[dc]I[/dc] wish I had read Save the Cat: The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need by Blake Snyder before I started my last screenplay! Not only would it have saved the cat, it would have saved me from myself!
Hopefully, I’m going to save you a lot of time by encouraging you to buy this excellent book. I’ve read a lot of screenplay books, most of them written by people who teach about writing screenplays, but who actually don’t.
I’ve just finished Synder’s book and I absolutely loved it.
First, Blake Snyder is an actual screenwriter who’s sold well over a dozen screenplays. Remember Disney’s Blank Check? Snyder is dubbed “one of Hollywood’s most successful spec screenwriters.” Every idea, tip, and practical helping of advice on screenwriting is the stuff he practices day in and day out.
Next, here’s what you’ll find when you crack open Snyder’s book…again, I’ve read plenty of screenwriting books. Many were heavy on theory and laden with plenty of movie examples, but Snyder gets right to it. As I read, I was a bit torn…should I keep reading or should I put down the dang book and get to work?
- The four elements of every winning logline. Your logline must be the master of your screenplay. It is the True North for everything you write.
- The seven immutable laws of screenplay physics. Here, Synder’s work is completely original. His advice is immensely helpful. Hadn’t read it anywhere else.
- Why Your Hero must serve your Idea. Closely aligned to the logline, if your Hero isn’t active, he ain’t a Hero!
- Mastering the Beats. This chapter was filled with practical advice. So many screenplays fail because of bad structure. Structure! Structure! Structure!
- Creating the “Perfect Beast” by using The Board. 40 notecards to bang out your movie beats before you start writing. (If I’d only done this ahead of time!)
- How to get back on track with proven rules for script repair. I had almost given up on one of my scripts, but with Snyder’s help, now I have hope!
Not only is Snyder’s book filled with wisdom and great advice, his writing style is fun and engaging. Based upon what I’ve read in Save the Cat!, I now know that I’ll be able to cut at least six months off my future scripts (I’m not joking!).
This book motivated me to come up with more story ideas as well as doing the hard work of fleshing out my characters and story beats up front. Now, I better get back to writing…
Questions: If you’ve read Save the Cat, what did you like about it? If not, what other screenwriting books have you found helpful?
I’d love your feedback and comments!
You can also check out My Top 5 Screenwriting Books in the Art, Life & Faith Store.
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