Save The Cat! Book Review
“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. - Amazon
This book is consists of 8 chapters that walk you through successfully writing your first movie script. Snyder talks about being able to pitch your movie in one to two sentences and the significance of a good title.He categorizes movies outside of the standard genres we are all familiar with and encourages the reader to place their film in one of these categories to see if it follows the rules of that category. He talks about the importance of having a clear and definitive subject for the audience to follow and identify with.He then gets technical with breaking down the story into a fixed number of beats to be played out over three acts. He shares “the beat board” and how to essentially convert your script to the board and keep it concise. He then closes out with screenwriting “rules” and how to fix your script when it falls flat.
That’s it! That’s the book! No I’m kidding. I basically gave you my version of his table of contents, trust me I did NOT spoil the book for you.
My favorite part of the book was chapter four where he shares “ The Blake Snyder Beat Sheet (aka BS2)” This resonated with me because though I was introduced to “beats” my junior year of college while working on my thesis film, it wasn’t until I started working as a PA in the Story department at Blue Sky Studios that I was able to see that in practice. I was able to see the directors, the story lead(s), the writer(s) and the script coordinator arrange and rearrange the story beats on the beat board to make the story, the film “work”. Personally, I never understood really what made a “beat” so reading Snyder’s take allowed me to call back on my experience and make some correlations.
I would definitely recommend this book to those starting out and could use a nudge in the right direction. When I first announced that I was reading this book I received a few mixed messages and I was confused. After reading it, I can understand a bit more why people had their reservations. This book should be a starter and then you continue reading and learning. It isn’t the holy grail and should not be the last book you read on screenwriting. I don’t think it is a bad as people made it seem however it was my first book on screenwriting and that’s why I probably feel this way. I’m probably going to flip through it again because he provides A LOT of exercises that I actually want to do.
In short, if you have never read anything about screenwriting then start here. If you’ve read a lot about screenwriting then you may want to skip this OR just borrow it (hard copy or ebook) from a library.
Since I’m just starting, do you have any relatable book recommendations?