In this post I share with you three other elements that are included in the proposal of a screenplay.
In Save The Cat (see my previous post) Blake Snyder mentions ten types of genres. He cautions about staying away from “standard genre types such as Romantic Comedy, Epic or Biography- because those names don’t really tell me anything about what the story is.”
As a standard genre my story is romantic drama, but in following Snyder’s advice my genre falls under the Rites of Passage type. “These are tales of pain and torment , but usually from an outside force; Life.” Movies that Snyder classifies under this type include stories about puberty, mid-life crisis, old age, romantic break-up, and grieving stories.
Although my series takes place in part in India, Italy and Boston I have omitted these scenes from the screenplay. I do mention the character going to India but I only speak of her impressions upon her return. Similarly, I do not have the character go to Boston or Italy. The reason for doing this is that film producers are money minded. Having the crew travel to film a scene ups the costs which might make a producer reject the screenplay.
So my settings are: A women’s center in a middle-class area of a city. Bars and pubs, restaurants. The characters’ apartments. Conference hall. Art Gallery. Inside taxi cab. Backyard garden. Museum. Gym. Office. Golf Course. Library. Construction site of a donut shop. Inside a car.
These are easily filmed on set or at least in the city where the film is being made.
This is the synopsis of the story. One thing I was told to keep in mind, is that the agents/producers/directors are busy people and don’t have time to read through pages of what your film or series is about. What they will be more interested in is the script itself which I will talk about in another post.
The concept is the heart of the proposal and includes:
An introduction to the idea of your story along with main emotions and theme. Here you can include one sentence story examples.
A paragraph which outlines the story in each episode – its beginning and ending.
Visual Elements that are in the story. Is it entertainment, an interview, narration, animation. Is there a host?
Finally, clarity and brevity is key.
Please note that I will not be as active on Social Media for the next while as my family is preparing a funeral for my brother-in-law and in the weeks that follow I will be involved in helping care of my sister, who is eighty, and will need support as she begins her grieving process.
My intention here is certainly not to write a review of the book. The guy’s got almost 5,000 ratings, 80% of them 5 stars.
But before I tell you why I am writing about Save the Cat, let me let the cat out of the bag, so to speak, and explain the title in Blake’s words:
Save the Cat is the screenwriting rule that says… it’s the scene where we meet the hero and the hero does something -like saving a cat – that defines who he is and make us, the audience, like him.
Further in the book, Blake explains his test marketing method:
I pitch to anyone who will stand still. I do it in line at Starbucks. I do it with friends and strangers. I always spill my guts when it comes to discussing what I’m working on, because:
I have no fear that anyone will steal my idea (and anyone who has that fear is an amateur and…
You find out more about your script by talking to people.
I talk to “civilians’”
Which brings me to THANK ALL OF YOU who provided me with comments, suggestions and encouragements regarding my logline (see previous post).
One comment was that the absent father may not be the best term to use. For an indebt comment on my logline you may want to read the comments posted by PRIOR.
Perhaps abandoned fathers might be a better term.
If you’re interested in writing a screenplay you might consider having a look at this book.
One last word. I am aware that taking on this project and especially talking about it places me in a vulnerable position. What if I fail (and the chances, considering my zero contacts with the business) are quite high.
I will continue to work on my logline and will also write about the other aspects of screenwriting which are the concept, the characters, genre, the setting, and the all intimidating screenwriting software which I am in the process of learning.
If anything, all this gives me material to post on my blog. 😉
A few weeks ago I completed a twelve hour course on Creating A TV Series Proposal given by Jennifer McAuley sponsored by The Quebec Writers’ Federation.
One of the features of writing a proposal for TV is to have a GREAT logline. It’s one to three sentences that grabs the agent, producer, director, audience attention to your story. It is precise and gets to the point of your story.
Here’s my logline for my TV script (which might change as I go along writing the script) but for now here it is:
According to Keri Novak’s PhD study group, women who have had absent fathers grow up assuming that they are doomed to unsuccessful relationships with men. That is, until Keri meets her own Prince Charming putting her research and the award she is about to receive in jeopardy.
Finally, I have my e-books into paperback and it was a frustrating journey. First, the technical designer I hired didn’t work out after three months of back and forth with her. Then, the second technical consultant wasn’t able to put two of my e-books into paperback either because the one of the original e-book cover no longer existed or the owner of the other e-book was asking an exorbitant amount of money to use it. Then, there was the problem of Kindle’s size requirements, which luckily my technical consultant was able to deal with.
In the end, I ended up having to choose different covers for two of my paperbacks. So, three months later, here are my paperback novels.
About the Getting to Mr. Right Series
The series starts off by focusing on Campbell Jones –an award-winning relationship-therapist at the peak of her career. Friendship and support shared between the characters of Campbell’s focus group evolves as the novel progresses.
The underlying theme throughout the original Getting to Mr. Right and the four novellas which follow is “being true to oneself.” The novellas are all expansions of the main story – dating adventures for Missi, a café for Suzy, dealing with an uprooted life for Felicity and an unexpected pregnancy on the edge of mid-life for Campbell. The series has gone beyond the original premise of “Getting a man” and in true women’s fiction style, deals with the issues that come after “happily ever after.” Although all these women are now in romantic relationships, it’s more the by-product of living their lives fully than a pursuit for finding a partner.
Campbell’s research into the father/daughter dynamic and how it affects a woman’s personal choices proves that Prince Charming is nothing but a myth. In a few months, she will receive international recognition for her work.As part of her study, Campbell gives workshops to help women still seeking Mr. Right. Her latest group is made up of three women: Missi Morgan, who can’t seem to let go of a philandering spouse; Suzy Paradise, a self-proclaimed queen of online dating; and Felicity Starr, whose life and career are dictated by a controlling father.In the midst of her study, a charming and personable man enters Campbell’s life, putting her theories in shambles. Not only does she now question the validity of her research, but she must choose between her career and having her own Prince Charming. This personal dilemma makes it difficult for Campbell to give these women advice, as she encourages them to find their own paths to happiness and helps them set themselves free.
Missi Morgan is your everyday middle-aged woman who is suddenly thrust into an online dating world after years of married bliss. After learning to let go of Max, her husband who dumped her, Missi explores the world of online dating. Through one disastrous date after another, Missi learns lessons that help her discover what she truly wants. She may not find the perfect match but she finds the perfect self.
A romantic comedy for anybody having to tackle online dating and letting go.
Ever since she first appeared in Getting To Mr. Right, Felicity Starr has been struggling to find her own kind of contentment. Now, at thirty-five and living in Rome, Felicity is about to break into the world of fashion design, and caught in a flurry of plans for her wedding when calamity strikes. Her father’s sudden death brings into question the whole meaning of success. Then Marco, the man she’s about to marry, leaves her when he learns of her Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis. Forced to return to Montreal, Felicity finds her life thrust into unexpected turns. As she confronts the on-going challenges presented by her disease, she gains the strength to let go of old beliefs and face her inner truths. Love, friendship and rewarding work come in different forms and Felicity finds it all in ways she never imagined – in a life that’s not by design.
Most of Suzy Paradise’s dreams died along with her son over twenty years ago. One thing has re-ignited her passion for living – running her own café, which specializes in home-baked donuts. For Suzy, this is a long-cherished dream come true. Her business is starting to flounder when Donuts-A-Million, a giant chain, opens across the street from her. Her unexpected attraction to Coen Walsh, a regular customer at her café, creates more tension when she learns of his affiliation with her competitor. Café Paradise is about Suzy’s fight to save her business in spite of the odds. Sometimes, she realizes, dreams have an expiration date and it takes just as much courage to let them go. Along the way, she must re-define the meaning of work, family and romance so she can find her own formula for happiness.
In Getting to Mr. Right, Campbell debunked the Prince Charming myth, only to meet a special man who turned all her assumptions upside down. Now she’s married to Chand. But Happily-Ever-After turns out to be another illusion. Campbell deals with job burnout and struggles to find her place in the world. An unexpected pregnancy and its complications undermine her relationship with Chand and take her to a difficult crossroad. No matter which way she decides to go, nothing will ever be the same!
A psychological crime novel about obsession. Eugene’s research into his criminal mind is not about the why, but how to prevent his horrific crimes. Angie, a young woman starving for passion sees Eugene as her savior from a lonely life of caring for her heroin addicted mother. How far is she willing to go in order to save her relationship with Eugene and his promise for a future together? Detective Van Ray is on a vindictive mission as he attempts to solve the murders of young girls in Youth Protection. Their lives collide in a mixture of mistrust, obsession and ignoring the warning signs. A psychological crime novel about human frailty and loneliness.
Mourning Has Broken offers a moving and poignant look at grief and loss. In this collection of narrative non-fiction essays, the author speaks from the heart not only about the death of a dear sister but also about the mourning of a mother, a father, a dear friend, a career and a religion. Readers who have known loss will find much to relate to in this book, and will particularly appreciate the author’s ability to be frank and open and at times humorous about feelings that might be difficult to acknowledge.
I recently returned from a trip to Italy where I spent time in Rome. One of the areas I visited while there was Trastevere where part of my novel, Not By Design, was set.
We cross the River Tiber and approach the archeological remains of rooms that were once baths made of black and white mosaics. My guidebook tells me that these were made in the first century AD. It’s hard for me to grasp that over two thousand years ago there was an entire civilization living on the ground I am standing on.
We are walking along the delightful district of Trastevere. In Trastevere one will get glimpses of the “real” Rome. Marco and I have been here many times. To eat in their famous restaurant area, go to the theatre, the cinema or just mingle with the Romans in clubs and bars. Today our mission is different. We are visiting the church Bridget reserved for our wedding. Marco and I are holding hands as we pass by boutiques offering handcrafted wares and clothing stores with magnificent styles.
As we approach Piazza Santa Maria with its spectacular fountain I stop to take in the church in front of us. It is a stunning Medieval church. Its façade glows with its series of faded mosaics honoring the Virgin Mary. I can’t think of a more romantic setting for our wedding. Even before entering the church I know that it is perfect. Except for one thing. “I can’t believe that my father won’t be here to walk me down the aisle,” I say.
Two things have been happening since my last blog post eons ago.
Moving is much like doing a major spring cleaning of every room in your house. Every nook and cranny and every spec of dust. In a way, it was very liberating and made me practice minimalism. It struck me as incredible and depressing to see how much stuff I’d accumulated throughout the years.
I moved into a smaller apartment and so I needed to downsize and trim my possessions. I still haven’t been able to let go of a small beige colored handbag which I haven’t used in years but it used to belong to my mother. What am I holding unto?
And then there was the move itself during Montreal’s heaviest snowstorm of the season!
The second reason why I haven’t been posting on my blog is that I had nothing to say.
Then, I received an e-mail from Thelma Mariano, the editor of my women’s fiction novels:
Thelma was recently interviewed by Duke Diercks where, along with 12 other editors, was asked this question:
What is the #1 mistake that you see first-time authors make?
Here’s part of her answer:
Most first-time novelists underestimate the amount of work required to bring their completed draft to a publishable level. This leads to what I believe is the #1 problem with early manuscripts: a lack of story tension.
If we lack a “story-worthy” problem, something strong enough to pull a reader through hundreds of pages, needing to know what happens next, no amount of editing will make it better.
Author of the Week – An Interview with Carol Balawyder
June 16, 2016
What was your inspiration to start (and keep) writing?
I really can’t remember when I started to write. Maybe I was ten. Maybe twelve. I just had a desire to write. There was no horrific incident happening in my life and no urgent message that I wanted to share with the world. What has kept me writing is more complex. I am basically an introvert and in a group I tend to listen more than talk. Writing is my preferred way of expressing myself. I draw a lot of my inspiration to write from books and blogs I read. Sometimes I draw inspiration from my past life experiences that I transfer to my characters. The creative process of writing fascinates me and I find the challenge which writing presents inspiring. Of course, there are times when I don’t feel inspired at all. These are the times that I have to accept this flat period and trust that inspiration will come. It usually does by my pulling away from my desk and engaging in something different – listening to music, going to an art gallery or taking my dog for a walk on the mountain.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write in and how it found you?
I write chick lit with my protagonists being older than most chick lit novels. How did it find me? I’ve always loved reading good chick lit. I find it entertaining and relaxing. I like the lighthearted style of chick lit. The way the protagonists are able to self deprecate and the humor of chick lit. I guess I just feel comfortable in this way of writing..
Is there any author whom you’d admire and read every book they publish? Who and why?
I admire tons of writers of different genres: crime fiction, literary fiction and biographies. Since we’re talking about chick-lit I’ll read anything that Helen Fielding writes. She’s clever, funny and heartwarming.
Aimee has worked in Publishing for almost a year as a Book Marketing Manager, & Author Assistant. She has years of experience in Customer Service ranging from Call Centers (Netflix) – to Hospital ER’s. She owns her own freelance Virtual Assisting Service/Blog Tour Company and is available for hire as an Authors Assistant/Personal Assistant. She also runs a Book Tour Company and is an aspiring author and freelance writer.
This week I have the honor of being author of the week on Aimee’s blog
In 2016, the theme for World MS Day is ‘Independence’. It will explore how people with MS can be independent, acknowledging that independence can mean different things to different people.
MSIF provides a toolkit of free resources to help everyone to take part in World MS Day. Anyone can use these tools, or make their own, to create positive change in the lives of more than 2.3 million people around the world.
What is MS?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is one of the most common neurological disorders and causes of disability in young adults.
There are 2.3 million people with MS worldwide. It is likely that hundreds of thousands more remain undiagnosed and many lives are affected indirectly, through caring for someone with MS.
Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 25 and 31, with around twice as many women diagnosed than men.
The cause of MS is not yet known and as yet there is no cure, though there are treatments available that can help some forms of MS and many things you can do to improve the symptoms.
The severity of the course of MS as well as the symptoms can vary widely among individuals.
The severity of the course of MS as well as the symptoms can vary widely among individuals. These can include blurred vision, weak limbs, tingling sensations, unsteadiness and fatigue.
For some people, MS is characterised by periods of relapse and remission (meaning it gets better for a while but then can attack from time to time), while for others it has a progressive pattern (meaning that it gets steadily worse with time). Some people may feel and seem healthy for many years following diagnosis, while others may be severely debilitated very quickly.
MS makes life unpredictable for everyone.
To find out more about MS, get in touch with an MS organisation near you or visit the MS International Federation website.
“Sometimes we have control over our destiny… and other times life simply happens, and not by design. That’s what Felicity Starr, the protagonist of Carol Balawyder’s fourth book in the Getting to Mr Right series, finds out when diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Not By Designis not your typical “boy meets girl, they overcome various obstacles and live happily ever after” romance.”Ana Linden.
“The book was well researched, and the story took us through Felicity’s depression and hopelessness for future happiness to learning to lean on friends for the love and support they so willingly gave, and finally to acceptance of what her life with MS would be, and making the best of it.”Michelle James.
Today I’m at Don Massenzio’s blog. Don is not only one of the most prolific bloggers I know but he posts about a variety of interesting subjects. One of his series is helping authors gain exposure and strengthen the blogging community. Don is always looking for authors to feature on his blog so if you’re interested just click here.