I’ve been re-reading Save the Cat. When it first came out it was new and revolutionary in its specifics. Now it gets trash-talked as the system ruining movies. I call bullshit. The more I read through it the more it is a structure within which you can do anything. What makes a bad movie from this system is judging the worth of a screenplay based entirely on does it hit these beats exactly. So far nothing I see in the structure demands bad writing, bad characters, disjointed and awkward dialogue, no rhythm and balance to the whole.
The Nutshell Technique rings true. Too. Neither contradicts the other, and I think if I can get the Cat’s Cradle of tension working for the protagonist through Nutshell, on top of hitting the rhythm and structure from Save the Cat, that would be enough.
I made a board to play with that has BOTH structures on it.
I’m pretty sure that’s enough to get a workable story. Maybe even a great story. I figure that’s a start, and then from that I can re-write and tweak.