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Book Review – Save the Cat Goes to the Movies

By January 2, 2017Reviews

Love him or hate him, Blake Snyder is at once responsible for a deeper understanding of the screenwriting art-form and its deterioration. While I personally consider the discovery of Snyder’s beat sheet as magnificent as the discovery of electricity, dry salami, and American football, I have only read “Save The Cat” one time. Even though I can spout the beat sheet by heart, even though I tell any beginner I meet they probably should read STC, even though I do consider STC the most influential book in the history of screenwriting. It’s typical, but it does make life more simple, doesn’t it?

But Save the Cat! Goes to the Movies: The Screenwriter’s Guide to Every Story Ever Told, now that’s a book I’ve dog-eared so much I have to take it for a walk every afternoon. I must have read STC 2 (some may call it) 40 or 50 times. I mean, not from beginning to end. But certainly, I’ve re-read it THAT many times. This is the sequel to STC, more of a reference book that focuses on the 10 genres moniker-ed by Snyder.

Monster In the House, Golden Fleece, Out of the Bottle, Dude With a Problem, Rites of Passage, Buddy Love, Whydunit, Fool Triumphant, Institutionalized and Superhero. In this volume, the late Snyder lists 5 different examples for each of these genres. While I don’t agree that each of these genres exist (I think there’s actually only 5), I have to consider this book (by virtue of how many times a week I open this fucking thing) the most important screenwriting book in the history of the art-form… or whatever you want to call it.

While I find Rites, Dude, and Fleece kind of redundant, while I generally myself only write Fool, Monster, Buddy and Why, this contribution to screenwriting (the unofficial bastard of poetry and play-writing), an activity that may never quite be figured out by anyone, “Save the Cat Goes to the Movies” is likely the closest decoding of screenwriting’s bastardy, half-breedy, enigmatic existence.

Now, if you want to see something really weird, check out Snyder’s two produced screenplays, “Stop or My Mom Will Shoot” and “Blank Check.” I guarantee you wont see Save the Cat Man the same way again.

Written by: Norith Soth

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