Save the Cat!

“I think we can learn so much from other disciplines…”

Save the Cat by Blake Snyder is a book about screenwriting


And what does screenwriting have to do with business and life? I’d like to submit that there’s a huge parallel between our businesses, our lives and screenwriting based on this “Bible” of screenwriting that I learned about in a… wait for it… novel-writing workshop a few years ago.

Why the parallel?
Let’s just start with the first three chapter titles.

  1. What is it?
  2. Give me the same thing… only different.
  3. It’s about a guy who …

The chapters build on the idea of having a successful formula for creating the screenplay including the characters, the storyline, the pitch, the marketing, the writing, testing, etc. that are rules that cannot be broken. Our businesses have (need) some unbroken tenets.

Three-act plays are important only because the rule of three is dang strong. Example: Youth. Middle Age. Old Age. Another: Product life cycles: New, rising to a peak, and fading.

Character arcs: What does your company start as? How does it grow and then change? What are the “bookends” the opening and closing images that we can see about your company? What do YOU see? Can you apply that idea to your life?

Beats. What is the heartbeat of your company? What happens when? Is it on schedule and according to plan? Snyder lays out fifteen beats that define the screenplay. What are those for a company? A life?

The promise of the premise (a.k.a “What is it?”) has to appear on every page, in every scene, in all parts of your company, in all the stages of your life. You’re delivering what your website says, what your promotions promise, and what your families expect.

Okay. It’s a stretch. But people who buy from companies want to like the company and they want to think that, given the chance, the company would save the cat.


ALSO, I think we can learn so much from other disciplines. And from what I’ve seen, this is one of the better books for anyone wanting to write a screenplay. Besides. It’s funny.

Save a cat today.

Flamenco? Olé!

I had a silly, wide grin on my face the whole time behind my mask… I was happy.

I attended my first in-person Flamenco class last night since March 2020.

And.
It.
Was.
Awesome.

I had a silly, wide grin on my face the whole time behind my mask, but I saw it in my eyes in the mirror. I was happy.

I danced ballet starting when I was five, but alas, dancing in toe shoes eight years later was my undoing. Call it “Achilles Toes.” It was not for my feet. Then, six years ago, I discovered flamenco. And I was horrible at first. Then, little by little, I learned to shift my weight. Move my feet. Connect my arms, legs, and hands, wear flowers in my hair, and big ruffly skirts! And we dancing ‘flamencas’ are connected in our earnest endeavor to master that which is as old as the gypsies and dates back to India centuries ago.

When was the last time you tried something for the first time? Well, flamenco may not be your cup of tea, but I liked it. What did you do when you were five that you could do now? Or something related? Have FUN!!! Grin with your whole body. Oh, and sweat too. :slight_smile:

Retaliation

“Is it growing, Mom?” Tony said, concern in his voice.

* (The name of this painting is “California Street.” See below for artist and detailed publishing information.)

Retaliation in Red

A Short Story

            No one knew how the red spots got there. They just appeared one day, and they were spreading. People’s brains were worn thin from trying to figure it out. The spots grew on the street and slid up along the walls. Sometimes it got in your hair if you weren’t careful.
            Mildred Lee took her ten-year-old son Tony to the cable car that day. As she dropped him near the cable car stop it seemed there were more red dots on the streets than last week and even more than yesterday.
             “Is­­­­­­­ it growing, Mom?” Tony said, concern in his voice.
              “I don’t know,” she said glancing at her watch. “But I gotta run or I’m going to be late for work. Hop on the cable car and I’ll see you tonight, Honey.”

But she would not see him as he was that morning. No. Tony ran after the cable car, but he didn’t reach it because he slipped on the red goo and got a mild concussion. When he woke up he was in a land far away. It was red. The sun was red. Tony’s clothes were red. His hair and skin were red. The people around him were red. They wore red clothes. Bright red. Cinnamon apple red. He was afraid at first, but then, he realized it must be some joke his friends had played on him. He was not hurt. And the color would wash off. He was sure of it. The people seemed friendly enough but they smelled funny, so he wanted to leave right away, but how?

Tony seemed to have found a way out of the red city, because the next thing he knew he was standing outside his home.


            “Hi, Mom,” Tony said, skipping into the house through the kitchen door. Tony’s mom fainted. Who faints anymore? Well, she did.

She came to with smelling salts that Tony’s dad administered. He whiffed some himself.

“What happened to you?” both Tony’s parents said at the exact same time.

“I don’t know. I was running toward the cable car and I slipped. When I woke up, I was in another place. And I was red. But then I fell asleep again and I woke up outside the house, but I was still red.”

“Well, I hope this washes off,” Tony’s mom said, licking her thumb and rubbing it on the back of Tony’s arm. Nothing changed. Tony was still red. Very, very red.

“Tony! Who did this to you?”

“I don’t know. I think it’s kind of cool,” Tony said admiring his face in the dining room mirror.

“It’s not cool because it’s not washing off. I’m calling the school.”

Tony scratched his red head with his red fingers. “I never made it to school that I remember.”

“What? Where were you?” Tony’s dad said. “Now don’t make up stories.”

 “The place was different. Like, the people there were red, and the buildings and streets were red.” He paused. “Even the dogs were red.”

“Maybe you slipped and passed out. You were dreaming is all. Now let’s see if we can get this off you. Come with me, young man,” Tony’s mom said. Then to her husband, she said, “Call the Sedgwick’s.  Their son is in Tony’s class. See if he was at school.”

While Tony’s mom scrubbed Tony’s skin with every thing from spot remover to cleanser and steel wool, Tony’s dad had called five other kids’ parents. It took several tries as the lines were busy. Finally it was determined that out of those five, the three children who were anywhere near that particular cable car line were red. All reported going to the same strange place where Tony went where people, clothes, and dogs were red. And all the children had remained red with no amount of washing that would alleviate the stain. The children peed red.
           Finally Tony’s mom stopped scrubbing. Tony was crying. She was crying. And the next morning Tony’s mom and dad were red, along with everyone else in San Francisco. The lobsters had retaliated. But they didn’t like the taste of humans, so they let them live.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

* Please note: Do you see the red spots on the street? The story popped upon the page from this wonderful piece of art! This post is a pure fantasy riff on the above painting in the book Bay Area Scene Paintings by Gordon T. McClelland & Austin D. McClelland, Copyright 2018. No disrespect is intended.

Page in Book: Page 26 and Cover

Artist: Jade Fon

Title: California Street

Year: 1950s

Media: Watercolor and gouache

Book Description: Looking down California Street from Nob Hill with China Town on the right side, the business district down below and a section of the Bay Bridge is visible through the towering canyon of buildings.