Spent today pitching a movie never to be filmed

READING SCREENWRITING BOOKS IS GOOD FOR NOVELISTS, TOO

It counts as research.

I’m reading – rereading in many cases – Blake Snyder’s three Save The Cat books.

These are well-known screenwriter tools, as is the Dramatica I use for plotting and character development.

The many similarities between the different forms of presenting a story allow significant crossover: a story is a story is a story. Each form is also very different from the others, because once they go out into the real world, a book and a play and a movie script are implemented differently.

But plotting Pride’s Children: NETHERWORLD was not the reason for the reading. Plotting is all finished, and in the scene I’m working on right now, a movie is being pitched to one of our actors. I’m using the device of a pitch meeting to get all the information needed to understand this particular movie into the story in the most efficient way – without seeming like an info-dump.

Isn’t writing a whole movie a bit much as backdrop for a novel?

Of course it is, but you know me: if it’s going to be in the plot (and, with actors, you’re going to have movies in the plot), and I can give it verisimilitude (the appearance of actually being real), I can make you believe the one or two not real points in the rest of the plot.

Machiavellian, you say? Why, thank you.

But I’m not the only one to do things like this – heck, people in fantasies invent whole worlds and religions and ecosystems.

What attracted me to the idea is the fact that Snyder says, of the pitch:

“Poster. Logline. Simple story spine. Eager and inspired telling of the tale. Ten minutes, tops. That’s the pitch.” (p. 123, Save The Cat Strikes Back)

Which fits perfectly into my scheme to sketch out enough of this particular movie to last for the first half of NETHERWORLD, without taking up that much space in the book. After all, I’m writing a novel, not a movie.

I can trust that most people who read have seen plenty of movies, and, given the highpoints, will see a movie where there is only a ghost of one. My readers want to see people working (I hope), but they have no interest AT ALL in seeing the enormous amount of work and time it takes to produce a major motion picture.

Blake also says:

“Regardless of how you organize your story, once you’ve finished your pitch… shut up! The first one to talk loses. If you give into temptation and can’t help spewing more stuff after you’re said ‘The End,’ you are indulging in a pitching no-no called Selling Past the Close.

Shutting up

I’m going to follow his advice. What do you think of it?


*** Pride’s Children: PURGATORY is on sale for 0.99 until 1/30/17***


Thanks to Quozio for easy quote images.

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9 thoughts on “Spent today pitching a movie never to be filmed

  1. Janna G. Noelle

    I could see myself doing something like that (writing an actual movie pitch for a novel that features one). I can’t really she how you could avoid it. But then, as a writer of historical fiction, I’m all too familiar with how much of what’s behind the curtain ever sees the light of day (which is why I have to save all those random historical factoids and details that don’t make it into the book for dinner parties and phone conversations with my mom).

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    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      I’m not sure 2005 qualifies as ‘historical,’ but it is my aim for it to be as real as possible, so I work on the details. I know better than to dump unnecessary details into a story, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t load it up if I wanted to.

      I save them for blog posts and the like. And, of course, when dialogue happens, it’s in that matrix, which helps me choose the precise words.

      Part of the fun.

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  2. marianallen

    You’re so right — there’s a lot of unsavory messing about that goes into making the sausage that is a book/story/screenplay. You shim up the plot holes and file off the rough parts, and are both relieved and irritated when people say you make it look seamless and effortless. lol

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  3. lgould171784

    I like the moviemaking details in “Pride’s Children: Purgatory.” I’m also trying to write a novel about the making of a movie. Hopefully, your book will inspire me to put in more tangible details.

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    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      I do, too – like baseball in your books, the world of Hollywood and the making of movies are an essential component of the story, and a reason I chose this one to tell.

      I have done a TON of research – and am letting only the tiniest bit of that show.

      Liked by 1 person

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