- Paperback: 216 pages
- Publisher: Michael Wiese Productions (14 May 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1932907009
- ISBN-13: 978-1932907001
- Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 1.3 x 22.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,520 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Save the Cat!: The Only Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need: The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need Paperback – 14 May 2005
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About the Author
Blake Snyder's Save the Cat series of books are the best selling books on screenwriting --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
I have read 20+ Screenwriting books and for straight structural insight into the popularist Hollywood model, this is fantastic. People have questioned Synder's own track record in other reviews. That's nonsense. Great actors are not taught by screen legends but by people you've never heard of. It's the same with screenwriting. Syd Field, Robert Mckee, Chris Vogler - when's the last time you saw their names before a film? In fact Synder has more credentials than most out there.
Yes, he picks out some less than briliant examples of cinema (Legally Blonde?!) but the content here is sound and evident in much, much better films than the ones mentioned. This is just good, clear advice on how to plan and fix a particular type of script. It is absolutely not for everyone, nor should every film adhere to this model, but in the narrow (but MASSIVELY successful) market that this is aimed at, it's simply essential.
Blake Snyder was teaching the craft, the nuts and bolts construction of a screenplay. His rules are no more cynical than Joseph Campbell's work on mythic archetypes, they're just presented in a much more accessible way. This is populist writing about populist writing.
So if you want solid guidelines on building the emotional machinery of a screenplay then this book will help. If you want to try to reinvent the cinematic artform, if your gods are Charlie Kaufman and Harmony Korine, then your journey begins elsewhere and probably inside yourself.
From the New Testament, to the plays of Shakespeare, from the novels and stories by PG Wodehouse, to Star Wars, all good stories adhere to the structure that Snyder so brilliantly outlines here. Three acts, 15 sections, 40 scenes! He tells us how to lay them out on a story board and even how to use repeat gags, set pieces and similar dramatic devices.
His 15 sections are -
1. Opening image
2. Stating the theme
4. The catalyst (i.e. stuff happens!)
5. Debate (now what do we do?)
6. Break into act 2
7. The B story or stories
8. Fun and games (i.e. business/action/etc.)
9. Midpoint (shift in pace)
10. The bad guys close in
11. All is lost
12. Despair sets in
13. Break into act 3
15. Closing image.
He also states right at the beginning that every good story can be summed up in one sentence. That is true for every story and indeed for every product or project - if you can't or refuse to view what you are doing that way, chances are, you will fail!
It's just a great book for anyone interested in drama and story-telling! If you don't have a copy, you must not be even remotely interested in how stories are told! And no - I'm not lending out my copy. Get your own!
It is an easy read and the 12 step beat sheet will be incredibly useful to budding screenwriters.
However, there was one aspect of the book that really made me question the integrity of the author and that is his use of examples of what works as a screenplay and what does not.
He often references his own spec scripts and movies, none of which I have heard off and none of which impressed me.
He uses forgettable films (Miss Congeniality being the best of a sorry bunch) as examples of what is a successful film (yes in terms gross) and then critises films such as Minority Report and Open Range (2 of the most perfectly realised films of the noughties) because they break his rules of structure.
At this point in the book Blake Snyder lost all credibility for me.
It is fine to create a system to simplify the structuring of a screenplay but I did not like the way he dismissed films that are far superior in every department to anything he has been involved in because they did not follow his own set of rules.
The conclusion I came to is this guy knows how to write something that will sell and if that is why you are reading the book then I would have to recommend it despite my dissapointment in the way he references other peoples work.
Souless but effective.
It covers lots of essential information, including genres, character archetypes, and my personal favourite the 'beat sheet', which breaks down most plots into a simple structure and can be very helpful for working out pacing problems and structural issues.
Blake can come across as irritating with his every-other-page self-promotion. I loved when he pulled out popular movies for examples of genres and styles, but I got sick of him reference his own ever-so-successful films and TV ideas. I'd never heard of any of them. This would have been fine in a smaller dose, but there was just too much of it.
I think I'll dip into this book occasionally when I need a refresher on cliches, tropes, and plot structures - but it's a difficult book to read from start to finish without Snyder's comments getting on your nerves.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great intro to screenwriting, especially for someone like myself with absolutely no previous experience, I highly recommend this book to anyone who is thinking of trying their hand... Read morePublished 19 days ago by Amazon Customer
I did a masters degree in screenwriting, and this book is way better than anything on my F****** masters. Thank you Mr Snyder.Published 1 month ago by Goochoid
Lovely read, fun and informative would recommend for anybody interest in screenwriting.Published 2 months ago by mrs j.
As someone who does not consider himself a screenwriter and who had to buy this for university I am pleased to say I actually enjoyed it quite a bit. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Phillip Carter
The book isn't about saving cats. It's about a whole lot more than that; it's about saving your script or novel from being an all out flop. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amy19
i have loved this book: well written, inspiring,, engaging, practical, with examples from well known movies. Highly recommended.Published 5 months ago by GUY
Read this in one sitting it was so engrossing. Certainly clarifies the writing process that from time to time needs ironing out, even for the most talented and prolific writers. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Mr. N