blake does, atleast in act one you know what should be happening act one because right the way you know which beats must be happening within the pack and where again it’s happening then same thing when you go to act two and act three.
Alex: Yeah it’s pretty amazing. There is a series on YouTube that has. They take ‘Save the Cat’ method and they beat it out with movies. It’s wonderful to watch because you like back to the future. ET, you know Terminator, Titanic and you just are watching them and they literally are beating it out. So they’re like here’s this is when this happens in the movie, this is when his happens in the movie and you just sit there and you use examples. Can you give us a few examples of films that you ‘Save the Cat’ very very well. Hours and hours of them but just a couple of the big one’s.
Jose Silerio: Yes, even that big one they are like you know some of the Oscar winners I think Speech, Argo. Very clear and strong beats. An Oscar nominated one which I really liked from two years ago was Whiplash. Again all the beats were there but the nice thing about you know these movies were you can see is that you know you can go in there and I’m probably biased at this point. And I’m watching there and but still I try to avoid saying oh there’s a catalyst. Oh there’s a midpoint.
Alex: It’s rough. You know it’s look I’ll tell you I’ve been in visual effects and post production for a long time and you know it’s tough for me to go to a movie sometimes. It’s tough for me to kind of just let go. And I just recently let go when I saw Star Wars. So I completely was not looking at anything technical. I was just on the ride and it’s for a film to do that to you know to people like us that are really into it. It’s I mean that’s a really good sign of the filmmaker who’s been able to cut through all of our armor if you will of biases like oh that green screen didn’t really look that great. OK. Oh that’s story point that’s the catalyst. That’s the turning point. And I catch myself doing that all the time now with lesser movies.
Jose Silerio: But like I said though the well made. Once really are those. You know it’s there. But you don’t see it.
Alex: Exactly. Or you look back. You go back to it later and watch a second time and then you’ll analyze it. Maybe in a second or third screening of it but the first time you just enjoy it and you know it’s coming. But you just kind of. You’re in the story as you should be.
Jose Silerio: Exactly and you know those are the. You know they did their job well. You know and like you said when we go back to it then we start realizing oh that’s why you know we like this part and all that.
Alex: Now did you, have you seen its new Star Wars?
Jose Silerio: I have
Alex: And how is it? How’s it hanging the sit in the ‘Save the Cat’
Jose Silerio: Very well in terms of the beachy. It has the beats there. You know the way they introduce the characters, how they set up you know.
Alex: No. No spoilers. No spoilers
Jose Silerio: I will be very careful. You know even you know the big moment, the big always last moment I think you know even if I’m not going to say out loud
Alex: Of course.
Jose Silerio: I am sure you know what I’m talking.
Alex: Of course. Of course.
Jose Silerio: Right. Even though we don’t specifics. We know that beat was there and cleared third act. You know what the third act is. And the beats are still there. So yeah I think I would love to say that you know yeah of course you should read save the cat before.
Alex: Alright. Of course.
Jose Silerio: I think it but you know. I think great filmmakers, great writers they know.
Alex: But the thing is if you look at all the big movies, the most successful movies whether they be blockbusters or Oscar winners. Generally the all follow the beat. They all follow the path, the structure whether. And I think what Blake did so well with ‘Save the Cat’ is that screenwriting is a complex scenerio. It’s not an easy way to write. It’s much easier to write in many ways. I’m on novel because you can render and you can kind of just delve into the deepness of the how the the tree looks today and you can’t do that in the screenplay has to be very condensed, has to be very concise. Every word has to have a meaning and move the story forward. And I think what Blake did so brilliantly is that he brought it down to the masses where a lot of that kind of terminology was more upper tier if you will like at you know at a film school or at the higher end like. You know screenwriting programmer. These kind of really epic big huge institutions that were kind of like guarding the information and Blake kind of took that information and said now you all may have it and now here. Here now go and write be well
Jose Silerio: Yeah. And I completely agree with you. There’s kind of go to the Joseph Campbell route which is very
Alex: Of course.
Jose Silerio: And again there’s nothing wrong but it’s a great system as well but like you said you know when Blake with ‘Save the Cat’ kind of brought it down for the masses those who weren’t kind of mourn to mythological stuff like this one was set up and just go straight into it.
Alex: I mean the right what the writer’s journey was or what the Hero’s Journey is. It works well obviously with ‘Save the Cat’. It’s there but it’s different it’s a little bit not as simple. Like ‘Save the Cat’ is as simple as you can get like if you’re a screenwriter starting out. Read ‘Save the Cat’ then go off and read everything else. But ‘Save the Cat” is a great base to start from because and that’s again one of the reasons I want you guys on the show because the book was so influential and then you can go off and read a million thousand books on screenwriting.
Jose Silerio: There’s a nice thing about it. It’s well the Blake really started wrote ‘Save the Cat’ for writers more than anybody. For writers to help them move forward with their own writing and they feel like they are stuck. They kind of go but it’s also a great movies.
Alex: Oh God. Yes.
Jose Silerio: And figure out you know why they’re working.
Alex: That’s why they wrote that second book on the movies.
Jose Silerio: Exactly.
Alex: Which was great. It was a wonderful example to kind of go and he’s just start breaking down the movies and you just like my God I remember the first time I discovered. The first book I ever read was Sit Fields that was when I was and now I’m going way back. This is like the ninety’s. And when I discovered that there was a structure because he’s the first one I ever heard any kind of structure and I was like wait a minute at fifteen minutes this happens and I can’t stand then I just started going back to all my movies and I am like, oh my God this and I thought I had cracked the code. It’s like it was so revolutionary to me for someone who doesn’t understand it doesn’t know about it. It’s so great but again ‘Save the Cat’ does so well is it simplifies it so beautifully and it’s. I don’t want to say it’s like write by numbers because there’s a lot of creativity involved but it gives you those temples to you can just make it. It’s a lot easier. You have to think about structure. You can you can just decorate the house, you don’t have to worry about the foundation.
Jose Silerio: Exactly. I think that’s the best way to put it. Because I always talk about it with various you know there are always those and I think when people say that they’re not getting old picture because we’re just talking about structure. You know
Alex: It’s a house.
Jose Silerio: Your character, traits.
Jose Silerio: Exactly. It’s on the writer and that’s for you to make your characters unique and once you add that then it becomes a totally different story. But you have the structure made already.
Alex: Yeah, absolutely. Just like I said before is like literally you could have a house with a complete foundation and structure done. Now how that’s decorated. It could be decorated in a million different ways and it’s all depending on how the writer wants to go forward. So a lot of screenwriters to always hear about coverage like oh we’re going to get coverage and I got bad coverage, I got good coverage and you can see a script needs coverage from a studio, a production company. Can you explain a little bit about coverage to those who don’t know the audience.
Jose Silerio: Well I think like you said you know coverage release more of like. You know you have the reader. Obviously you have the higher ups who can’t read all of the scripts that go to their studios. So they need the Cliff Notes version, scripts that come in and I think that’s for me it’s kind of a coverage. You have the readers who read it and they put their notes down on the script that they read. Kind of going through structure, characters, dialogues. You know giving it sort of and you know different studios
have different styles, different methods but it’s kind of they have kind of point system and they point accordingly. And that’s you know I think that’s the simple way of just describing what coverage is. So now that piece of paper and hopefully for most it’s a one pager right. That junior executive.
Alex: If it passes. If it passes because they.
Jose Silerio: It passes. Exactly. Right. It passe and goes to them. They read the script and they do their own version of the next higher up coverage. It goes to the next higher up guy. So that’s you know I think that’s a simple, I guess that’s a simple version of explaining coverage. Yes it’s really is a cover letter you know for a script, going to be telling us what the scripts were telling the executive what the script is all about and how it meet certain criteria for them.
Alex: Now the thing is that as a screenwriter and I’ve gone through the coverage process and the studio system. It’s very frustrating because sometimes you might not get the reader that you. That’s really gets it and a lot of people have passed on Oscar winners. You know in coverage and it happens and that’s very frustrating a lot of times because you’re like oh my God I like. I forgot there are some legendary ones I just don’t remember any of them off the top of my head but that got passes at certain studios. Well Star Wars was passed everywhere.. I mean just the original Star Wars was like, What! you know
Jose Silerio: That’s very true and a lot of bigger producers are kind of like I don’t think. You know they don’t even get it.
Alex: They don’t get it. So in the script was like oh what’s this. What’s this giant monkey, who’s walking around with this guy and he’s his sister. What! Now forget there’s incest involved this is horrible. So you know. SO it happens.
Jose Silerio: There is some sort that their script gets them the right person at the right time.
Jose Silerio: It’s about you know who the reader is that they are reading at the right frame of mind and hopefully be objective enough while when reading it.
Alex: I think also one thing that I’ve learned in my journeys and from talking to so many different screenwriters is and cover and producers and executives is that at a certain point you have to, even if they might pass on it. You have to write something so good that even they go you know I don’t get it but man this is really well written. There’s a lot of that like this is not going to be made into a movie but you’re a good writer and I think that’s what writers should do as best they can to try to make the best thing. As Steve Martin says, “Be so good that they can’t ignore you.’
Jose Silerio: Yeah and I completely agree with that and you know this is what they always tell writers. Is what you go to say OK what’s the secret to sort of breaking in and I think the release isn’t a secret. The secret come up with a really great script. A well written script.
Alex: Oddly enough
Jose Silerio: Yeah. And because and then I throughly believe this because I’ve heard it from a lot of executives from producers themselves and they say you know that in this release they’re one thing for the great, the next great script. Right. So the moment you have a great script that goes out you don’t, it’s going to catch fire. It’s going to spread you know on its own just because of you know what once somebody says there’s a great script out there everybody starts searching for it. And I think that’s really sort of this is the secret to but you have to do again your homework. You have to show them like you’re saying earlier. As a writer you have to show this people the readers or producers that you know how to write a story. You know what it takes to be able to be a good storyteller.
Alex: Yeah I know a lot of writers who put in a script and they said this is not going to work for us but I want to hire you for another job because you can write and that happens all the time and I know a lot of screenwriters who make a living never being produced. They just keep optioning or they’re working or they’re script doctoring and they’ve never had a single credit to their name but they’ve made millions doing this behind the scenes. There are many guys who do this in Hollywood.
Jose Silerio: Many and there are even a lot of those who not just option out you know their scripts but make it hard to rewrite you know other scripts again without being credited for it and you know that’s a great job to have.
Alex: To a certain I guess after you’ve made your first two or three million doing that. At a certain point you just want to go you know I wouldn’t mind getting something made. You know but I wish I had these problems. I don’t know about you. Was it? I wish I had that like you know I’ve already made my three million this year. So I really would you know.
Jose Silerio: We’re just play around.
Alex: Let me just play around you know let’s just.
Jose Silerio: Follow the passion project finally.
Alex: Finally make that passion project I’ve been watching about that one that hooker in New York the Puerto Rican hooker who really wants to dance but she only has one leg. It’s a Sundance winner I can tell you.
Jose Silerio: Just a heart of gold.
Alex: She has a heart of gold and I tell you every time I hear. I always tell people that story. They’re like, OK you want to get into Sundance. Make a movie about a handicapped one legged Puerto Rican hooker with a heart of gold who really wants to dance but is beaten by her drunken father. You know who also happens to be a transgender. I’m just saying that alone would win Sundance every year. Guaranteed. But you have to follow the fifteen beats if not it doesn’t work.
Jose Silerio: Doesn’t work at all.
Alex: So a lot of also with screenwriters a lot of emphasis is put on the logline and I know you guys talk a lot about loglines. Can you give a little bit advice of how to construct a really great logline and explain what a logline is to people who don’t know.
Jose Silerio: Well I think there’s, a logline could be. I will be honest. A logline is always the trickest thing to the right.
Jose Silerio: I, you know and I always tell this to writer so. You know Blake talks about it in the book in ‘Save the Cat’ that his process was you know you write the logline one of the first thing he do write the logline before beating it out. And that’s great because it gives you a good idea of what your story is
but that particular logline that you write, the first logline you write is most probably also not going to be the same logline, the same story. You know but eventually what the script will be.
Jose Silerio: Because as you start writing, things will start changing, start discovering more about you know your characters, your story. It will change. So there is the logline that I think it’s great to have early on to keep sort of on track to what your story, what you think your story is or what you envision it to be but there is also the logline at the very end it really captures the real story and you have to know the difference in writers but for me regardless of which particular logline you’re writing on the early on or the one that you really want to send not ready. The things that they look for are always going to be which you know. This is basic screenwriting one to one but they call them Big Three. Which is you know it has to be able to continually convey whose story belongs to, which is the hero number one. You know what the hero wants, meaning the goal and what’s stopping the hero from getting he want, you know what’s the problem. So the hero, the goal and the problem for me are the big three and I think that has to be very very clear in a logline to make it really compelling and this isn’t you know and this is like a one or two out of three. You have to make sure it’s a three out of three thing. If not you have no story. And if that’s not there in the logline but your logline won’t have a story. So it’s very important to be able to make sure that all the three elements have it in your logline that you have in your logline. Another thing that I like work which break the pointed out in the books, having a sense of irony in the logline and you know and what that really means is that I think what you want to show is that why is this hero, The Person to go on this journey. So you want to be able to build up even in your logline that why this particular hero is going to be the hero. Why is he going, why is this journey going to be the hardest thing that this hero is going to be. So it’s still building that up because what you’re really telling us is that of all the people there this is not the right person to do it.
Jose Silerio: This is not the right person to go on this journey but that’s what makes it compelling
Jose Silerio: Exactly. If you end up always having you know Mr Universe go up against the big evil. You know whoever it is this but you know
Alex: That’s Commando.
Jose Silerio: Love that movie!
Alex: Right. There’s no real, there’s never a chance like you know maybe Stephen might no, no he’s going.
Jose Silerio: You know and that works for who he is right and the character that he plays. But again for the rest of you who are not writing. You know action type movies or commando type movies right. You have to find a way to tell us that to make sure that you know just by reading the logline one sentence. You know line. Let me understand, understand what the story is but more importantly is that it’s a very compelling story. And again by doing that and giving us that sense of irony in the sense that it’s you know you’re introducing us to a character who is not supposed to be going on this journey.
Alex: Right. Go ahead. No no you brought up a really good point I wanted to kind of focus on real quick that the irony of a character that he’s not supposed to or she’s not supposed to be the one on the journey. Ripley from Aliens comes to mind. Leno. Sarah Connor from Terminator. Die Hard, John McClane. The Lethal Weapon boys like there’s no reason for them to you know work and they do
Jose Silerio: Talk about Star Wars
Alex: And Star Wars the young farm boy who’s going to up against the empire.
Alex: Exactly like he has no real. That and something iss simple as that like it’s not a big huge action thing. It’s about a guy who stutters, who cast the knot starter and he has to inspire a nation like that’s a simple concept. It’s not brain surgery but then I started when you brought that up. I start going, I just went back to my mental rolodex of movies. And I’m like you know a lot of those eighty’s action movies like Commando, like every John Claude Van Damme movie, like every Steven Seagal movie and bad action movies. There isn’t that. A bad action movie and I love all those movies because then you know I was young when I saw them I love them and there’s character and charismatic things about Arnold and about you know Sylvester Stallone and all those things and those certain kind of movies but the movies that really stand the test the time like I just watched Die Hard again because my Christmas movie I was watching. Because I don’t care what anyone says it’s the best Christmas movie of all time. I don’t care what anyone says. If you don’t see Hans Gruber falling out of a window at the end of the day it’s not really Christmas for me. So that’s just me. Whoa whoa whoa. But I just literally saw it like a few weeks
ago and I was like I can’t believe how wonderful and how brilliantly it’s done and it literally that movie alone spawned hundreds of rip offs like Die Hard in a boat, Die Hard in a train, Die Hard in a plane that all this kind of stuff. It was such a brilliant and pinnacle movie but it’s that what you were talking about. It’s the ironic. They are irony of that character who has no business doing. Predator is another one like even the Arnold in this entire team are big muscle bound. But they’re up against something that they have no business. They can’t beat and that’s what makes a good really really good compelling story and I think that’s where a lot of writers especially of bad action movies really can learn something from please.
Jose Silerio: I think Die Hard is a great example because you know in the eighty’s we were used to seeing all those. You know the Rambo style on movies. They’re all like this muscle bound you know. And suddenly we introduce John McClane you know it’s not. That tone.
Alex: No. He’s a normal dude
Jose Silerio: He’s about to get a divorce. Right his wife and he can’t stay together.
Alex: He’s in New Yorker in L.A. which trust me I understand.
Jose Silerio: You know. So he is totally different guy who gets thrown into you know a bigger than life scenario.
Alex: Absolutely. And then the brilliance of the you know the bare foot and the bleeding and it’s like it’s just so brilliantly crafted. I don’t know. I forgot the name of the screenwriter of that one. But it’s so brilliantly crafted, so brilliantly directed and it holds. Even though it’s eighty’s and you could you know it’s so fun to watch because of you know all the eighty’s stuff in it but it’s so brilliant. Robocop another one of those, absolutely brilliant like there’s no reason for that hero to be able to do what he does. And go through what he’s going through. So that’s a great I’ve never heard anyone say that but the irony of the character or the hero is something that should be very important in your writing process.
Jose Silerio: I think so because it’s there’s not, you got sense of irony meaning that you’re hearing it’s not the right person or shouldn’t be the person to be going against this problem or having his goal. Alright as a writer you’ll find out easily that your end. You will stop writing the page there. Because you’re not able to generate more conflict for your hero.
Jose Silerio: You will loose writing when sense of tension because your hero. Like the ‘Save the Cat’ you haven’t taken your hero as far back as possible.
Jose Silerio: If there are already a great super heroin the first act. Right. And again whatever you throw at front of them
is something that they can easily overcome and once that happens. You know your story ends at that point.
Alex: And that’s I think one of the main problems with most Superman movies or even telling the Superman story. It’s so difficult to create conflict for a God.
Jose Silerio: Exactly
Alex: And except for the very first one the Richard Donner did and he did it so magically it’s like and we’ve all been, everyone’s been trying to get back to that but it’s tough to create conflict like Batman’s. That’s why Batman works better than Superman because Batman’s a dude who Yeah he’s a billionaire. He has stuff but he can get hurt. He can get you know blood, he can get his back broken, he can do all this stuff.
Jose Silerio: And his backstory is so much complex you know his all families, parents were killed, he saw them get killed.
Alex: It’s so much so much meatier.
Jose Silerio: You know in such a sophistical story but more of emotional story what’s that pull us in.
Alex: So I’m really curious to see how this Batman vs Superman fiasco I think is going to be a fiasco. That’s just me but this is just my personal opinion I looked at the trailer the other day. I’m now we’re going off topic here but I saw the trailer the other day and I was just like wow I don’t know if this is going
to work. I hope it does. I’m a fan but you know but then I saw Captain and I saw the Captain America Civil War. I’m like this is brilliant. You’ve got to like look at the conflict in that it’s like that, it’s the ultimate conflict of friends that we’ve grown up with if people have seen through these movies and now they’re fighting for ideologies is just like brilliant brilliant. I’m sorry if I’ve gone off on a tangent on superhero movies I apologize. So what are some of the biggest mistakes you see with screenwriter screenplays when you read them from like first time readers or just screenplays in general.
Jose Silerio: I think especially for us in ‘Save the Cat’ got to get a lot of for the first time screenwriters. Even though when I say first time you know it’s <………38:03……..> sold anything yet. And one thing I’ve noticed of Blake is that a lot of screenwriter tend to write of write the character that’s based off another character that they saw in a movie.
Alex: Really you see are you still seeing a lot of that.
Jose Silerio: Yeah it is and it’s like you’re talking about Die Hard. Die Hard in a plane, Die Hard in a train.
Alex: Sudden impact Don’t forget that when John Clark in Die Hard in a ice rink.
Jose Silerio: So there’s a lot of build that I think a lot of people kind of do that still you know I want to make the next bacon. I want to make.
Alex: There was a after taking came out there. I must have been a thousand taken scripts made.
Jose Silerio: Yeah right or after Bridesmaids came out I want to make the next Bridesmaids or the Hangover right after Hangover came out I want to make the next Hangover. So they’re writing characters are writing stories based off other characters that we’ve seen already or that they simply know from watching right from the film. It’s not characters that they really know in real life. And I think that that’s one mistake, the one big mistake screenwriters know especially the new ones do now adays is that you know that they start writing off you know characters that oh this is what John McClane would do. You’re not writing John McClane anymore and you have to find you know in your own writing. Can we mention this earlier. Come up with your own voice. What you know what makes you unique as a writer. We have to be able to find you know that what makes your characters unique as well and that’s the reason why you know writing characters based of, people you know realize. You know that’s crazy art you have.
Jose Silerio: Old buddy you had. From high school. There is a really successful but in a bad marriage but there are a lot of things that you can pull out of real people who surround us and I think you know that makes it more interesting because we start seeing people who we know. You know can be a little bit more complex who may not necessarily go left and we think everybody’s going left you know what. What makes them different. And I think that’s something newer writers need to learn more. Help them build better characters.
Alex: I think also what you’re saying is advice for every aspect of filmmaking in the sense of be yourself and stop trying to be someone else whether that be a writer, whether that be a director like I’m going to be the next. No you’re not. You can’t because there’s only one, there’s only one Scorsese, there’s only one Shane Black. You know there’s don’t, I mean how many people try to rip off Shane Black after Lethal Weapon and after everyone tried to write like Shane. When he was making in the olden days when everyone was making two hundred million dollars on a spec script. It oh sales that don’t happen nowadays but if you just true. Be true to have because if you notice all of those guys, all of those guys are original. They’re all being themselves.
Jose Silerio: They were in their original voice came out ten twenty years ago and it worked for them. So now it’s time for the newer writers who want to break into to find what this original voice for today’s time.
Alex: Right because things that were twenty years ago will not work today and that’s a huge and that’s one screenwriting and in filmmaking. There’s a general statement a lot of people keep going at it from that point of view of like I’m going to do what Shane Blake. I am like no. I don’t know. It’s a different place, different world today.
Jose Silerio: So I think that if I may
Jose Silerio: With another I think common mistake. Writers have, newer writers have is simply overwriting especially when it comes to the description into action part of. It may not necessarily be an action movie but you know when they start describing the action of what’s going on. You know they describe it the way you know the most minute.
Alex: They write like a novelist like a novel.
Jose Silerio: Even write that they describe a character. They over describe it and I think what When I’m reading it. It takes away a sense of creativity on my end. Because now you’re making me think very specifically of an action, of a person and that in a way kind of takes away from the read because now my mind is again and this is something that readers I mean writers have to realize is that your first audience is not the person who buys the movie. Your first audience is the reader, right. And you have to know that you know they don’t have the benefit of music. They don’t have the benefit of actual faces of actors that they can follow. So reading a page is a little bit harder. They have to work a little bit harder in order to follow the story. So don’t overdo it by putting in too much. Detail by making into you know specific not you know that your own that the reader themselves that are conducing by but the ability to build the world on their own and get more into it. I think if us readers if we’re given that opportunity to build the world a little bit on our own, a small following reading the story then it becomes more interesting. It becomes more exciting.
Alex: You know the other day I was reading a script that was sent to me by a professional writer like a real you know with credits with everything for a project. And when I read it. I had been reading so many bad scripts that when I read this one I was like oh this is what a writer’s like. It was so brilliant. The structure was spot on, every word was. And I was analyzing it as I was reading it because I was just so taken by like oh OK so he condensed everything right. He didn’t overwrite everything. He left it open for interpretation but yeah I gave you just enough. If there’s a fine balance when you’re writing like that and it was just so wonderful to watch, to read. It was a joy to read as opposed to reading you know ninety eight percent of scripts.
Jose Silerio: Yeah.
Alex: Which is rough.
Jose Silerio: Yeah and I had those moments. From a professional writer and it’s like before you know if you’re in page ninety.
Alex: Right exactly. And you’re slow reader.
Jose Silerio: I got you. So I know this is a good one.
Alex: And I think that’s also advice for readers like people who are trying to get readers to get coverage and stuff like that they will notice. Because they read so much crap all the time that when something of quality walks through the door. Whether they like the matter, the subject matter or not they’ll recognize talent in the writing and it’s come in a players out it like that just screams at you because you know it’s not like you’re in a bunch of William Goldman scripts. And Shane Black scripts and scripts are all tossed and you’re like oh who’s really good. No it’s like a bunch of crap and then you get that one piece of gold that comes in every once in a while. So I was fascinated when I was suitable research for this interview I found out that ‘Save the Cat’ has some software. Yes Can you talk a little bit about that because I was kind of exciting.
Jose Silerio: Yeah actually do have a software and nice thing about the software is, it really follows the ‘Save the Cat’ method.
Alex: Oddly enough
Jose Silerio: I guess what I should have said. Its laid up in the book, in the first book the way kind of Blake goes through it step by step. So even in the software it kind of forces you, if I may use that word. It kind of forces you first to come up with you know what’s the genre that you want for the story. You know then it tells you the logline and then. But if you’re not able to jump right the way into the beachy or the board. Unless you go through it step by step first and but the nice thing about it is that if you do follow the steps coming up with the logline then only with the logline you’ll be able to go into the beachy. Once you have your beachy and that’s only when you’re able to go into the board. You know. So it but it has all the elements of what makes the ‘Save the Cat’ method and what they kicks at, it kind of forces you to go through it step by step and I think that’s a nice thing about it because it really helps you think, it just. I know writers will always eager to jump to page one and fade in right right. But that can also always get us in trouble right the way. There is you know, take the time the first thing I’d do is building that outline, building structure before you have to go to page one and that’s what I think the software is good at. It helps you sort of focus a little by little step by step. The wind by the time you do get to page one fade in. You know you’ve done the hard work already. But like I said it follows all the rules of ‘Save the Cat’ and it takes you to the beachy. It takes it to the board. Before the cardboard and you can see it all laid out in front of you and your screen.
Alex: Can you can you explain? I was going to ask you Can you explain what the board is because a lot of people might not know what the board is. I love using the board when I write. It’s so helpful so can you explain it because there’s a software version then you’re obviously taking it from a real life version like actual board and stuff so can you explain what that is.
Jose Silerio: Yeah. And it’s same thing you know when first my introduction to the board also came from Blake and how he explained it is that you know if you walk into a producer room hardly enough,
same thing happened to me a few years after it told me about it was that Index cards laid out and what the best is in ‘Save the Cat’ how we have it is that you have a big whether cork board or white board or whatever to you are writing you break the board into four rows each row representing an act. Well but you can say OK but this four row so why four act. Well it’s act one act two A, act two B and act three and in each row. You have, we have ten cards and each card really is a scene or a sequence.
Meaning that again it’s always you can start what you’re doing really here now with the body. You are writing and you’re working on scenes already you’re doing structure work already here and at the last of the sort of the follow your hero in terms of its plot, in terms of its emotional story throughout you know you are able to layout scenes and see if it’s working in act one or in act two. You know if it’s not you can move them around but in a nice thing about is it again you’re able just in a very visual imagic sense just by looking at the bord, you are able to look at right the way and see how the story is playing out. You can see where the characters are moving forward and you can even I think one thing I always emphasize with the writer so when they do the boards and make sure you’re also able to follow the emotional story in the board. You know one thing we like talking about in ‘Save the Cat’ is having the B story. You know what the B story is this for those who are familiar with it. What it represented to me just the theme of the story. Right. So what. But I told you.
Alex: Is that subplot or is that the B. is that a subplot.
Jose Silerio: It’s not the subplot, it’s an emotional story
Alex: Got it
Jose Silerio: That hero must go.
Alex: So then Titanic. So what’s the emotional story of Titanic just to have people have a reference.
Jose Silerio: Lets say for Rose the physical story is I’m going to get married to what’s its name Billy Zane. The emotional story for her is that she has to be able to tell her mom I’m not going to do what you’re telling me anymore. Ihave to be my own personal and that’s what Jack whats his name Leonarodo Dicaprio teaches her
Alex: Because she’s is the character. She is the main character.
Jose Silerio: Yes I agree with you. She is the main character and that’s what Leo does for. He want to force her to learn a lesson, learned the theme of the story in order to be her own person.
Alex: So in other words it’s not a subplot but like exactly like the outside, the obvious thing is like I’m going to marry this guy and I’m going on this boat. But the emotion about it. Of what the intention of her character is this. Well she’s going after, this is the the inner struggle or the inner journey.
Jose Silerio: It’s the inner journey, it’s internal story.
Alex: Got it.
Jose Silerio: Look Skywalker external of us star and have internal, needs to learn to be a writer to believe in.
Alex: To trust.
Jose Silerio: So that’s what you know it’s going back to the board and the writer so you can mark this cards. You know whether you use color or whatever you use to mark them. You know they say Blue is going to be external story, red is going to be internal story. It’s a simple got that you can put them to card and then you can see where you’re playing out the emotional story as well. So I think the board like I said you know hopefully explaining it well enough.
Alex: Oh yeah
Jose Silerio: You’re able to see, write the ways just by standing in front of it. You know what you have where the story’s going, where your hero is going. You know how you’re playing out the physical and emotional story of the ark. But it’s also you know it saves you if you do it now. You know if you do with the board right the way before you start writing pages. If you see like a certain sequence. It’s not working. Like in the middle of second act then you can either take it out, took it away for another day or maybe you say you know this sequence might work better in act one. But you can do it right the way, you’re supposed to doing it later after six months or nine months I mean written a first draft. Inside it saying wait a minute page fifty to fifty five if I wasn’t working. But you know I should have known that nine months ago. I had read and save myself the time right. So that’s the beauty of what the board is.
Alex: Now this in the software do you have that option for the boards.
Jose Silerio: Yes you do but there are little places where you can assign color to it.
Jose Silerio: And it’s a simple thing but even assigning color to characters. I think it’s a wonderful little trick. You know if it’s a green it’s going to be my villain but if you look at your board and your entire second row has no green in it. Then you know you’re in trouble because you don’t have a villain in it. The villain is the source of conflict.
Alex: That would be the first Twilight movie. One of the worst films I’ve ever seen. I don’t care what anyone says who’s horrendous. The villain shows up twenty minutes. I don’t care spoiling it. Twenty minutes at the end I’m like Are you kidding me. Are you kidding. The first hour and twenty minutes is just of them pining for each other. It was horrendous.
Jose Silerio: And there you go see if they had the board.
Alex: They had a board, look they made a couple bucks on that. So what do we know but it’s not definitely not being studied by screenwriters for their structure or story narrative character or directing but I’m sorry I get I apologize I just couldn’t when you said that I’m like yes no villain. First movie came to my mind because look in Star Wars first like three four minutes of the movie the best opening of a villain arguably ever. And everybody and that was a wonderful thing about that film is that I’ve listened to a probably seen every interview with George Lucas ever about that movie about Star Wars and he said that no matter where you were in the world even if you had no idea who Darth Vader was you didn’t speak English. You knew that was a bad guy. That was stressed the brilliance and the universal appeal of those movies is like you knew and they did that thing with Kyle as well. The way they designed his mask and it was all very strategic to betray a villain instantly.
Jose Silerio: Another great example if I may use you know which one of my favorites was they mentioned
Alex: So brilliant.
Jose Silerio: The way they introduced in first two minutes. For me it was just as good as introducing Darth Vader.
Alex: I mean I’ll tell you what when I watched that movie it was hard to watch. That’s a movie that’s hard to watch a little bit because he is so brilliant at being.
Just it’s a horrible human being. He’s so brilliant at it that it just. I felt like I’m like just leave man this play it’s not worth it man. Just go. Don’t play the damn drums anymore and just go through
Jose Silerio: We want to walk away
Alex: but you know what’s brilliant is and he deserved the Oscar without question because he carries that movie. The whole movie is him as I may know he’s not the main character but he is so overpowering as the actor and the characters so overpowering that without him there’s so much. He’s the Empire. And this poor kid is Luke and it’s like but that’s if Darth Vader was yelling at Luke in entire movie and throwing symbols at it.
Jose Silerio: Throwing a chair with the force.
Alex: Just thrown in the force like come on Luke you know three beats. Three beats with a lightsaber. Come on. Now and you also have an app right. ‘Save the Cat’ app. Is that different than the software?
Jose Silerio: No it’s the same but like you said it’s an app it’s for your
Jose Silerio: It’s for your iPhone or your android. I’m not sure about that but I know it can work on your iPhone but it got to go through the same thing. It’s sort of like a miniature version of what you can get in your laptop or your computer.
Alex: Got it
Jose Silerio: But it’s the same thing that helps you go through again your logline and then the beats and then you can even do the cards there but each card will be like one because this is an iPhone.
Alex: Right exactly. It’s like what card. It doesn’t give you the slot.
Jose Silerio: You can play around it, you can what’s the word. Play between the app and the software. I think you can link it if I have that right.
Jose Silerio: So whatyou have in their in your app, it goes on a cloud. You can put it out in your computer.
Alex: And if you’re at Starbucks writing your script and you have an idea real quick and you don’t have your laptop. Pop it into your iPad or iPhone. Because I was talking to another screenwriter the other day is like people here in LA, people outside of LA don’t understand that if you walk into a Starbucks. There’s at least two people writing a screenplay any Starbucks in Los Angeles at any time of the day or night.
Jose Silerio: Exactly exactly.
Alex: Never fails. Never never fails. So I’m now comes to the part of the show that is the toughest questions I ask all my guests. So are you ready Sir?
Jose Silerio: Alright. I hope so.
Alex: What is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether that be in the film business or in life in general.
Jose Silerio: You know what. This is for me it’s the discipline of writing but this for me personally I think it’s something most of you know a lot writers struggle with. Especially those who want to make writing their career. You know job.
Alex: It’s tough. That white page is a mountain.
Jose Silerio: Yeah and this really is simplifying the time. Day in and day out. To say I’m going to write whether just for ten minutes, thirty minutes, one hour or a page a day because it’s so easy to get caught up with especially for those the newer ones especially those who have day jobs.
It’s you can easily get caught up with other things and before you know it’s a week especially haven’t written a single page before you know it’s two months already. I have never written ten pages. So if this. It’s not necessarily a lesson. Right. But at this being able, just being true to discipline yourself and say that I will be writing today and again for me it’s you have to put a goal a daily goal that is attainable for you. So you know, I know other writers who write a page a day. I know who someone who do six pages a day which is tough. I tried doing six pages a day.
Alex: It’s tough.
Jose Silerio: It’s easier to say. But once you do it it’s tough. You have to find a system that works with you that makes it like I said attainable each and every day. So whether you go by page count or by minute count. You know you have to do it and if it means having to wake up a little earlier or tell your kids at the end of the day you know a story dady is playing right now on its own.
Jose Silerio: You have to do it and I think if anything it’s just that you have to keep writing if you want really be a good writer. And I tell this to all writers I mean you just have to write it. It’s not just writing but also reading scripts not necessarily just watching movies just watching movies is nice but read scripts aswell you know and you have to find a way to put that into your schedule as well. Yeah I think that’s one of the best lesson for one becoming not just good writer but to be a really working writer.
Alex: You know if I may quote Woody Allen “Ninety percent of success is just showing up.”
Jose Silerio: Very true.
Alex: And it’s true that consistency of showing up every day and doing the work even if it’s five minutes. Even if it’s ten minutes but it’s that everyday thing and that’s what people get hard like if you can get into that routine of just doing it every day. Little by little and trust me I know even Academy Award winning writers have problems writing it like they’re just like God I got to go on write. It’s like it’s writing is one of the most laborious processes on the planet and it’s one of the most underappreciated parts of the industry without question because without a great script there is no movies. And it is rough. So that’s a great piece of advice. Now what are your top three favorite films of all time.
Jose Silerio: And I think this is even tougher question just pick three. One would be the I think a safe answer but I really loved it and its one of those movies that I keep watching over and over again Shawshank Redemption.
Alex: Of course. Its one of my top three as well. Twilight obviously two but no.
Jose Silerio: A close second.
Alex: A close second was twilight no. No Shawshank is. It’s honestly to me as perfect of a movie as you can get it for me because it’s my generation’s Godfather.
Jose Silerio: True. Very very true. Same with me. You know it’s one of the reason why I love it so much is it because really it kind of break so many rules but it all works. It’s all the cool story and these, what you’re going to go there at the end of the movie like who cares.
Alex: So I was going to like whose story I like now you did when you asked me that whose story is it Andy’s, is it Red’s. I think it’s, I think it’s Red’s. Maybe because he’s the narrator. Because he’s the narrator.
Jose Silerio: Look at in terms of, for me it’s always like who had the biggest change right then it’s and it’s red.
Jose Silerio: Although you would think a lot of the action or out of the action being instigated was being instigated by Andy.
Alex: But Andy didn’t make that large of a change. Not as big as, he was just doing what he does.
Jose Silerio: Yeah exactly.
Alex: But Red from the moment you see and you actually see them in different temples of the movie when the whole interview with the<……….01:02:30…..> how he changes and you can literally I mean he really lays it out for you. Frank there about that and it’s absolutely brilliant. And another one of his movies Green Mile. I love love love the Green Mile. So go ahead sorry.
Jose Silerio: About Shawshank again I think that’s number one for me.
Jose Silerio: Another one I guess again there’s no really order.
Alex: Of course
Jose Silerio: One of the most perfect scripts I’ve read and the movie as well nicely. Was Little Miss Sunshine
Alex: Such a fairly movie. Such a fairly movie.
Jose Silerio: I tell you when I read the script I thought it was perfect get reading that script.
Alex: Yeah it’s tight. It’s a tight script.
Jose Silerio: You’re following all the sky. Again one of those that you know Michael Arndt did great job. Just building all these characters we get to know all the characters right there in the first ten minutes. We’re following all their stories and you know it’s great and it’s one of those again it’s my way of gaging make it’s a favorite of mine if you know when you’re surfing the TV. You happen to see it but you stop.
Jose Silerio: Little Miss Sunshine and then the other one and a smaller movie that I really really really love was Billy Elliot.
Alex: Oh yeah I love Billy Elliot. I remember Billy Elliot. That was really sweet film.
Jose Silerio: Yeah I think that this I think maybe just happened to be time with me when when my first child first came out so the whole father son thing was.
Alex: You secretly want to dance. I understand. You want to.
Jose Silerio: I love you know how they played you know how a kids journey of him simply wanting to dance. Played against the backdrop of what’s happening in dads world. You know with the coal miners striking and having a bigger theme out there but kept their thing really was just the same. I think if you just makes you laugh it makes you cry. It’s what the movie should be.
Alex: That’s great that’s a great list.
Jose Silerio: Yes that’s one of my top three. I think for now.
Alex: For now. Yeah that’s a two thousand sixteen.
Jose Silerio: If you ask me tomorrow it may change.
Alex: Of course. Of course. Now what’s the most underrated film you’ve ever seen.
Jose Silerio: This is a tough part. I think a lot of I always look for you know kind of movies year, every year just like one small movie that comes out but for me to say how come I didn’t even know that came out in the movie hours. I watched it in DVD but I love that completely. I think they’re sort of like they have in the field but although they’re recognizable actors.
Alex: Sure sure.
Jose Silerio: I think. In two thousand and thirteen. Just like The Way Way Back.
Alex: Oh yeah. I like the way way back.
Jose Silerio: Which is a great movie that Steve Carrell, Toni Collette you know great cast. There just in two thousand and fourteen smaller one with the skeleton, the Skeleton Twins. The suit Bill Hader .
Alex: I haven’t seen that one.
Jose Silerio: It’s a small movie right. It’s a very. I just love how they built the characters and the relationship that they have. So you know. So it goes for me every year I have kind of the one that they love that they felt.
Alex: So two thousand and fifteen was two thousand and fifteen
Jose Silerio: Two thousand and fifteen for me. I leave you.
Jose Silerio: But you know I think one big one that this was under-rated. I didn’t even hear about it until somebody told me was Moon. Have you seen Moon.
Alex: Oh yeah yeah yeah
Jose Silerio: I think in terms of thriller movies. It’s one of those suspects. Wow this really grabs me. It was like what the hell is going on here. Really. Just a nice thing about you. He just really following one character. Rockwell character. But it’s like you’re caught in it.
Alex: You’re in you’re in the web you can’t get up.
Jose Silerio: You know like I found out about it simply because somebody told me about it and I said OK I have to watch it, then tell everybody have you seen Moon. It’s like.
Alex: That’s the brilliant thing about when you find a little gem like that you like. Why hasn’t someone else in this what’s going on.
Jose Silerio: Yeah
Alex: So working people find more about you and more about ‘Save the Cat’.
Jose Silerio: ‘Save the Cat’ is a website savethecat.com or blakesnyder.com But it’s the same and in their the website talks about you know things that we do, workshops that we have, consultations we do. But it also. We also bring out the cheats of movies that have come out which is always a great resource for writers.
Alex: You have some new ones now some of the most recent movies.
Jose Silerio: Yeah. And we have people who want to be into it so it’s so that’s kind of the best way to keep up with ‘Save the Cat’ and again like I said it’s an ongoing thing. So we’re keeping Blake’s method alive what they did all the time.
Alex: Fantastic. Well Jose thank you so much. It’s been a pleasure talking to you today. I hope you had fun.
Jose Silerio: Thank you very much for having us. Alex.
Alex: Appreciate it. Seriously guys if you’ve not read this book you’ve got to go and get it ‘Save the Cat’ and it is an awesome awesome book. It’s just Blake wrote it so wonderfully and it really opens up your eyes to a lot of different avenues of what it takes to be a screenwriter and how to tell a story and his method is pretty amazing. How it matches up in the world of movies today and in the actual blog
post or the show notes at indiefilmhustle.com/071 I put a couple of videos of how Blake’s method master measures up to certain movies and they actually go through scene by scene of these very famous Hollywood movies and you can see where all of his points line up perfectly. It’s quite remarkable to watch. So definitely check that out. Now guys again if you want to be part of the Indie Film Hustle tribe and community that’s what we’re really about we’re trying to connect not only you guys to me but you guys to each other and create a community where we can share knowledge share information and share resources to get our movies made and I’ve kind of put together a hub for everybody to go to and talk and communicate and exchange information and so on.
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