BPS 102: Save the Cat! How to Write an Indie Screenplay with Salva Rubio

The impact that Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat® book series has had on Hollywood screenwriting is incalculable. Rarely does a book change the way screenwriters approach story and structure. In his best-selling book, Save the Cat! Goes to the Movies: The Screenwriter’s Guide to Every Story Ever Told, Blake Snyder provided 50 “beat sheets” to 50 films, mostly studio-made.

Now his student, screenwriter and novelist Salva Rubio applies Blake’s principles to 50 independent, auteur, European, and cult films (again with 5 beat sheets for each of Blake’s 10 genres in the book Save the Cat!® Goes to the Indies: The Screenwriters Guide to 50 Films from the Masters.

If you’re a moviegoer, you’ll discover a language to analyze film and understand how filmmakers can effectively reach audiences.

If you’re a writer, this book reveals how those who came before you tackled the same challenges you are facing with the films you want to write. Writing a “rom-com”? Check out the “Buddy Love” chapter for a “beat for beat” dissection of Before Sunrise, The Reader, Blue Is the Warmest Color, and more to see how Linklater and Krizan, David Hare, and Kechiche and Lacroix structured their films.

Scripting a horror film? Read the “Monster in the House” section and discover how 28 Days Later and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre are the same movie – and what you need to do to write a scary story that keeps audiences on the edge of their seats.

Want to execute a great mystery? Go to the “Whydunit” chapter and learn about the “dark turn” that’s essential to the heroes of The Big Lebowski, The French Connection, and Michael Clayton.

Want your protagonist to go up against an evil “institution”? Consider how Mamet handled Glengarry Glen Ross and Tarantino’s famed Pulp Fiction.

Writing a “Superhero” story? See how Susannah Grant structured Erin Brockovich, Anderson & Baumbach worked out Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Gilliam & Stoppard & McKeown laid the foundation for Brazil.

With these 50 beat sheets, you’ll see how “hitting the beats” creates stories that resonate the world over for these outstanding writers—and how you can follow in their footsteps.

Salva Rubio is a novelist, screenwriter, and author. He has been nominated at the Spanish Goya Awards for Best Animation Feature. As a graphic novel writer, some of his works have been published in America, including Monet, Itinerant of Light (nominated for an Eisner Award), and The Photographer of Mauthausen. Salva is an associate member of the WGAW (Writers Guild of America, West) and a member of the Academia de las Artes y las Ciencias Cinematográficas de España.

Enjoy my conversation with Salva Rubio.

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Alex Ferrari 0:49
I'd like to welcome the show Salva Rubio how you doing Salva?

Salva Rubio 2:32
Hi, Hi, Alex and Hi to all your viewers and listeners. We're doing fine here in Barcelona.

Alex Ferrari 2:40
Very cool. And I just I always love technology. I mean we're literally across the world from each other. And we're still able to do this it's still I don't take it for granted I'm old enough to know when this was not a thing

Salva Rubio 2:53
You know this is this an apocalypse going on outside? So let's just hope that there is not a solar storm or something like that. Why everything by 2020 has been crazy so far. So why not alien invasion and zombies

Alex Ferrari 3:08
Alien zombies alien invasion more people more people haven't risen up from the bottom yet from the core of the of the planet to take over. Atlantis hasn't risen. I mean, there's there's a few things that are yet to be done. But we still have two months.

Salva Rubio 3:23
We have a couple of months and 2020 so far has been exciting. But maybe it needs to go with a bank. No, no, no,

Alex Ferrari 3:31
No, no excitement, no police. We've had enough excitement this year to last us a decade, if not to. But we're here to talk about about save the cat in your book, save the cat goes goes indie. And I wanted to bring on the show because we've had we've had people on the show before to talk about Blake's Blake's world with save the cat his groundbreaking work. But I wanted to I wanted to bring you on because of the indie aspect of because a lot of my listeners are indie filmmakers. So before we get going on that, how did you get involved with save the cat?

Salva Rubio 4:03
Sure. Well, I mean, it all starts like in 2004. So I finished my university degree with theory's licenciatura. And then I decided that I wanted to work to work in films on how and I found a job in a production company which also has, well it was a half production. Also distribution also exhibition. It was like the most important in the production company, distribution company and so on in Spain. So I started reading scripts, just like so many people. Well, the lucky thing about my job is that I could read a lot of big names, scrape scripts, I mean, it wasn't just like spec scripts, you know, like people trying to get into the industry. We have show that but all of a sudden I had a David Cronenberg screenplay, or maybe Michael hanukkiah screenplay, or maybe you know, Danny Boyle screenplay, because they were, Europe is very common to show your screenplay around before the film is done so that you can start getting money, you know, as a foreign production company, you can get European money, but it has to be done in advance. And it was a funny thing, because I was reading these screenplays and wondering how the resulting feel, could be. But then a couple of years later, I would see that film, on the cinemas in the theaters. And I would be, you know, like, wow, from that screenplay to that movie. There's such a big distance, but in visual terms, the screenplay was there. And they've got me thinking, you know, like, what, so the screenplay can be a classic thing. And then the film can be avant garde thing. I think it was in 2000, maybe seven was I have a very bad memory. Blake Snyder came to Spain, actually, he had a gig in in London, I think he went through Barcelona. And I was lucky, lucky enough to be there with him to meet him and to take his seminar. That changed my whole view. Because I realized that there was, I was an aspiring writer, and I realized there was a method, there was a guideline, there was something that could help me in my learning.

Alex Ferrari 6:44
Very cool. And then can you go over a little bit about what save the cat is for people who are not familiar with it the cat?

Salva Rubio 6:52
Yeah, sure. Save the cat is one of them. Most, one of the best selling screenwriting books in history, I couldn't say is the best selling one or another, but is one of the most important. And he came and took the world by surprise in the mid 2000s. Because they were very good, nice, stylish books. They were all a bit serious, a bit academic. And Blake, he was a comedy writer, he viewed quite a funny book, about screenplay, and screenwriting is structure full of interesting, funny, even childish terms. But the result was that it was a very easy to follow method, based on 12 steps, the breaks neither be cheap. And well, it became a bestseller. Because for students and also for executives, it became like a pattern of how a film should feel.

Alex Ferrari 7:52
And can you go over those those 12 beats the Blake's beats and kind of talk about them a little bit?

Salva Rubio 7:57
Yeah, well, I can try by memory. But first of all, you have the opening image, the opening image is the view of the world before the adventure happens, you know, there's a world with a systemic problem, we still don't know how to fix it, but it's there somewhere. Then we have the setup, which is the moment in which we come to meet our main character is usually two or three scenes, watching him or her in his everyday life is to get to know him or her. This point is another bit called the themes theater, in which another character secondary character, maybe a mentor, tells the main character, the protagonist, the theme, so you should learn is, and we have the catalyst, which is like the inciting incident, you know, halfway through the first actual thing happens that pushes the story forward. And then we have something called the debate, which is a few scenes still in the first act, in which the main character tries to avoid that adventure, and thinks of ways to avoid that. But obviously, that's not going to happen, he has to go this is so we have played called the break into act two, which is the first choice and we enter act two, we have a very long act as everyone who's trying to write the Scooby knows. But Blake called the first part of this second. He called it the fun and games. And that is certainly a very important concept because the fun and games section is where the writer has fun and games no fatalities is telling a horror story to tell and is not going to have any fun. But this is that where the poster moments are where the trailer moments are. This is where you show what the people came to see is what Blake called the problem. of the premise, then we have the mid point, which is a very important bit like a kind of tempo holds the picture together. And we have victory, which the character feels Oh, so this adventure is easier than I thought, I don't have to change at all. But then we have default defeat, which are these the evil characters take notice of the hero and start attacking him or her. So we entered the second part of act two. And we are in what Blake called the bad guys close scene. As the name is surface, planing, as the name says is where the main character has to become a warrior, he has to become someone to defend, depending on which hand gener we can be in a horror film, and he has to fight the monster, he can be in a film about grieving, and he has to confront his feelings, then come three, so important bits to finish the second part of the second act, like he used to call them, they are called or is lost. She's like this belly of the whale moment that writers know very well. But then he had something called the dark night of the soul, which is a time for sadness, a time for regret, because the main character couldn't change, or didn't know how to change. And then we have what Blake called a break into Act Three, which is a moment of illumination, a moment of precision, the main character wants to change, but still doesn't know how to change. So we have the x three, and the x three, here's something cool. In his third book, like revise five beats more, which I can say, so they're not actually, we can say they're actually 17. So in our three, had the preparation where people, main characters are heroes prepare for the duel, then the duel start, then at the middle of the duel, there's going to be a reversal, something that I like to call the it's a trap moment. And then we have the duel per se, and 70s and 80s. They fight each other. The protagonists have some sort of final illumination like Luke Skywalker theory and Obi Wan, say use the Force. And then well, usually the bad guy is defeated. And then we have the final image in which we use as a mirror, we have the opening image and the closest image. Those should be different. We should see that song has changed in that universe.

Alex Ferrari 12:47
Whoa, that was amazing. Is that about? They think you think it is? That off the top of your head? I don't know what you're talking about. You don't have good memory.

Salva Rubio 12:59
So I guess it's kind of my head that I wasn't sure if I could pull it off. But it happened.

Alex Ferrari 13:05
It's hard to it's hard wired. It's hard wired. And now you've seen a lot of I'm assuming from from writing your book, you did a tremendous amount of research watching a ton of independent films. What is the biggest mistake you see in independent film?

Salva Rubio 13:19
Hmm, that's an interesting question. I mean, independent film, as you know, is a universe a different universe, per se. And okay, my biggest insight is this. People usually say that there are two kinds of screenplays First, the literary screenplays, so to speak, and then the technical screenplay. Some one is more like, you know, for the screenwriter, and the other one is for the director, and I believe that I think you need a sales a screenplay, and a shooting script. Right. And also different because many people try to write the film of their dreams. But it's sometimes so different. So we are so intense are so on a moroto

Alex Ferrari 14:13
On marketable.

Salva Rubio 14:15
Marketable. Yeah, that's the word. So investors and all kinds of people who must like it, they they become scared. So I would say, give us a good screenplay clear that I can visualize that feels classy. That doesn't feel like too novelty. That doesn't feel like too strange or weird. And then at some point, during the development process, speaking with people with the money in your pocket, then you can realize your vision.

Alex Ferrari 14:49
Okay. Now, can we go over I want to go over a couple of the genres that you that you kind of spoke about in your book, which I thought I loved the names of these. So Did the how to save a cat approaches the specific genres. So monster in the house?

Salva Rubio 15:06
Yeah, well, let me start by saying that the generators are really useful. I mean, these are an individual like in sort of invented them is what we could call universally storylines. And every story fits one of them. So there's like a kind of short talk to understand each other. I mean, normal gingers are like westerns, which are movies with Cowboys, usually, or horror movies, movies with a monster so but sometimes you have a Western, there's a guy with a heart, but can be a horror story can be a comedy. It can be, you know, it's a problem because traditional gingers don't tell you the story. They just speak about the aesthetics. And that is Berlin. When do you need someone to picture in their mind your screenplay? So the Blake Snyder generous, they tell the story. So monster in the house, for example, is usually horror look always horrible is usually horror. And what is cool about the generous is that Blake, yeah. Is that for this generous to work? You need a few elements. And if those elements are not there, well, it's going to feel incomplete. You know? So for example, monster in the house, as the name says, have a monster with a supernatural creature. Do you need a house? Do you need people locked inside a place to neither maybe a mansion? Maybe a hospital? Or maybe a country? Like in 20 days later?

Alex Ferrari 16:48
In the 2020? Or 20 days later? Yeah.

Salva Rubio 16:51
London 20 days later. Yeah. So then you need a couple things more like for example, you need a sin. People need to be served, what the what is happening to them. And then you see to have enough elements for a page to come before refer to her as a woman Jenner that can help people understand your film, but it's things you can do, you can throw in the elements that are going to make that story original, like you're writing a slasher film. Well, we know they're all the same, but you can say so this is a slasher, with this new Monster of inventing or in this new setting. There's no one no one has ever done. And I think it's a way to focus really soon in those original points your needs your script needs to have.

Alex Ferrari 17:45
So kind of like alien was obviously a monster in the house. But it was the first time that anyone had done it in a spaceship before. That's it. Yeah. Now, the Golden Fleece. How does? What does that genre?

Salva Rubio 18:01
Well, the Golden Fleece are basically wrote movies. They basically wrote movies and Golden Fleece is an element in Greek mythology. The whole Golden Fleece was something like a lamp. I'm not sure

Alex Ferrari 18:16
if it was a lamb. It was a lamb like, thing.

Salva Rubio 18:20
Yeah, skin, lambskin skin. skin was magical. And it could turn anyone into a powerful person. But it was guarded by a dragon in a very distant part of the Mediterranean. And you have to physically go there. So these are the most basic stories like in Joseph Campbell's hero's journey, which hero has to go somewhere and get something to be happier to be healthier for his for his community. But this can be for example, this great film by David Lynch. This straight story. You know, it was about an old man going in a tractor. Yeah, America. But that's it. It's a movie after all. So we also need a few elements. We need a road network sampaoli in in The Wizard of Oz, the road is what the yellow brick road. But in this film I just mentioned, alleys are a little missing. Chinese away from Albuquerque to Los Angeles. Do you need a team, the team is the people that are going with you or that you are going to find in the way for example, in Little Miss Sunshine is the family but it's important to see that the family of Little Miss Sunshine and the companions of Dorothy in Wizard of Oz, they're kind of similar. One of them is a heart or one is the brain, blue is the wheel and so on. And the funny thing about These Jenner is that Junaid wells Blake code wrote apple at the end. Do you need some sort of disillusionment or deception at the end? Every character that arrives to the end of the physical journey will find news. We'll find that that which they were looking for, like for example, the Wizard of Oz, I want to go home when you realize that the Wizard of Oz is a fraud. Fake and well, you cannot go home using his power. You need to go home by your own means. That's what this this is sorry. Sorry about now,

Alex Ferrari 20:39
Dude with a problem. So another cool one.

Salva Rubio 20:43
Yeah, well do with a problem is basically thrillers, and action films, do a problem. As you can see, all of these have like mythological origin. In fact, in the city catalog, we have been publishing a few articles about how these generals have their origin in mythological tales. And in truth, a problem. It could be the Hercules story. He was a normal guy. He wouldn't have been he was special, but all of a sudden, he was tested by the gods. So dude, we are rolling out those stories. Like for example, guy, Hart, McLean, and Hercules they're the same guy. They are. Ordinary guys pursues extraordinary art. And well, they need to find their own strength and their own power they need to believe in themselves to to defeat the gods themselves. So Well, that's a really intense gener

Alex Ferrari 21:53
So it's onra like that a lot of the examples you just gave are very big movies. big big movie. So in the indie world Are there examples? Because dude with a problem like diehard for indies is a little rough, though it can't be done. I guess if you're like in a school somewhere. The school is taken over by terrorists. You're the kid. So I'm just writing a story right now. And you're you're the kid is john McClane. It's basically home alone. But but on an indie budget. Are there any examples of like specifically, like due to the the problem? Or the Golden Fleece or monster in the house? Obviously, most horror films are monsters, low budget, but like low budget, more indie stuff?

Salva Rubio 22:33
Yeah, sure. In in, in the book in civic art goes to the Indies. There's 50 films that we go, we analyzed. And there's 10 genders, five films for each gender, and all of them are independent. Like, for example, let me just tell you the five we have a monster in the house. We have 28 days later, we have the lives of others, which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. We have the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Yeah, we have the Yeah. And The Blair Witch Project. Of course, what's so cheap, you know, a couple of cameras and, and then we have funny games, which again, is only one location and Golden Fleece, we have a Little Miss Sunshine. We have old brother reservoir rocks, the strange story which is mentioned and the full moon, people may see for Monty Lesnar, a rogue film in this category, you also have the role to perfection films in which people get better doing something you know.

Alex Ferrari 23:44
So no, so like so another genre that that I saw in the book was the superhero genre. Now a lot of people think when they think superhero, they think Marvel they think DC they think Superman or Spider Man or x men are one of these big budget things. How can you apply the superhero genre in the indie world?

Salva Rubio 24:05
Well, the funny thing is that superheroes existed before they kept superheroes, you know, as a superhero in musical terms. It was a different person with special abilities. It could be physical abilities, like for example, Achilles, he was invulnerable, you know, no one could bullets or arrows couldn't hurt him. That's a superhero in my book, you know, he had his own kryptonite, which was the Achilles heel. So this kind of characters have been around, they're always in. This can be normal people so to speak, their powers may not be evident. their powers may not be like flying or having x rays in their eyes. But charisma can be a superpower. Like any politician can tell you, or the ability to inspire others, right in our list. We have for example, Erin Brockovich. As you remember, it was an indie. And it was a film by Steven Soderbergh. And it was a woman that was she defeated a big company out of her willpower, not of her love for other people. That is also a superhero. The others we have is fantastic, Mr. Fox, you know how you remember how he became the leader of his pack. We also have a rubber seal, I turn yellow, and also the Elephant Man, because the super hero Jenner, my favorite thing about it is that people with, you know, underdogs, and people which are ignored by society, they are really powerful because they know how to survive in very harsh environments, like the normal world for you and me, is not really dangerous. But for many people with disabilities, for example, there are my world is a challenge, go wave. That's why they are so brave. And so that's why we have the Elephant Man. And we have a proper comic book superhero in this list, which also was an indie. I'm sure you remember it. We made it was the crow. Sure.

Alex Ferrari 26:25
Yeah. And the Crow was wasn't in the in the production. Yeah, and I'm going to be having the director of that. That film on the show very, very soon. Alex Ferrari is Yeah, he's I'm super excited to have him on the on the indie film hustle podcast, because I love the crow. I thought the Crow was it's a masterpiece. I mean, obviously, it was tragic. What happened with Brandon Lee in this and all of that, but the movie itself is it's almost an anti superhero film, you

Salva Rubio 26:57
know what I mean? But the comic book was great. I mean, if you can read it, it's great. But also the people kept their hearing you they will realize that the people that are watching this they will realize I'm I'm I know him. So the Chroma middle has failed the 90s Oh, sure.

Alex Ferrari 27:20
Oh, yeah, that soundtrack Stone Temple Pilots, Nine Inch Nails. Oh, good.

Salva Rubio 27:24
Fonterra

Alex Ferrari 27:25
Good stuff. Good. I think Smashing Pumpkins was on there as well. I think there was a song by Smashing Pumpkins. It was amazing. It was a great, great soundtrack. It was just at the same time I was in college. So I was watching. I was watching that movie and listen to that soundtrack constantly in the 90s. But yeah, and then I'd like to thinking about superhero as well. Like someone like Sherlock Holmes. He has a superhero power, which is his intellect. So a lot of times the superhero genre, even in the indie world can be someone who's just smarter than everybody else, or has this like he's excellent at a specific thing that nobody else is they are a high achievers are, are their abilities in a one area is so far beyond everybody else that that is considered a superhero. Correct?

Salva Rubio 28:09
Correct. Also, because most superheroes at some point, are rejected by society. I mean, the lesson in the classic superhero, and I'm talking about made, especially the lesson is that many of them will be rejected because they are too powerful or because people are envious of their power or because they inspire people. So they are dangerous. I mean, like, for example, a film like Malcolm X for candy, or films about Che Guevara, those are films about political leaders, but they can be told as a superhero story because they have power, which is inspiring people and leaving them to freedom and that is dangerous for the bad guys

Alex Ferrari 28:55
Or the establishment if, if it goes against the establishment, that's a great I never thought about Gandhi and Michael max as a superheroes, but I guess that is a broad definition of what a superhero is, which is anybody who has an ability that nobody else has, and makes them special. Hence, superhero superhero. Yeah. Not another genre loved. And I'd love to hear your take on it is when the full triumphs, which is a great indie. It could be a great indie genre.

Salva Rubio 29:32
Yeah, he's really into material. I mean, the full childfund is another story that has its roots in the mythical past. But it's it's good material, especially for comedy because the fall triumphant is basically the story of the the village for I think that's the also the name in English and is about their character, that underdog which everyone just ignores because Okay, he's a silly or hero See the world as the rest of the people, or? Well, I mean Helios looks or feels like, full. But I love these general because, you know, once you start with that word, mostly stories, you start with a character, which needs to change the neither a transformation. So some of them start being like a bit, let's say wrong or bad, a bit stupid, a bit evil, whatever, they have a flaw, and they need to work on that flaw. But fools in firms full are mostly well meant they are mostly good people. So they cannot just have a normal arc, like our characters could imply for them to become worse. So, in this in this dinner, the kind of change we're aiming for is adaptation, the need to adapt to the world without losing their inner light, you know, without losing that which makes them nice and special.

Alex Ferrari 31:06
So like Forrest Gump is a good example of of that, like he Forrest Gump doesn't change. But he had gaps from when he's a boy all the way to the end, being a multi millionaire, ex Vietnam vet Medal of Honor winner, and all the other amazing things that happens to that guy, but he does adapt to the world. But he never changes he, he doesn't get harsher. He doesn't change his inner light. Can you give us a couple of examples of indies in that genre? Sure.

Salva Rubio 31:38
I need to say also that the book is called civico goes to the Indies. And it also includes European fields, which are technically indies and Altera films in general. So that's why in this category we have for example, the King's speech,

Alex Ferrari 31:54
Which was appealing was it was a it was a Europe was a minute, it was a European that wasn't a European movie, was it?

Salva Rubio 31:59
Yeah. Yeah. It was very interesting.

Alex Ferrari 32:02
Yeah. But it was independent is a loose term with that, because it won the Oscar looked fantastic.

Salva Rubio 32:09
Do you mean that it was Yeah, it was crazy. But I think production wise, I mean, we were very careful. I don't remember the details. But I think we were very careful to select fields that would fit in the band. Okay. Otherwise, what

Alex Ferrari 32:23
Considering can it's not a studio project, to say the least, and is definitely an indie story, to say the least. Because that's not something the studio would pick up. They might pick it up for distribution after it's made. I think that's what happened with King's speech. Do you have some other examples?

Salva Rubio 32:39
Yes, sure. For example, life is beautiful. We also won an Academy Award. Sure. It's an Italian film. And also, there was a film that made huge waves in the past, but is it's been like sort of forgotten, but it's a great film is called the artist.

Alex Ferrari 32:57
Oh, yeah. The one that was the one that won the Oscar?

Salva Rubio 33:01
Yeah. Yeah, yes, it was the black and white film about sound film and siren film, and how our character had to adapt. And we have a couple more we have Boogie Nights, which is these Well, before in the in the poor industry in the 70s. They also must understand us a terrific film. And we have a special category for Rs film, which is the dark for his people which are playing for, but they want to take advantage of others. And that is much point. Oh, yeah.

Alex Ferrari 33:44
Yeah. And that's Yeah, that's the the dark fool is interesting, a concept as well. There's so many different and in the book, you go through all these different movie examples, which are great. So you really can kind of connect the genre with actual films that you can kind of start applying to in your scripts. Which brings me to my next question. When a screenwriter is working on a screenplay, specifically aiming it at an independent film market? Should they be thinking about budget? Should they be thinking about how it's going to get produced? Or should they just kind of go wild?

Salva Rubio 34:19
I think if it's if it's your first film, you should have the budget into consideration, obviously, because they will trust you if you can make a cheap film. And it works and it looks great. It says that you're a good general in this fight in this battle. It says that with very few elements, you can make a worthy thing. You're not afraid one of the very good film in this regard, is let me check because sometimes I forget the names. I'm sure your listeners remember pie. Yeah, first of all, Darren Aronofsky Which was grainy and dark. And it was so cheap. But that made it so special. There's no film alike. So I think if you aim for, what can I do with a little money? How can I make this look special, not maybe great because some people put all their money in trying to make the film look professional. With that same make look special. It could look different as a director, and show your identity and show us what you can do with what you have.

Alex Ferrari 35:37
But also, I think that takes a level of, of not only bravery, but also of someone who's extremely comfortable in their own skin. Because I know as when I was coming up, you try to emulate other directors, you try to emulate other storytellers, other screenwriters, because you're afraid of your own voice, you maybe haven't found it yet. You haven't developed it yet. And you're afraid to put yourself out there completely, wholly. But these examples of you that you've talked about many of those screenwriters and directors, like pi is a fantastic example. He was a young director and just came out and did exactly what he wanted in a very, like there's still no film look that looks like pie. Pie was this grainy black and white 16 millimeter, high kinetic energy, wonderful story myth mysticism in it. It was an amazing introductory film, and but it's, you could just see the bravery in it. I mean, Reservoir Dogs, obviously, it's a great example of that as well. I mean, look at you know, and, and his writing and how he shot it and what he did. It's, it's remarkable, but I think you you do need to have a sense of comfortability as an artist, I think that goes for any artist, right? In any genre. And any, any, any any craft, whether it's musician, whether it's art, painting, writing,

Salva Rubio 37:02
Yeah, I mean, sometimes you should temptation to say, well, maybe if I don't do what I like, and I do what they like, maybe I can have a shot at the rate. But, you know, I think life's very short. And sometimes you don't get many chances. So I would be happier with with shooting the film I like, and I can be proud of when I can show my family. And I can say to my friends, this is what this is sorry, I've been meaning to sell for all this time. And if that is the last thing, and the last film, I should, okay, so be it. But I'm proud, you know. But if I just go with what they want, I am going to be restless. And I'm going to be you know, sort of unhappy maybe. So, some people don't have the choice. And some people do go and you know, they they shoot something they are hired to shoot and then they go on to make their own stuff. And that is great also. But if I had to choose, I would always choose. I'll do what I want, and then see what they want.

Alex Ferrari 38:12
Exactly. And it's it's a difficult path regardless, as a as a screenwriter, as a director, especially in the indie space. Do you have any advice on getting your screenplay, your independent film, screenplay produced, anything that you can kind of put in there, or present ation, or whatever? Anything that you could do as a writer to help you have a better shot of actually getting produced?

Salva Rubio 38:36
Well, I mean, the world right now, as we were seeing the world is crazy. It's crazy, in a good sense. I grew up I mean, I grew up professionally reading all these screenwriting books from the 70s, and the 80s, and the 90s. And they all said the same thing. Right, the script in this way, and then you print it and then there's a three punch thing. And then you send me with an introduction. And that is out. I mean, that is God and not valid anymore. So we're writing history, we are finding new ways to do it. So I always say if you have a mobile phone in your pocket, should the film shoot the damn film tomorrow, get your friends and do it and then show it in YouTube or whatever. Because for me right now the difference is not making that big film that will put you on the map is making a ton of films, short films, episodes, art, whatever, get you to get into the industry, have friends that will help you with your films do will help them with their friends and then this guy knows one guy and then he puts you in touch and things happen outside your room and things happiness I home and you need to meet as many people as you can help them as much as you can. I think that the gears start moving. And then at some point, you have a chance. But if you try to do everything by yourself, what does it mean to be difficult?

Alex Ferrari 40:12
Very, very, very much. Trust me, I've done it myself. So it's not that easy to do. Now, what's up? What's up? What's next for you? What are you working on?

Salva Rubio 40:23
Right now, I just finished a new draft of an animation film and doing for it's a co production is a production company, New York and in Spain. So they are trying to build you know, this project, animation or young our thing plus, we could say that, and also I'm doing a lot of graphic novel stuff, which, in in the US is mostly superheroes in the comic books and graphic novels. But here, we have many more Jenner's if I may say, so I just have a graphic novel released in the US by the US Naval Institute, and its concentration camps story is a real story about the Spaniards that were in Nazi concentration camps, which is something that not many people know. And it's about the Gracie plan. Some of them of them have to steal pictures of all what was happening in the camp and take them out for the world to know. They do. It is not really a woman's story. Well, it's fascinating. So I invite you to read the photographer of my 1000 is called Ivan, US Naval Institute. And that's the last thing I released in America. Very cool.

Alex Ferrari 41:47
Now I'm gonna ask you a few questions. I asked all my guests. What are three screenplays every screenwriter should read?

Salva Rubio 41:54
Oh my god. You know first name pops in my head always is John Cameron.

Alex Ferrari 41:59
James Cameron redacted said Yeah.

Salva Rubio 42:02
James James Cameron. He writes so well. So I would say anything by James Cameron. Like for example, aliens. Could be great. Little Miss Sunshine. It's hidden hidden piece.

Alex Ferrari 42:14
He didn't do that one. Oh, you do? James Cameron didn't do aliens. But little Mr. Johnson. Other one?

Salva Rubio 42:19
Yeah, that's another one.

Alex Ferrari 42:21
I was gonna say I don't remember James Cameron. Because that would I would actually watch James Cameron's A Little Miss Sunshine. That would be amazing.

Salva Rubio 42:28
It would be a different phone as he called. Little, big dark night.

Alex Ferrari 42:35
And there'll be some sort of 3d animal or creature?

Salva Rubio 42:39
No, I didn't watch another one. Yeah. Broly. You know, I've been the first Indiana Jones are some films like Gauss, because they are straight to the point funny scenes quick to read. Okay, Yes, they are. Hollywood script, but why not? Anyway, you know, each year we have, we're lucky because the academy publishes only screenplays. And there's a few indies in there. So that's also to take into consideration. And just let me say, one, one more. It's a more love by Michael haymaking. Because it will break any expectation is of 67 page script that results in a film of 127 minutes. So you know people that say no, it's one page one minute. Well, not always.

Alex Ferrari 43:40
Not always. That's not a that's not a script to look at proper formatting. But it does the job, but it does the job.

Salva Rubio 43:50
Because what Yeah, good.

Alex Ferrari 43:51
So what advice would you give a screenwriter wanting to break into the business today?

Salva Rubio 43:57
Let's say write a ton of stuff. Let's say don't write 123 screenplays out thing you're down and your talent is there? No, right one every two months, or every three months or every four months but right one finish another? Keep making friends. And somehow if you have 10 screenplays is easier to make you that if you have to.

Alex Ferrari 44:24
And where can people find out more about save the cat and your book?

Salva Rubio 44:28
Well, this blog is save the cat.com weekly there's articles and new beat sheets. So if you're interested, there's a ton of research material there. And my own website is sour Rubio dot info. Just like my name. Well, there's this stuff I've been polishing lately.

Alex Ferrari 44:50
Very cool Salva man, thank you so much for coming on the show. It's been It was a wonderful talking indie save the cat. I'm a fan of save the cat. I love it. I talked to everybody and I talked to all the different kinds of story systems and I just find that they all are going to the same place. We're all trying to tell good stories at the end of the day, so I do appreciate you coming on man and sharing sharing your knowledge with us.

Salva Rubio 45:16
Thank you so much, Alex. I'm thanks for everyone for listening. And you know, don't give up. Keep writing keep shooting to make it.

Alex Ferrari 45:25
I want to thank Salva for coming on the show and sharing his knowledge with the tribe today. Thank you so much Salva. If you want to get links to anything we spoke about in this episode, including links on how to get the book, head over to the shownotes at bulletproofscreenwriting.tv/102. And guys next week, I have a big surprise coming to the bulletproof screenwriting tribe, so stay tuned. Thank you so much for listening, guys. As always, keep on writing no matter what. I'll talk to you soon.


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