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Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need Paperback – Illustrated, May 25, 2005
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- Item Weight : 12.5 ounces
- Paperback : 195 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1932907009
- ISBN-13 : 978-1932907001
- Publisher : Michael Wiese Productions (May 25, 2005)
- Dimensions : 6.26 x 0.53 x 8.9 inches
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #4,963 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Self-gratifying at best, Blake Snyder spends half of the book promoting his own screenplays that no one has ever heard of while bashing true classics. The remaining half is spent laying out an almost page by page guide on how to write a story that might sell but likely won't be anything groundbreaking or even good. Snyder attempts to make a science out of an art thus killing any scrap of creativity with his heavy beat layout.
If you want to have any type of career in writing (no book is going to *teach* you to be a good writer) avoid this book like the plague.
This book is best known for its discussion of what is known as "beats." Snyder created a basic formula of elements that will fit almost every story out there to tell. He even breaks the beats down to what page number they should appear in the screenplay which has lent itself to a spreadsheet called the "beat sheet" that has become essential in modern Hollywood. The beats have also been applied to TV shows, novels and other forms of fiction. There's been a lot of the criticism of the beats as being formulaic, but it's really just a system that fits story arcs going back to ancient mythology. Almost any story is going to have a midpoint where there are highs or lows and "bad guys closing in."
Beyond the beat sheet, there are also tips like writing young characters to reach the widest audience, using distraction to gloss over exposition, and not making the story too complicated. I thought Snyder's advice was very practical and could be applied right away, but is something I've never seen in print, so it's welcome.
Yes, this book isn't for people who want to write metaphorical or metaphysical drama that explores the human condition. If you want to write a movie or novel that will sell to a small and limited audience, this isn't the book for you. If you want a book that will tell you how to write blockbuster stories for the biggest audience, I can't think of a better one.
One can tell many reviewers, readers, wanna be screenwriters, and others are certain this book is off the mark and too formula to have value. These same folks need to spend more time actually watching and analyzing many of the films Hollywood puts out even today (2018). This book is right on the money. Sure, there are exceptions to the rules, but as Snyder - and any expert, trainer, pro, or individual with a track record and street cred will tell you, you must know the rules before you dare break them. Save the Cat is a prime example of this concept.
I've heard of the book many times over the years, but until I decided to commit full time to my screenwriting I'd not taken the time to grab it and read. I'm sorry I wasted the time. Not only as an academic, non-fiction, and fiction writer, but as a media psychologist this book is a great read with some seriously solid insights. On the other hand, as a newer screenwriter it's a great help, and it lays a solid foundation for much of what Hollywood offers, has become, and will remain. Whether or not you agree with anything he writes, as any professional knows, you always read the books and experts who know the pathway.
I highly recommend this book for anyone who is considering being a screenwriter - or writer - or loves film.
Top reviews from other countries
It is an entertaining read and put across in a friendly way. I'm aware that Blake has left this planet but I'm glad that others have carried on with and from what he put together in this book.
I'm aware that there is a soon to be realeased Save the Cat book for novelists but I felt that it makes sense to familiarise myself with what it's about and I'm glad that I did. I have seem some people state that Save the Cat encourages formulaic stories and I suppose if you're not at all bothered about making more that a few quid from your writing then you might not like this. But if you do hope to make money, be successful and appeal to a large audience then surely you must accept at some point that you need to write very commercial stories.
Anyway, I recommend the book for a writer of stories, whether a screenwriter or a novelist. It's the second screenwriting book that I have bought and I hesitated over this one for quite a long time. And there's so much more to it than the 'Save the Cat!' element that the book is named for. Obviously it's not the only book on screenwriting that you will ever need, but one of them that you need.
Beat sheet adds the structure to your screenplays. I now have 3 boards 90 cm x 55 cm hung on doors to use for screenwriting.