BPS 014: Save the Cat – Screenwriting 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 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.

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Alex Ferrari 0:00
So without further ado, enjoy my conversation with Jose Silerio.

Jose Silerio 2:27
Hey, thank you very much for having us. Alex it's I mean we're we're happy from SEMA from save the cat to be part of this and you know, just to help out screenwriters as much as possible.

Alex Ferrari 2:36
Yeah, I'm, I'm a huge, huge fan of Blake Schneider's work and save the cat. I read all three books. And they're they're amazing. And they've kind of changed 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 2:54
Yeah, yeah, definitely. You know, as you said, In the Save the cat three sort of became big in the industry. And that's not you know, it's not just simply us tooting our own horn. But it's really from our own experience. Even when Blake was still around. We saw how his his method, his books really became popular. And Blakely, you know, he's a screenwriter yet, just like most of us, right. He started screenwriting way back in the 80s, he was even started working for his dad, in his in his dad's animation series, doing the voices for the kid in the in the show and all that. And he got into screenwriting way back in the 80s. And he's he sold, you know, several scripts throughout his career until like getting 12 or 13, all together and engineered a couple other made, which is blank check. And stop or your mom or Mom Will Shoot which are kind of the more famous ones he did that came out. But I think from Blake really what he did with Save the cat and how it kind of how it evolved for him was that, you know, just like everybody else in the industry, especially for writers that there are those ups and down moments. And as a writer, you're always, you know, struggling to sort of break in, even though and I said that even though you're in already, you kind of have to keep proving yourself over and over. It's

Alex Ferrari 4:17
what have you done? It's like Janet Jackson says, What have you done for me lately?

Jose Silerio 4:22
And I think that kind of came from him. And it's like, knowing that that struggled to who went through, you wanted to make sure that other writers following him sort of had it a little bit easier if I can put it that way. And And He found you know, he had his own method of developing structure. And which is it's funny because he had this little story. And again, if you remember if it's in the book, where in his introduction to structure was that he you know, this was like early late 90s or late 80s system where he was he went to one of these development meetings. He submitted a script, you know, the producer was there and they decided talking about the script and the Producer goes to him. So what's your, you know, break after break? And he's just Oh, um, you know, he says kind of just kind of nodding his head, and kind of just talking what the story more than after the meeting ended, you know, when all other producers moved out, you know that the one producer who was really only 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 was. Right sort of became his introduction into creating structure, and him realizing that, you know, in order to tell a good story, regardless of the story, we need structure. And again, so he's developed his 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 started working for him. And in like you said, you know, once he published the road saved the cat, the first book was published, and people really gravitated toward it, and it just exploded.

Alex Ferrari 5:59
Now, what did you know, what were save the cat came from the name, but the

Jose Silerio 6:03
name save the cat itself is a term that he uses, you know, and it's, it's, it's a simple way for your audience to like your main hero, you know, perfect. It's the same the gods literally comes from the term, you know, saving a cat, you know, what it is, it's, it's you just put you give your, your, your hero an action to do early on in the, in the, 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, which would be

Alex Ferrari 6:35
the opposite of that would be kick the dog, which would be my book, kick the dog, how to be an evil person.

Jose Silerio 6:43
It's a great way to introduce a villain, right? You

Alex Ferrari 6:46
kill anybody who kicks a dog, like that guy's bad. So it's a perfect example. Yeah. So that's where it comes from. Okay, great. So how did you get involved with Save the cat?

Jose Silerio 6:55
You know, it's funny, I got involved with Save the cat exactly the same way. Like everybody discovers save the cat, which is I read the book. I didn't know Blake, you know, before the book came out. But when I read the book, you know, and I tell this to all people, all writers I work with I'm a very lazy reader. I'm sorry to say the book you know, even was as thick as save the cat, man. It's not really that thick. No, it's not. It's not it's not a hard read. Yeah, it will usually a book that thick will even take me something like a year to read.

Alex Ferrari 7:25
You're really lazy, you're really lazy, right read.

Jose Silerio 7:28
Save the cat, a Kenyatta. If I sat down open page one, and couldn't put it down it just like you said it was a very easily but more than being an E serene. I think it just it says, you know, you get it right away, you get a big is talking about it, what the thing, that nice thing about ingredients was sort of, for me, this is my reaction. It was very encouraging. It was really 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, he was kind of explaining it and telling me, you know, this is all you have to do. And that's how I got into save the guy to read the book. You know, he had his email address there, which everybody knows have read the book. I wrote him, Can I just ask him about other stuff and all that. And then one day, he can tell immediately, not one day, but immediately, he then asked me saying, hey, I need to help you with a script that I need to read, then if you can give me notes. You know, maybe we can build something together. And luckily, you know, you were at the right place at the right time. Exactly. You know, the stars aligned for me, kinda, you know. So that's how I got into Santa God. And it was like, way back in 2006 2007.

Alex Ferrari 8:34
Can't believe that's way back. Yeah.

Jose Silerio 8:38
10 years now.

Alex Ferrari 8:39
Wow. So can you explain to everybody what a beat sheet is? Because I remember the first time I was in an executive meeting, and someone goes, so where's your beat sheet? And I'm like, so you see, the character does this. This is very similar to what Blake did. I'm like, I just tried to keep going with it. But then afterwards, I found out what a beat sheet was. So can you explain to everybody what a beat sheet is?

Jose Silerio 9:00
Well, a BJ, especially, you know, we'd save the content, a lot of, you know, a lot of other I guess, teachers, producers, so ever everybody has their own kind of definition for the beat sheet is, I guess I'm kind of gonna go with the save the cat definition is really as Blackboard you know, the beat sheet really has an M for us, we have what we call the 15 beats, the 15 key beats. And this, what it does is the 15 beats of the beat sheet the same that the Blake Snyder beat sheet, it just really pinpoints the 15 key beats that your hero must go through in order to tell a good story. These are moments that must be happening to your hero, right and your hero must be doing as 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 or other books that you use read before but, you know, story structure is something that's been ingrained in all of us. Ever since, you know, from nursery rhymes telling jokes, there's always a structure. And and that beats, you know, those 15 beats is something that Blake sort of naturally develop. But he even says this isn't all discovered, but even not discovered, but he just kind of made it clear for everybody. Gotcha, gotcha, gotcha. And he said, and he, having studied all this film, so they felt like, you know, what really successful feeling to the video, like he said, You know, I just he discovered that there were just 15 beats that were always present. And that's what you know, I guess a beat ship is, you know, you have this, this 15 beats that go from in save the cat, terminologies go from opening image, all the way down to 50. The final image that, like I said earlier to me that your hero must go through. So in short, I guess it's really like an outline, or, but really, 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 Ferrari 11:07
Right? It's kind of well, what I've taken from structure is because when I write I, my structures, pretty sound because I like structure. I like having that those tent poles to be able to, like write to. So it's like, Okay, 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 the writer, but I have a place to go without that structure. You're just kind of like rendering all over the place.

Jose Silerio 11:34
Exactly. I think it's what you said. You know, the nice term to use was tentpole, which is exactly you know, what Blake also mentioned that, I think a lot of times, and I say this all the time, like when I went to film school way back when, you know, the writing screenwriting classes, one, the one thing that really always got us, okay, there's Act One, act two, and you write and they're like, Oh, that's very vague. You fill it in. And that's what you know, the the Save the cat beat sheet of Blake does is that at least in Act One, you know what should be happening? Act One, because right there, you know, which bits 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 Ferrari 12:14
Yeah, it's, it's pretty amazing. There's a series on YouTube that has a, they take the Save the cat method, and they beat it out with movies. It's wonderful to watch because you're like, Back to the Future at, you know, Terminator Titanic, and you just start watching them, and they literally are beating it out. So they're like, here's this piece. This is when this happens in the movie. This is when this happens in the movie, and you just sit there and you use examples of it. Can you give us a few examples of films that you've saved the cat very, very well? Ah, oh,

Jose Silerio 12:42
he seven hours,

Alex Ferrari 12:43
the hours of them. I know. But just a couple of the big ones. Yeah. Even that

Jose Silerio 12:47
big one got like, you know, some of the Oscar winners, I think speech. Argo mean, very clear and strong beats. And Oscar nominated on which I really liked from two years ago was whiplash. Yeah, again, briefly. Again, all the beats, were there. But the nice thing about you know, the smoothies where you can see is that, you know, you can go there, and I'm probably biased already, by this time at this point, right? For 10 years. I'm watching there and, but still, right, I try to avoid saying, Oh, there's the catalyst. Oh, there's the midpoint.

Alex Ferrari 13:20
It's rough. You know, it's, it's it. 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 film to do that too. You know, for people like us that are really into it. It's at that that's a really good sign of the filmmaker who has been able to cut through all of our all of our armor, if you will, of biases like oh, that green screen didn't really look that great. Oh, oh, that story point. That's the catalyst Oh, that's the turning point. And I catch myself doing that all the time now with with lesser movies, but

Jose Silerio 14:04
like you said, you know, the well made ones really are those where you forget it's there, but you don't see it.

Alex Ferrari 14:10
Exactly. Or you look back and you go back to it later and watch it a second time and then you'll analyze it maybe the 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 14:23
Exactly exactly and you know those are you know that they did their job well you know, and like you said you know when we go back then we start realizing oh that's why you know we like this part because your case it was building up to the midpoint is going down to the old slots then and all that

Alex Ferrari 14:38
now did you have you seen the new Star Wars

Jose Silerio 14:41
I have and how is it how's

Alex Ferrari 14:43
it How's it hanging in the in the saving the cat

Jose Silerio 14:46
paradise thanks very well in terms of the beat sheet itself of having the beats there. You know, the way they introduce the characters of the setup, you know, the setup,

Alex Ferrari 14:55
no spoilers, no spoilers.

Jose Silerio 14:57
Yeah. Be very careful. You know, even you know, the big moment, the big oil this last moment, I think, you know, even I'm not gonna say it out loud. I think I know you what? You know what I'm talking course? Of course, of course. Right. So, you know, even though we don't specifics, we know that that beat was there. Again, clear third act right, you know what the third act is? And if the beats are still there, so yeah, I think I would love to say that, you know, yeah, of course, JJ Abrams, wrote there and read save the cat before. Before I think it, but you know, I think great filmmakers, great writers, they just know, you know,

Alex Ferrari 15:35
well, the thing is, if you look at all the big movies, the most successful movies, whether they be blockbusters, or Oscar winners, generally, they all follow the beat, they all follow the structure, whether whether, and I think what Blake did so well with Save the cat is that screenwriting is a complex scenario, it's not an easy way to write, it's much easier to write, in many ways a novel because you can Miranda 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, it has to be very condensed has to be very concise, every word is 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 the you know, at a at a film school or at the higher end like the UCLA, 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 writes B, B. Well,

Jose Silerio 16:46
I completely agree with you on that and there's definitely you know, if you can go the the Joseph Campbell route, of course, we just very again, there's nothing wrong, but it's a great system as well. But like you said, you know, when Blake would save the cat kind of brought it down to the masses, those who weren't kind of more into mythological stuff but just wanted to set up just go straight into well,

Alex Ferrari 17:05
I mean, the right yeah, what what the writers journey was or what the hero's journey is, it works well obviously with Save the cat it's it's it's there. But it's, 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 wanted you guys on the show because the book was so influential. And then you can go off and read a million 1000 books. There's a nice

Jose Silerio 17:41
thing a bucket, they'll say it's up in the Blake really started in roadsafe. The gap is for writers really more than anybody for writers to help them move forward with their own writing. And they feel like they're stuck in kind of go. But it's also a great way to analyze movies. Oh, God and figure out you know why they're working. That's

Alex Ferrari 18:00
why he wrote that second book with the the exact the cat goes to the movies. Right? Exactly. Which was great. It was a wonderful example to kind of go and he's just starts breaking down the movies. And you're just like, Oh, my God, I remember the first time i i discovered the first book I ever read was Sid fields. That was when I was in. Now I'm going way back. This is like the 90s. So and when I discovered that there was a a structure, because he was the first one I ever heard any kind of structure. Yeah. And I was like, wait a minute, at 15 minutes, this happens. And I can't stand that I just started going back to all my movies. I'm like, Oh, my God is. And I thought I've cracked the code. It's like it was 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, let's say the cat does so well is it simplifies it so beautifully. And it's I don't want to say it's like, right by numbers, because there's a lot of creativity involved. But it gives you those 10 poles that you can just make it's a lot easier. You don't have to think about structure. You can you could just decorate the house, you don't have to worry about the foundation.

Jose Silerio 19:00
Exactly. I think that's the best way to put it. Because there is always an A always talk about it. Because there is, you know, there are always those detractors who can say disappointed by numbers thing. And I think when people say that they're not getting the whole picture, because we're just talking about structure. You know, your your character traits,

Alex Ferrari 19:20
they're not a log everything. Exactly. It's

Jose Silerio 19:23
on the writer. Right. And that's for you to make your characters unique. And once you add that, then it becomes a totally different story. What do you have the structure there already?

Alex Ferrari 19:32
Yeah, absolutely. It's like I said before, it's like literally, you could you could have a house with a complete foundation and structure done. Now how that's decorated. It could be accurate in a million different ways. It's all depending on how the writer wants to, to go forward. So can a lot of screenwriters to always hear about coverage like oh, well can I get coverage and I got bad coverage. I got good coverage and your script needs coverage from a studio or production company. Can you explain a little bit about coverage to the Those who don't know the audience? Well,

Jose Silerio 20:01
I think like you said, you know, coverage really is more of like, you know, you have the reader, obviously, you have the higher ups who can't read all the scripts that go to their studios. So they need the Cliff Notes version scripts that come in. And I think that's that, for me, that's kind of what coverage is, 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, dialogue, you know, giving it it's sort of class and you know, different students have different styles, different methods, but it kind of they have kind of point system, and they point degrade degraded accordingly. And that's, you know, I think that's the simple way of just describing what coverage is that now that piece of paper and hopefully, for most, it's a one pager, right? That goes now to the next junior executive.

Alex Ferrari 20:53
If it passes, if it passes, because they might, they might have

Jose Silerio 20:56
exactly right, it passes and goes to them, they read the script, and they 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 like I said, a simple version of explaining of coverage is it's really a cover letter, you know, for for for the script. Can you just telling us what the script is? You're telling the executive what what the script is all about? And what, what, in what and how it meets certain criteria for

Alex Ferrari 21:22
them. Now, the thing is that as a 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 like oh my god, I like I forgot there's some legendary ones. I just don't remember any of them off the top of my head, but that guy passes at certain studios. Well, Star Wars was passed everywhere. I mean, just the original Star Wars was like, what?

Jose Silerio 21:56
Yeah, you know, that's very true. Bigger producers gonna like I don't think you know, they don't get him get it.

Alex Ferrari 22:02
They don't they don't get it. So in the script was like, Oh, what's this? What's this? This giant monkey who's walking around with this guy? And he's his sister. What? No, forget there's incest involved. This is horrible. So yeah. So it has to do

Jose Silerio 22:18
like you said, you know, it there is it's certainly involved in it, that your script gets to the right person at the right time. Yeah. So that they, you know, they, that whoever the reader is that they're reading it in the right frame of mind in order to get it and be in, hopefully be objective enough. While while reading it.

Alex Ferrari 22:40
I think also, one thing that I've learned in my journeys and from talking to so many different screenwriters is and recover 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 though 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 23:13
Yeah. And I completely agree with that. And, you know, this is what I always tell writers, especially those who say, Okay, what's the secret to sort of breaking in? And I think the release? Isn't the secret. The secret is he come up with a really great script.

Alex Ferrari 23:27
Script, oddly enough.

Jose Silerio 23:29
Yeah. And because it's, then I truly believe this, because I've heard it from a lot of executives from producers themselves. And they say, you know, the industry leader, yes. You know, they're one thing for the Great, the next great script, right? So the moment you have a great script that goes out, you know, it's going to, it's going to catch fire, it's going to spread on its own. It's because of you know, once somebody says, there's a great script out there, everybody starts looking for it. And I think that's really sort of the secret to, is to break in. But you have to do again, your homework, you have to show them like you were saying earlier, right? That as a writer, you have to show this people, the readers or producers, that they know how to write the story. He know what it takes to be able to be to be a good storyteller.

Alex Ferrari 24:13
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 Yeah, and that happens all the time. And I know a lot of screenwriters who make a living, never being produced. Yeah, they just keep optioning or they're working or their Script doctoring. And they've never had a single credit to their name, but they've made millions doing this behind the scenes. There's many guys who do this in Hollywood.

Jose Silerio 24:43
And they're even a lot of those who not just option out, you know, their scripts, even though the script doesn't get made. But they get hired to rewrite again, you know, other scripts again without being credited for it and you and that's, that's a great job to have

Alex Ferrari 24:58
it to certain I guess, I think You've made your first two or 3 million doing that at a certain point, you just want to go, you know, I wouldn't mind getting something made. Yeah, you know, but I wish I had these problems. I don't know about you, but I wish I had that, like, you know, I've already made my 3 million this year. So I really would, you know, they're not going to just play around, they may just play around, you know, let's just follow the passion project to finally finally make that passion project I've been watching about that one legged hooker. And in and 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. She has a heart of gold as Yeah, she has a heart. I tell you, every time I hear I always tell people that that story that like Echo, 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 father, her drunken father, you know, who also happens to be a transgender. I'm just saying that alone would win Sundance every year guaranteed. And, but you have to follow the 15 beats. If not, it doesn't work.

Jose Silerio 26:10
Doesn't work at all.

Alex Ferrari 26:13
So um, 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 of advice on how to construct a really great logline and explain what a logline is to people who don't know?

Jose Silerio 26:27
Well, I think there's a lot going to be I'll be honest with you a lot better for me is always the trickiest thing to write rough. And I and I always tell this the writers I you know, Blake talks about it in the book and the same that got in his process was you know, write a logline. One of the first things we did was write the logline right before beating it out. And and that's great because it gives a good idea of what your story is. But that particular loved one 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 right? Because it as you start to write in writing, things will start changing, you start discovering more about, you know, your characters and stories, it led to a change. So there is a logline that I think it's great to have early on to keep sort of on track as to what your story what you think your story is, or what you envision it to be. And but there is also the plug line at the very end that really captures the real story. And you have to know the difference, you know, as writers, but for meters of what what regardless of which particular logline you're writing on the early on, or the one that you really want to stand out already. The things that they look for are always going to be which you know, in a this is basic screenwriting one to one, but they call them the big three, which is you know, it has to be able to clearly convey historic 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 the one 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, if 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, then your logline won't tell the story. So it's very important to able to make sure that all the three elements have it in in in your logline that you have it in your logline. Another thing that I that I like which Blakely pointed out in the book is having a sense of irony in in the logline. And, you know in in that what that really means is that I think what you want to show is that why is this hero, right? The person to go on this journey? And so you'll want to be able to build up even in your logline. Right, 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 really building that up? Because what you're telling us is that of all the people in the world, right? This is not the right person to do it. Right? This is not the right person to go on this journey. But that's what makes it compelling diehard Dyer exactly right? Yeah. If you end up always having you know, Mr. Universe, go up against you know, the big evil, you know, whoever it is, right but

Alex Ferrari 29:29
you know, that's good. That's commando that's coming

Jose Silerio 29:34
oh, Steven Seagal Oh, all right. He's gonna be at the end of the day

Alex Ferrari 29:38
right? I just there's no real there's never a chance like you know maybe Steven might not want no he's gonna let

Jose Silerio 29:45
me know then but that's that's in that works for who he is. Right? And the the characters that the theater 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 They'll ask you to make sure that just by reading the logline, a one sentence, you know, line that we understand we make you understand what the story is, but more importantly, that it's a very compelling story. And again, by doing that, it's again giving us a sense of irony in the sense that it's, you know, you're, you're introducing us to a character who is not supposed to be going on this journey.

Alex Ferrari 30:22
Right. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now, back to the show. And go ahead. Sorry, go ahead. No, no, the way you 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 or he she's not supposed to be the one on the journey. Ripley from aliens comes to mind, you know, Sarah Connor, Senator Sarah Connor from Terminator. Diehard John McClane, the lethal weapon boys, like there's no reason for them to, you know, work. And they do. What Star Wars right? And Star Wars The young farm boy who's going up against the Empire?

Unknown Speaker 31:11
Sadly,

Alex Ferrari 31:12
that's that's

Jose Silerio 31:12
what speech robots? Yes. The Word became just starters. Right? Right.

Alex Ferrari 31:19
It's exactly like he has no right like, and that it's something as simple as that. Like, it's not a big huge act or thing. It's about a guy who stutters who cast the not stutter, and he has to inspire a nation. Like that's, that's a simple concept. It's not it's not brain surgery. But then I started when you brought that up, I started going I just went back through my mental Rolodex of movies. And I'm like, you know, a lot of those 80s action movies like commando like every John Claude Van Damme movie, like every Steven Seagal movie, and bad action movies, there isn't that bad action movie and don't get me I love all those movies. Because, you know, I was young when I saw them. And 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 of time like you could I just watched diehard again, because it's my Christmas movie I always watched, because I don't care what anyone says. It's the best Christmas movie of all time. I don't I don't care what anyone says. Oh, yes. No, if you don't see Hans Gruber falling out of a 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. So um, 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 diehard in a boat, diehard on the train diehard on the plane, that all this kind of stuff. It was such a brilliant and Pinnacle movie, but it's that what you're talking about. It's the ironic, the irony of that character who has no business doing a predator is another one. Like, even though Arnold and this entire team are big muscle bound, yeah. But they're up against something that's 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 have bad action movies. We really could learn something from please, please.

Jose Silerio 33:19
Die Hard is a great example. Because, you know, in the 80s You know, we were used to seeing all the Schwarzenegger movie right. Then the RAMBo Stallone movies. They're all like this muscle bomb Lee, you know, and suddenly, the interview would get introduced to John McClane. It's not really that tone. You know, he's

Alex Ferrari 33:38
no, he's a normal dude. He's, he's

Jose Silerio 33:42
locked in. He's about to get a divorce. Right. Right. To survive to stay together.

Alex Ferrari 33:47
He's a New Yorker in LA, which Trust me, I understand.

Jose Silerio 33:51
I think you know, he's totally different guy who gets thrown into, you know, in a bigger than life scenario.

Alex Ferrari 34:02
Yeah, absolutely. And then the, the brilliance of, you know, the, the barefoot 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 80s. And you can, you know, it's so fun to watch because of, you know, all the ad stuff in it. But it's so Robocop another one of those, like, 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 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. Yeah,

Jose Silerio 34:46
I think so. Because again, it's, there's not that sense of irony, meaning that you're here is not the right person, or shouldn't be the person to be going against this problem or having this goal, right. As a writer, you We'll find out easily that you'll end right you do stop writing by page 30. Because you're unable to generate more conflict for your hero, right? You lose sight of that sense of tension. Because your hero, you haven't as we like to sing, save the cat, you haven't taken your hero as far back as possible. Right? So if they're already a great superhero on the first app, right, then again, whatever you throw up in front of them, the second app is something that they can easily overcome. And once that happens, you know, your story ends at page 30.

Alex Ferrari 35:32
That's, I think one of the main problems with most Superman movies, or even telling a Superman story, it's so difficult to create conflict for a god. And it's an except for the very first one that Richard Donner did, and he did it. So magically, it's like every and we've all been everyone's been trying to get back to that. But it's tough to create conflict like the Batman. That's why Batman works better than Superman, because Batman is 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 36:05
And his backstory is so much more complex. Or find his parents were killed. He saw them get killed. You know,

Alex Ferrari 36:12
it's so much so much media.

Jose Silerio 36:15
Exactly. You know, it's not just a physical story but really more of the emotional story is what's what's really pulls us in.

Alex Ferrari 36:21
So I'm really curious to see how this Batman vs. Superman. Yeah, fiasco I think it's gonna be a fiasco. That's just me. But that's 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. Know if this is gonna work. I hope it does. I'm a fan. But, uh, you know, but then I saw Captain, I saw that 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, or people have seen through these movies, and now they're fighting for ideologies. It's just like, brilliant. Brilliant. I'm sorry. I've gone off on a tangent on superhero movies. I apologize. So um, so what are some of the biggest mistakes you see with screen write screenplays when you read them from like, first time writers or just screenplays in general?

Jose Silerio 37:18
I think especially like especially you know, for us and I would say they got to get a lot of first time screenwriters. Even though when they say first time you know, it's those are within several months haven't really sold anything yet. And one thing I've noticed of play is that a lot of screenwriters tend to write off write a character that's based off another character that they saw in a movie

Alex Ferrari 37:44
really using Are you still seeing a lot of that

Jose Silerio 37:46
yeah it is and it's like you're talking about diehard right right oh god diehard in a plane or heard in a train or didn't know shit sudden

Alex Ferrari 37:56
Sudden Impact don't forget that one John cloud on top of diehard ice rink

Jose Silerio 38:00
so there's a lot that I think a lot of people kind of do that still you know I want to make the next taken I want to make no

Alex Ferrari 38:07
there's there was a after taking came out there I must have been 1000 taken scripts make made. Yeah,

Jose Silerio 38:14
right. Or after bridesmaids came up I want to make the next bridesmaid or hangover right after hangover came. I want to make the next hangover. So the writing, characters are writing stories based off other characters have been seen already or that they simply know from watching right from from the film, it's not characters that they really know, in real life. Right. And I think that that's one missed the one big mistake. Screenwriters new especially the newer ones do nowadays is that, you know, they start writing off, you know, characters that oh, this is what John McClane would do. But you're not writing John McClane anymore. And you have to find, you know, in your own writing, and we mentioned this earlier, um, coming up with your own voice, we know what makes you unique as a writer, you have to be able to find, you know, that the what makes your characters unique as well. And that's really, by, you know, writing, writing characters based off people, you know, in real life. You know, that crazy art that you have, you know, or, you know, absolutely, Buddy you had from high schools. Now, your mother is truly successful, but in a bad marriage. But there are a lot of things that you can pull out of real people who surround us, baby. Right. And I think, you know, that makes it more interesting because now we start seeing people who we know, you know, can be a little bit more complex, who may not necessarily go left when we think everybody's going left. You know, what, what makes them different. And I think that's something that newer writers need to learn more how to build better characters.

Alex Ferrari 39:52
I think also, what you're saying is advice for every aspect of filmmaking in the sense of it. 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 Quinn Tarantino. I'm like, No, you're not. You can't be because there's only one Quentin Tarantino there's only one Scorsese there's only one Shane Black. Yeah, no, there's don't I mean, I mean, how many people try to rip off Shane Black? After Lethal Weapon? And after? I mean, everyone tried to write like, Shane. Yeah, when he was making the, in the olden days, when everyone was making $2 million, a spec script, you know, sales that don't happen nowadays. But if you just true be true to them, because if you notice, all of those guys, all of those guys are original. They're all they're all being themselves. Yeah.

Jose Silerio 40:40
They were in their original voice came out, then 20 years ago. Right. And it worked for them. So now it's time for the newer writers who want to break into to find what is your original voice for today's time?

Alex Ferrari 40:54
Right, because things that worked 20 years ago will not work today. Yeah. And that's, that's a huge, and that's when screenwriting and filmmaking is a general statement. A lot of people keep going at it from that point of view of like, I'm going to do what Chamberlain like no, don't know, it's a different place different world today.

Jose Silerio 41:11
So I think, if I may, please have time. But another, I think, common mistake that writers have, your writers have an artist is just simply over writing. Especially when it comes to the description and the action part of any we're not, it may not necessarily be an action movie. But you know, when they start describing the action of going, that's going on, you know, they describe it to a, you know, to the most minute

Alex Ferrari 41:37
or they write it like a novelist like, or even

Jose Silerio 41:39
write even to describe a character, they over describe it, I think what this does is, especially for me is 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 rib. Because now my mind is again, and this is something readers, I mean, I'm sorry, writers have to realize is that your first audience is not the person who buys the movie ticket, 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. Right. But provide by putting in too much detail by making it too, you know, too specific, that you know that your own that the reader themselves that aren't losing that, that ability to build the world on their own and get more into it. I think if as readers, if we're given that opportunity to build the world, a little bit on our own, as we're following reading the story, then it becomes more interesting, it becomes more exciting.

Alex Ferrari 42:55
You know, I was 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 is like, it was so brilliant. The structure was, was spot on. Every word was like and I was analyzing it was I was reading it because I was just so taken by like, oh, okay, so he condensed everything right? He didn't overwrite everything. He left it open for your interpretation. But yeah, gave you just enough. If there's that fine balance when you're writing like that, and it was just so wonderful. To want to read it was a joy to read as opposed to reading, you know, 98% of scripts. Yeah. Which is, which is rough.

Jose Silerio 43:48
Yeah, I I've had those moments. Right. From from a professional. Right. Right. And it's like, before, you know, the right in page 90.

Alex Ferrari 43:59
Right, exactly. And you're slow reader.

Jose Silerio 44:04
Until I know, this is a good one.

Alex Ferrari 44:06
This is. 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've 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 it come in a blares out it like that, just it screams at you. Because, you know, it's not like you're in a bunch of William Goldman scripts. And Shane Black scripts, and Tarantino scripts are all tossed in 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, so I was fascinated when I was doing a little research for this interview, I found out that save the cat has some software. Yes. Can you talk a little bit about that? Because that was kind of exciting.

Jose Silerio 44:56
Yeah, we actually do have a software and the nice thing about the software it really follows The Save the cat method, oddly enough, as its laid out, I guess what I should have said, laid out in the book in the first book, A Blake kind of goes through it step by step, right? So, 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 to pick for this story, you know, then it tells you to do the logline. Right. And then, but you're not able to jump right away into the beat sheet, or the board, you know, 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 logline, then only with the long run, you'll be able to go into the beat sheet. Once you have your beat sheet, 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 kicked out, it kind of forces you to go through it step by step. I think that's the nice thing about it, because it really helps you think and not just I know there's us writers, we're always eager to jump into page one and fade in right. But it but that can also always get us into trouble right away. There is you know, you take the time, the first think about the idea. First think about the premise, the story started eating a dataset building outlines and building structure before you actually go to page one. And that's that that's that's what I think this software is good that it helps you sort of focus little by little step by step, that when by the time you don't get to page one fade in, you know, you've done the hard work already, right. But like I said, it follows all the rules of Save the cat, it takes you to the beat sheet, it takes you to the board, the 40 cards board, and you can see it all laid out in front of you and your screen

Alex Ferrari 46:45
now Can you can you explain I was gonna ask 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 when I write it's so helpful. So can you explain it? Because there's the 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 47:03
Yeah, and it's same thing, you know, when when, first my introduction to the board also came from Blake, and how we how we explained it is that, you know, he walked into a producer's room. And oddly enough, same thing happened to me a few years after he told me about it was at the end, he sees, you know, it's corkboard in front of a word or little index cards laid out. And look at this, this, you know, it saved the cat, how we have it is that you have a big whether it's a cork board or white board, or whatever it is you're writing, you break that board into four rows, each row representing an AP, well, but you're gonna say okay, but there's four rows. So why 4x? Well, it's x one, act two, a new act to be an act three. And in each row, you have, we have 10 cards, and each card really is a scene or a sequence. Not meaning that again, it's always you can start what you're doing really here now with the board, surely, you are writing, right, and you're working on scenes already, you're doing scene structure work already here. And it allows you to sort of the follow your hero in terms of its plot in terms of its emotional story. Throughout, you know, you're able to lay out scenes and see if it's working in Act One or enact do, you know, if it's not, you can move them around. But the nice thing about is that again, you're able to see in a very visual, immediate sense, just by looking at the board, you're able to look at it right away and see how the story is playing out. You can see where the characters are moving forward. You know, you can even I think one thing I always emphasize with riders, so when when they do the boards, 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 base story, you know, and what the beast story is for those who are familiar with it. What it represents it to me just the theme of the story. Right? So what what they don't know,

Alex Ferrari 49:02
is that that subplot or is that a b? Is that is a subplot or is that

Jose Silerio 49:06
a subplot? It's the emotional story. Got it? That that you that your story that your hero must

Alex Ferrari 49:11
go so then tight. So what's the emotional story of Titanic just so people have a reference?

Jose Silerio 49:16
Well, let's say for Rose, right? The physical story is, I'm going to get married to what's his name Billy Zayn. Right, Bill is 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. And she wasn't afraid to my own person. Right? Right. And that's what Jack was just named Leonardo DiCaprio teaches her

Alex Ferrari 49:37
because she is she is she is the character she is the main character.

Jose Silerio 49:41
Yes, I agree with you that she is the main character. And that's what it likes Leo does for he's the one who forces her to learn the lesson to learn the theme of the story in order to be her own person. So

Alex Ferrari 49:52
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 Yeah, but the emotion about what the intention of her character is this, what she's going after this is the the inner struggle or the inner journey, the inner journey,

Jose Silerio 50:12
it's the inner journey, it's the internal story guarding the with Luke Skywalker, the external aspect on the Death Star, right the internalist, he needs to learn to be a Jedi to believe into trust to trust leaving. So that's what you know. So going back now to the board, when I tell writers so you can mark this cards, you know, whether you use color, or whatever it is 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 dot that you can put on each card. And then you can see where you're playing out the emotional story as well. So I think the board is, like I said, hopefully, I'm explaining it well enough. Now, yeah, that you're able to see right away just by standing in front of it. You know, what you have, where the story's going, where their hero is going, and how you're playing out the physical and the emotional story throughout. But it's also you know, it's saved, see if you do it now, meaning, you know, if you do with the board right away before you start writing pages, if you see like a certain sequence is not working in the middle of second app, but you can either take it out, put it away for another day, or maybe you say actually, you know, this sequence might work better in Act One, right? So but you can do it right away, as opposed to doing it later, or after six months or nine months of having written a first draft. Right, instead of saying, wait a minute, page 5255 wasn't working. But you know, yeah, I should have known that nine months ago. Right, right. And save myself the time. Right. So that's the beauty of what the board is

Alex Ferrari 51:45
now this in the software, do you have that option for the dots? Yes, you

Jose Silerio 51:49
do. Oh, great. Sophie, do you know, again, get the all of that we won't have time, but there are little places where you can assign color to it. Mm hmm. Perfect. Wonderful. And it's just a simple thing, but even assigning color to characters. I think it's a wonderful little trick. No, if, let's say green is going to be my villain. But if you're looking 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. And the villain is the source of conflict.

Alex Ferrari 52:18
That would be that would be the first Twilight movie. Yeah. The worst films I've ever seen. I don't care what anyone says was horrendous. The villain shows up 20 minutes. I don't care spoiling it. 20 minutes at the end. I'm like, Are you kidding me? Are you kidding? The first hour, 20 minutes. It's just of them pining for each other. It was horrendous. And it's

Jose Silerio 52:42
there you go. See if they had the board

Alex Ferrari 52:45
they had? Well, look, look, they made a couple bucks on that. So what do we know? But they but it's not definitely not being studied by screenwriters. For their for their structure, a 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. i That's the first movie that came up. I'm like, because look what happens in Star Wars first, like three, four minutes of the movie? Yeah, the best, the best opening of a villain, arguably ever. And everybody. And that was a wonderful thing about that film is that I've read I've listened to I 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 knew and you didn't speak English. Yeah, you knew that was a bad guy. Yeah, that was that's the brilliance and the universal appeal of of those movies is like you knew and it did that thing with Kylo Ren as well that and the way they've designed his mask and it was all very strategic to portray a villain instantly. Yeah, it's

Jose Silerio 53:57
another great example if I may, is you know which which again was one of my favorites was whiplash with a mentioned ah, soberly way to introduce the dogs and ones first. Two minutes. Ah, for me, it's just just as good as introducing Darth Vader.

Alex Ferrari 54:12
I mean, I'll tell you what, when I watched that movie, it was 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 just horrible human. Exactly. He's so brilliant at it that it just I felt like I'm like just leave man just like it's not worth it man. Just go don't play the damn drums anymore. Just go

Jose Silerio 54:38
watch but we know you're gonna want to walk away.

Alex Ferrari 54:41
But you know what's brilliant is and he deserved the Oscar without question because he carries that movie. It does. The whole movie is him as me know he's not the main character but he is so overpowering as the actor and the character is so overpowering. That without him there's so much he's he's the Empire He is here. And this poor kid is Luke. And it's like, but that's if Darth Vader was yelling at Luke. Throwing symbols at its

Jose Silerio 55:11
chair with the horse.

Alex Ferrari 55:13
Just throwing the force like come on Lou, you know, three beats to Obi Wan Kenobi. Three beats with a lightsaber Come on. No. And you also have an app right to save the cat app. Is that different than the software?

Jose Silerio 55:28
No, it's It's, it's it's the same. But like you said, it's an app, it's, it's for your laptop. It's for your iPhone, or your iPad, or Android. I'm apt to be clear. I'm not sure about that. But I know you can work on your iPhone. But it got to go to the same thing sort of like a miniature version of what you can get on your laptop or your computer. Got it. But it's the same thing. It's obviously 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 it is just an iPhone.

Alex Ferrari 56:02
It's like what card it doesn't give

Jose Silerio 56:04
you the same data set you can play around it. We can you can get what's the word play between the app and the software. I think you can link it if I if I have that. Right. Okay, so what do you have in the in your app, we can go to the cloud and you know right without in your in your in your computer.

Alex Ferrari 56:21
And if you're at Starbucks writing your your script, and you have an idea real quick and you don't have your laptop? Yeah, pop it into your iPad, or iPhone. Because I was 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. Yeah. Exactly. Exactly. Never fails. Never never fails. So I'm I'm I'm now comes to the part of the show. That is the toughest questions. I ask all my all my guests. So are you Are you ready, sir?

Jose Silerio 56:54
All right.

Alex Ferrari 56:55
I hope so. Okay. 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 57:03
Ah, you know what? This for me, it's, it's the discipline of writing. At least for me, personally, I think it's something also the you know, a lot of writers struggle with this, especially those who want to make writing their career job,

Alex Ferrari 57:21
it's time that white page, that white page is a mountain.

Jose Silerio 57:24
Yeah, but it is really just simply finding the time, day in and day out. To say I'm gonna write, whether it's just for 10 minutes, 30 minutes, one hour, or a page a day. Because it's so easy to get caught up with him, especially like I said, for those the newer ones, especially those who have a day job. If you can easily get caught up with other things. And before, you know, it's a week, especially I went to 10 single page before you know, it's two months ready. Right? They haven't written 10 pages. So it is it's not necessarily a lesson, right? But it this being able to spring 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 that's that is attainable for you. So you know, I know other writers who do like a page a day, I know who someone who does six pages a day, just stuff, I tried doing six pages a day. It sounds a lot easier to login this month, you're doing it stuff now. But you have to find a system that works for you that makes it like I said, attainable each and every day. So whether you go by page count, or by minute count, 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, sorry, that is playing right now on its own. Yes, exactly. I mean that you, you have to do it. And I think if anything, it's just that you have to keep writing if you want to really be a good writer. And I tell this to all writers, you just have to write it's it's not just writing but also reading scripts, not necessarily just watching movies. Yes, watching movies is nice. But read scripts as well. You know, and you have to find a way to put that into your schedule as well.

Alex Ferrari 59:15
Yeah, I

Jose Silerio 59:16
think that's certainly the best lesson for for one, to become a not just a good writer, but to be really a working writer.

Alex Ferrari 59:24
You know, the, if I may quote Woody Allen 90% of success is just showing up. Very true. It's an it's true that consistency of showing up every day and doing the work even if it's five minutes, even if it's 10 minutes, but it's that everyday thing and that's what people get hard. Like if you if you can get into that routine of just doing it every day little by little and trust me I know. Even even Academy Award winning writers have problems. Yeah, writing it like they're just like, Oh, God, I gotta go on right. You know, it's like it's it's right 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's it is rough. So that's a great, great piece of advice. Now what are your top three favorite films of all time?

Jose Silerio 1:00:17
Oh, man, that's I think this is even the tougher question. Yes, yes, this big three. Ah, all right. Oh, one would be I think the safe answer, but I really loved it. And it's one of those movies I keep watching over and over again. It's Shawshank Redemption of course.

Alex Ferrari 1:00:29
Of course it's one of my top three as well. Twilight obviously too but no, no Shawshank knows second a close second was twilight No. No Shawshank is amazing. It's amazing. It's it's it says it's honestly to me, it's this perfect little movie as you can get it for me because it's my generations Godfather

Jose Silerio 1:00:49
through they're very, very, I think same same with me. You know, it's one of the reason why I love it so much is because it really it kind of breaks so many rules, but it all works. Yep. Right? It's a cool story to read. Is it Andy's right? But you're going to go there at the end of the movie, you're just like, who cares?

Alex Ferrari 1:01:08
So I was gonna say like, whose story and like, now you'd want us ask me that. Like, whose story? Is it? Is it It? Is? Is it reds? I think it's I think it's reds. Maybe because he's the narrator's reds. Because he's,

Jose Silerio 1:01:22
in terms of, and again, for me, it's always like who had the biggest change? Right? And it's, and it's red? Yeah. Red is sorry, although you would think a lot of the action or out of the action being instigated was being instigated by by Andy.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:36
But Andy, but Andy didn't make that large of a change. Not not as big as he was just doing what he does. Yeah, exactly. But read from the moment you see and you actually see them in different tent poles of the movie when that whole interview with the with the board the parole board. Yeah, how he changes and you can literally I mean, that he really lays it out for you Frank Darabont does, and it's absolutely brilliant. And another one of his movies Green Mile, I love, love, love, love green Mo. So go ahead. Sorry,

Jose Silerio 1:02:07
about Shawshank again. I think that's number one for me. Another one, I guess. Again, there's no really order. Of course. One of the most perfect scripts I've read in the movie as well can work really, really nicely. Was a Little Miss Sunshine. Such

Alex Ferrari 1:02:24
a really movie. It's such a really, really,

Jose Silerio 1:02:26
I I tell you're eating NFL this Alright, so when I read that script, I said, this is perfect. I couldn't get reading a script. Yeah, it's it's tight. It's tight. It's tight. And you're following all these characters. Again, one of those that you know, Michael arm did a great job is building all these characters. We get to know all the characters right in the first 10 minutes. We're following all their stories in it. It's it's great. And it's one of those again, it's my way of engaging like if it's a favorite of mine, if you know when you're surfing the TV. Oh, yeah. If you happen to see it, then you stop. Yeah, absolutely. 50 times already before, right. It's one of those Little Miss Sunshine. And then the other one a smaller movie that I really, really, really loved as well. was Billy Elliot.

Alex Ferrari 1:03:10
Oh, yeah. I love Billy Elliot. I remember Billy Elliot, that was a really sweet film.

Jose Silerio 1:03:14
Yeah. And I think that this I think maybe just happened to be time with me when when I had my first child when they first came out. So the whole father son thing was

Alex Ferrari 1:03:22
you secretly want to dance I understand.

Jose Silerio 1:03:26
You want to get I love you know how they played out, you know how our kids journey of him simply wanting to dance played against the backdrop of what's happening in his dad's world, you know, with the coal miners striking and having a bigger theme out there. But yet their theme really was just the same. I think it just makes you laugh. It makes me cry. It's what the movie should be. That's a great, that's a great list. Yeah. So it's that's kind of my top three I think. For now.

Alex Ferrari 1:03:57
For now. Yeah, that's, that's 2016 You asked me this tomorrow. It may change of course, of course. Now, what's the most underrated film you've ever seen?

Jose Silerio 1:04:04
Ah, this is a tough one. I think a lot. I always look for, you know, kind of movies here. Every year. There's like one small movie that comes out that for me to say, um, I didn't even know that came out in the movie. As you know, I've watched it in DVD, but I loved it completely. Right. And they're sort of like they have that in the field. But although there are recognizable actors in literature, right, I think like, in 2013 There's like way way back with Oh, yeah. I like to lay back which is great movie that Steve Carell Toni Collette you know, great cast. There was a yes, in 2014. There's a small one. With the skeleton, the skeleton twins. This with Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig. I haven't seen that one. It's again, it's a small movie, right? It's very indie ish. But I just love how they build the characters and the relationship that they have. So you know, so it's goes for me every year I have kind of the one that they love that they felt like 2015 was 2000. That's 2015 for me. I was gonna say, but I was actually looked it up into happy to for just 2014 Again this, this is where I leave you. Okay, but you know, I think one big one that has photos in underrated it just I didn't even hear about it until somebody told me it was moon. Let me say moon.

Alex Ferrari 1:05:22
Oh, yeah, the song with some rock. Well, yeah, yeah.

Jose Silerio 1:05:26
I in terms of like, thriller, movies. It's just one of those projects. Wow, this really grabbed me. It was like, What the hell is going on here? Really just a nice thing about it. He just read the following one character. Yeah, some Rockwell Rockwell character, right? Then it's like, you're caught in it.

Alex Ferrari 1:05:45
You're in, you're in the web.

Jose Silerio 1:05:47
You can't get up in you know, like I said, I found out about it simply because somebody told me about it. And I said, Look, I had to watch it then to not tell everybody. Have you seen moon? It's?

Alex Ferrari 1:05:58
That's a brilliant. That's the brilliant thing about when you find a little gem like that. You're like, why hasn't someone else seen this? What's going on? Yeah. So So where can people find more about you and more about save the cat? Well save

Jose Silerio 1:06:10
the cat, this website, save the cat.com or Blake snyder.com. But it's the same, I think the easy one to remember, save the cat.com. And in there, the website talks about you know, things that we do workshops that we have, consultations, we do but it also like we also bring up beat sheets of movies that have come out, which is always a great resource for writers.

Alex Ferrari 1:06:34
You have some new ones now to fill up some of the most recent movies. Yeah,

Jose Silerio 1:06:37
yeah, yeah. And we have people who contribute into it. So so that's kind of the best way to keep up with them with Save the cat. And again, like I said, it's it's an ongoing thing. It's a way of keeping, you know, Blake's method in alive and updated all the time.

Alex Ferrari 1:06:57
Fantastic. Well, Jose, man, thank you so much. It's been a pleasure talking to you today. I hope you had fun.

Jose Silerio 1:07:03
All right. Thank you very much for having us, Alex.

Alex Ferrari 1:07:05
Seriously, guys, if you've not read this book, you've got to go out and get it save the cat 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 in the world of movies today. And in the actual blog post or the show notes at Indie film hustle.com forward slash BPS zero 14, 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. And guys, please head over to screenwriting podcast.com and sign up and subscribe to the bulletproof screenplay podcast on iTunes and leave us a five star review. It really helps the show out a lot and helps us get this information out into the world. So thank you so so much. And as always keep on writing no matter what. I'll talk to you soon.


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