Screenwriter’s Bible

Rob Harding

Active Member
Running through the final tweaks to my pilot and polishing off a series Bible at the moment.

With these final tweaks I’ve been making sure to just lay out a central screenwriting tenet: save the cat. You’ve probably heard of the phrase and the book it comes from. Essentially the rough summation of the principle is that, when introducing your lead character, have them perform a humanising act so we connect with them i.e saving a cat from a tree. It doesn’t actually have to be a positive or heroic act, it could be deplorable, but it ought to show something of the character’s humanity early on. We ‘get’ them in that moment.

Another way of putting it it would be to give your character a ‘dog and trumpet’. That is, show them been kind to something and show they have a skill. These let the audience connect from the outset, but can also direct and inform your character’s later motivations and actions.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
Running through the final tweaks to my pilot and polishing off a series Bible at the moment.

With these final tweaks I’ve been making sure to just lay out a central screenwriting tenet: save the cat. You’ve probably heard of the phrase and the book it comes from. Essentially the rough summation of the principle is that, when introducing your lead character, have them perform a humanising act so we connect with them i.e saving a cat from a tree. It doesn’t actually have to be a positive or heroic act, it could be deplorable, but it ought to show something of the character’s humanity early on. We ‘get’ them in that moment.

Another way of putting it it would be to give your character a ‘dog and trumpet’. That is, show them been kind to something and show they have a skill. These let the audience connect from the outset, but can also direct and inform your character’s later motivations and actions.
I don't know if you have had a look at our S05E04 outline and/or script, but that is probably the most clear use of that trope we've used in recent memory.
 

Rob Harding

Active Member
Sent a final draft of my series bible and full episode one script over to supervisor today. Will hear feedback but largely that project is put to bed now. Next will be working on a horror feature script that is far more personal and a much looser adaptation of far more basic source material.

Future learnings I pick up will perhaps be less Tolkien relevant but may still have some interesting nuggets I can pass on
 
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