I’ve been meaning to do more with Blake Snyder’s book ‘Save the Cat’ than just play around with beat-sheeting movies, so I’ve decided to make it into a weekly blog series. Hopefully, that will keep me at it.
The idea is, one chapter per week or so, I’ll read, discuss some of my favorite bits, post my answers to the chapter exercises and so on, and invite questions or comments from the peanut gallery.
I’ll also be starting another ‘chapter a week’ series next week for Wednesdays, that’ll be a YA fantasy novel released in hardcover in the past year, from an author who will be at Ad Astra convention Toronto in April 2011. That title will be announced next Wednesday.
So, ‘Save the Cat.’ I figure that this week, aside from explaining the concept, I should skim through all of the material before the start of chapter 1, though a lot of it isn’t particularly compelling reading. Chapter 1 will be next week.
Cover picture, with the cat hanging off a thick rope. Cute.
A few pages full of those glowing reviews, mostly from movie and TV producers apparently, along with a movie magazine, a writing website, a successful screenwriter, an agent and a VP development at a studio.
Publisher and editor credits, copyright notice, library of congress data, table of contents, acknowledgments.
The foreword is by the studio VP – in fact, her sound byte was apparently taken from the forward, which means that it wasn’t an official review, but it’s still glowing praise so I guess that’s good enough. A lot of stuff about how reading the book would be a great book to lots of people who are already successful in show business, and an essential ‘for anyone who is even remotely interested in being in the game.’
This opens with a lot of ‘why another scriptwriting book’ sales pitch type stuff. I don’t know when I last read any other book on scriptwriting, though I’ve read a bunch of interesting pages on the subject from web sites, particularly the Script Frenzy site, which is what led me to Blake Snyder in the first place. And I’m actually not that greatly encouraged by all of his boasts about teaching me the Hollywood ‘language’ or advice from a proven scriptwriter – I’m intrigued by the idea of actually making money writing for the screen, but I’d say that I’m still primarily in the self-expressive stage of exploring writing scripts, rather than expecting to become a big sensation with it, and I’m fine with that.
But the discussion of the ‘Make-sure-it-opens-or-else’ trend ends up somewhere that does impress me – the idea that writing a good movie script is telling a relatable story about relatable characters. That’s where the ‘Save the Cat moment’ comes in – the spot where the main character is supposed to win over the audience, at the start of the movie.
And that pretty much covers the front matter of the book. Next week, Chapter 1 – “What is it?”