Pub. Date:
Wiese, Michael Productions
Save the Cat!: The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need

Save the Cat!: The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need

by Blake Snyder
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Here’s what started the phenomenon: the best seller, for over 15 years, that’s been used by screenwriters around the world! Blake Snyder tells all in this fast, funny and candid look inside the movie business. “Save the Cat” is just one of many ironclad rules for making your ideas more marketable and your script more satisfying, including:

The four elements of every winning logline
The seven immutable laws of screenplay physics
The 10 genres that every movie ever made can be categorized by — and why they’re important to your script
Why your Hero must serve your Idea
Mastering the 15 Beats
Creating the “Perfect Beast” by using The Board to map 40 scenes with conflict and emotional change
How to get back on track with proven rules for script repair
This ultimate insider’s guide reveals the secrets that none dare admit, told by a showbiz veteran who’s proven that you can sell your script if you can save the cat.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781932907001
Publisher: Wiese, Michael Productions
Publication date: 05/25/2005
Pages: 195
Sales rank: 16,025
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.92(h) x 0.52(d)

About the Author

Blake Snyder (1957-2009) worked as a screenwriter and producer for twenty years. His book Save the Cat!: The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need and its sequels have guided screenwriters, novelists, and other creative thinkers for years and continue to be bestsellers. His methodology is also used by many development executives, managers, and producers due to its precise, easy, and honest appraisal of what it takes to write and develop stories in any medium.

George Newbern has appeared in Father of the Bride, Father of the Bride II, Evening Star, Adventures in Babysitting, and many other films. On television, he has had roles on Scandal, Friends, Nip/Tuck, Hot in Cleveland, CSI, and more. He is also known for providing the voice of Superman in Justice League and for narrating audiobooks.

Table of Contents

Save the Cat!

The official stamp of approval of the Save the Cat method from Sheila Hanahan Taylor, producer and development executive for Zide/Perry (American Pie, Final Destination, Hellboy)

Why another screenwriting book? — Some background on the author and the reason for the book — And what does the phrase “Save the Cat” mean anyway?

The importance of “the idea” — What is a “logline” and what are the four requirements to creating a better one? — What is “high concept” and why is it still relevant? — Test pitching your movie for fun and profit — Plus five games to jump-start your idea-creating skills.

All about genre — The 10 genres that every movie ever made can be categorized by — How genre is important to you and your movie — Plus ways to peg every movie’s type.

The subject is the hero — Why the hero must serve the idea — How to adjust the hero to make your movie idea work better — The myth of casting your movie — Jungian archetypes and why we need ‘em.

The beats of a movie as defined by the official “Blake Snyder Beat Sheet” a.k.a. the BS2 — An in-depth discussion of each of the 15 beats found in a successful movie as found in the BS2 — How the beats apply to Miss Congeniality.

Putting it up on the board — Sectioning off four horizontal rows, one for each section of the movie — 40 index cards and 40 only! — Troubleshooting based on the layout — How a screenplay is like a business plan and how you can create one that sells.

Common sense rules of screenwriting based on experience in the trenches of Hollywood, such as: Save the Cat, The Pope in the Pool, Double Mumbo Jumbo, Laying Pipe, Too Much Marzipan a.k.a. Black Vet, Watch Out for That Glacier!, and Covenant of the Arc.

Despite everything, you’ve written 110 pages of nada — How to get back on track by using 6 fast double-checks on your work: The Hero Leads; Make The Bad Guy Badder; Turn, Turn, Turn; The Emotional Color Wheel; “Hi How Are You I’m Fine”; Take A Step Back — all ironclad and proven rules for script repair.

Before you send your script out, how can you smooth the way? — Marketing ideas for both the newbie and the established professional that will help you get your script sold and made — Plus personal examples.

From A to Z, a review of every slangy STC expression and Hollywood-inside-the-310-area-code term.

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Save the Cat! 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
lonelyryu More than 1 year ago
First of all, I must say that if you're a critic that knows everything, then don't buy this book. But if you're open minded to a new method and an easier way to break down a script, and actually WRITE something then you should own this book. After reading all the bad reviews and comments about Blake Snyder, I couldn't believe they were so wrong, even if they had a reasonable point; but Blake really makes it happen in this book, and I am glad I bought it because it helped me write what I wouldn't and couldn't. It stopped me from procrastinating and now I have so much more space in my head after I already laid out about 7 scripts from my head. His method is different, but it's fun. I love it. This is so much easier now, I don't have an excuse to NOT write!!! This book has been my greatest motivator and mentor. I wish I could've bought it 3 yrs ago! If you're a beginner... you should get it. If you're stuck in a script then you should also get it. Trust me. Be open minded and give it a shot. Instead of being critical. Your missing piece might be in this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Being an aspiring script writer, I've read a lot of books on writing screenplays but this one captured the heart of most of them in a readable and concise way. In fact a couple points, like "Pope in the pool" finally got through to me. But to be honest, I didn't believe his page structure premise at first so I watched a few top selling movies like "The Devil Wears Prada" and saw for myself just how right he is. I have now adjusted my scripts to hit Blake's beats. We'll see how it goes.
gerrigee More than 1 year ago
I recently became an intern for a writer's agency in L.A. and found this book the be all, end all study guide highlighting the "rules" of screenwriting that are absolutely required to get a screenplay read in Hollywood. Synder presents priceless insider knowledge in an entertaining easily understood manner. A must for any aspiring screenwriter! The author passed away this year and will be missed. His work has proven a valuable resource for the writing community.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great book! It does not tell you that you can do anything and do well. It is designed for those that want to write commerical movies. If you do not follow his rules and you do not try to do the activities you will not sell your script easily. Too bad we are not in the days where they used to be in a bidding war... It is a shame however that we lost the writer so young. I would have loved to email him a couple of times since he was encouraging many to send emails to him. It has really helped me in my process and it is a good follow up to Syd Fields (which I have a 1996 or so edition that I have been reading about using computers.. LOL!).
NKNK More than 1 year ago
If you're even just thinking about writing a screenplay - you must get this book. The author writes to YOU and has a great approach and gives very great step by step advice on writing your script. Absolutely must have this book on hand.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best screenwriting structure book EVER!
Bookmobile_Driver More than 1 year ago
I bought this book based on the recommendation of a member of one the book writing groups I belong to. It tells how to write movie scripts, but the friend who told me about it said the same principles could be used to help make novels better. Since I was about halfway through my latest book, I decided to hold off on writing until I studied the techniques described in this book. Snyder, a successful screenwriter who died in 2009, describes how every good movie script is organized. It is an easy-to-understand description of 15 beats along with a description of each beat and how many pages one should have for each beat. Examples are included to make the material even easier to understand. I could see right away how to apply the techniques to novel writing. However, there are two follow-up books, Save the Cat Goes to the Movies and Save the Cat Strikes Back, that I think I better read before finishing the novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AlexEpstein on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Blake Snyder has an interesting approach to feature film formula. He breaks all successful movies into a series of steps, such as "Opening Image" (page 1), "Theme Stated" (by page 5), " "Setup" (page 10), "Catalyst" (page 12), "Debate" (pages 12-25) and so forth.Normally I would reject anything this formulaic, but (a) Blake has sold a bunch of screenplays for big money; and (b) my showrunner friend Shelley uses his system to arc out features she's hired to write. So something's working there. Any time a professional screenwriter uses a system, and is willing to tell it to you, it's worth listening, eh?Moreover, the steps make sense. Blake goes through quite a few hit movies in different genres and shows how the beats apply to them. So while most pro screenwriters probably haven't read his book, he may have discovered a basic structure that we have unconsciously internalized. I will probably try his steps out the next time I write a feature -- or next time I try to figure out if a feature I'm writing is working as well as it should.Blake also takes a shot at defining different genres, such as "Dude with a Problem" and "Buddy Love," and picks out the essential structural elements of each. That's useful if you're trying to figure out what genre you're in, which defines what goods you need to deliver.If you like the SAVE THE CAT! method, Blake has written a second book, SAVE THE CAT! GOES TO THE MOVIES, in which he goes through lots and lots of films and breaks them down into his steps. Handy. If you are writing a horror movies, it's good to analyze other horror movies to see how they do it. Likewise if you're writing a romantic comedy.
SimonLarsen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Very self centered writer and it's very very hard to take a book that claims Miss Congeniality as one of the best movies ever made seriously.
McGrewc on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
THE book to read if you're just considering screenwriting. And not a bad book to read if you're already well into it. Snyder has been in the business his entire life, and he KNOWS what it takes to make it. His explanation of beats and how to use them is the best I've ever come across, and he's very readable and funny.
EowynA on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is aimed specifically at screenwriters, and that focus is clear on every page. It is also useful for novelists (which I aspire to be), because it talks very clearly about story structure - what needs to happen when, who the characters need to be to keep the audience engaged, and so on. He starts with encapsulating and sharpening the essentials of the story - for screenwriters, this is the log line. What that log line needs to communicate in a sentence or two provides clarity for the writer as well as for the audience. He is explicit about the basic genres for stories (not genres like Romantic Comedy or Horror, but rather things like "Rites of Passage" or "Monster in the House"). Then, no matter what genre your story is, how to figure out the "beats" of the story. Why does it pull you forward? because this happens, then that, and so on. I particularly found the discussion of the explicit purpose for each beat to be helpful for plotting out a story. Then he talks about how to look at a story and figure out what went wrong - are the stakes high enough? Has the main character changed enough? and so on.The book is short and to the point. He knows what he wants to say, and gets it out on the page clearly, succinctly, and with examples from movies you have probably seen - dramas, comedies, horror, whatever. Fascinating to see the essentials of telling a story so explicitly and clearly stated. Absolutely recommended for anyone writing a story, whether wholly fiction, or based in fact.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Only half-way through it and it's already worth the money. Very relatable, easy to understand, concise info about the creative process and the technical process of screenwriting. And though a few of the references are dated, the info is not. Buy it and keep writing!
LoraineN More than 1 year ago
This is going on my keeper shelf. I am going to apply this advice to my novel writing. There is so much good advice here.
K_ToddRamer More than 1 year ago
Absolute nonsense. This was PURE speculation from beginning to end that starts out by criticizing others for taking educational and clinical approaches to the writing process. Has an opinion on just about every film from 11 years ago or beyond, but basically has no ACTUAL input on as to why these films worked. Was very quick to dismiss works based on established novels though. I couldn't help but notice that (Minority Report). This probably is the last book on screenwriting you'll ever need, most likely because if you have any common sense, based on this preponderance of opinion, you quit the industry altogether. You should know something is up when the author starts out by saying "I don't need to do this for the money, I just want to share my knowledge" and then goes on to tell you immediately that you need his tenured wisdom to make money in his industry. That's alot of talking just to hear yourself talk. I mean, 80% of the stuff considered a faux pas in this thing is now industry standard, including the "4th wall break" that earned Deadpool the highest box office sales for an r-rated film in U.S. history. This book was recommended to me as away to help me with my novel manuscripts. I was advised, and believed from reading the "back of the book" "logline", that this is what I would be getting. Instead, I read the whole book, cover to cover, and found absolutely NOTHING to help me with pacing, scene blocking, dialogue or conceptualizing. I mean, I assumed those things were just as needed in writing a screenplay as they are in writing a novel (and why this was recommended). Clearly, I was mistaken. You need an "ironical" 1-line, some beat sheets and poor opinions of films that actually did well in the box office. Telling the reader that they shouldn't even bother writing their concept until they have an "ironic, mental image creating, cost effective audience grabber with a killer title 1-line" is insanity. This is either just ego tripping or it's an attempt to dissuade people from competing in the industry. I'm sorry. I can't recommend this to anyone. I would even go as far as to say that people who have read this invest in mind bleach to make it go away. (Usually I try and find something redeemable to offset my negatives, but I couldn't find anything.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'd give this book 2 1/2 stars (but you can't seem to give half stars). If you've read a lot of screen writing books you aren't really going to learn anything new. This book is really for those that want to write a screenplay but have no idea on how to develop the story, characters or even how to write one (which begs the question - should you really be writing one?). I found it a little condescending and the author came across as rather conceited. He spends a lot of time talking about his writing and "successes"....and for someone that has only had two movies made (and one was labelled by Sylvester Stallone as the worst movie he's ever done), a lot of the time the book seems like he was just patting himself on the back. Don't get me wrong. There is some useful information in there (like his beat sheet) but it's no better or worse than a dozen other books on the market (I’d recommend Story by Robert Mckee if you want a learn how to develop your story and characters).
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