Featured Book of the Month
We've always been big supporters of the late Blake Snyder’s "Save the Cat" books - now, here's a new one we'd like to bring to your attention. Though Blake passed away in August of last year, we are lucky enough to have this one last work, which focuses on answers to questions commonly asked at his beat sheet workshops and seminars.
The book covers:
-The 7 warning signs you might have a great idea - or not
-2 sure-fire templates for can’t-miss loglines
-The difference between structure and formula
-The Transformation Machine that allows you to track you’re hero’s growth step-by-step
-The 5 questions to keep your story’s spine straight
-The 5-Point Finale to finish any story
-The Save the Cat Greenlight Checklist that gets to the heart of every development issue
-The right way to hear notes, deal with problematic producers, and dive into the rewrite with the right attitude
-Why and when an agent will appear
-How to discover the potential for greatness in any story
-How to avoid panic, doubt, and self-recrimination…and what it takes to succeed and dare to achieve your dreams
Sounds like good stuff huh? Well, it is. These topics are all addressed with Blake’s relentless enthusiasm and infectious positivity. His books are as inspirational to struggling writers as they are essential tools for problem-solving.
The book mainly stands on its own, and makes sense regardless of whether or not you've read the two prior "Save The Cat" books -there are still, however, references to things like his "15 point beat sheet". And since this item is not described and the beats not summarized, those not familiar with this paradigm might be a bit lost. Having the original Save the Cat book at hand is essential.
But that's okay, because you should have read it by now. If not, run, don’t walk, and pick up a copy! It can help any writer effectively structure their screenplay. And for those already familiar with the 15 point beat sheet, you’ll be thrilled at how this book gives you shortcuts on how to expand those 15 beats into 40 scenes to fully flesh out your story.
Another important focus of the book - the very first chapter, and for good reason - is the discussion of how to determine if your movie’s core idea is a good one or not, and whether or not it's viable for the marketplace. We often read screenplays which, while perfectly decent as scripts, don't quite have a compelling enough core idea. Hollywood is a tough place - and when dealing with writers with no track record, they only have time for the best, most high-concept ideas they can find. Something to think about, before you decide whether or not to spend the next six months, two years, or more, of your life writing, then rewriting, a screenplay that just has no hope of sparking interest with jaded entertainment professionals.
Screenwriting books that focus on formatting, structure, and other techniques of writing craft number in the hundreds. So any book that effectively provides advice to writers on how to deal with the business side of being a writer are welcome. This book also covers topics like when and how to switch agents, whether or not an agent or a manager is your best choice for representation, how to work with a partner, and how to be a screenwriter outside of Los Angeles.
We selfishly hope that Blake had a lot more books completed and filed away prior to his passing - and we know we're not alone. If this is not the case, then we take comfort in the fact that his legacy - three great books, a solid beat sheet paradigm, along with the software and the continuing operations of his franchise -will inspire and serve the needs of screenwriters for a long time to come.
StoryPros Verdict: Recommended
Save The Cat! Strikes Back by Blake Snyder
More Trouble for Screenwriters to Get Into...and Out Of
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