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

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  3,756 ratings  ·  496 reviews
This ultimate insider's guide reveals the secrets that none dare admit, told by a show biz veteran who's proven that you can sell your script if you can save the cat!
Paperback, 195 pages
Published May 25th 2005 by Michael Wiese Productions (first published 2005)
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I'm torn about how many stars to give this book. If you are completely new to screenwriting, then this would be a five-star book. Otherwise, I'll give it four because it's easy to understand and allows you to start breaking down the movies you watch quite easily.

However, if you've written screenplays and understand basic three act structure, the advice is a little naive -- as in, "The Theme has to be stated on page 5." "Page 30 is where the 'B' story comes in." Well, maybe, but not really in a l...more
Thompson
While this book is a clever and succinct reduction of Hollywood story structure, it is not well-served by its snarky, priggish author, who with every page radiates the very same sort of smug, too-cool attitude that the rest of the world associates with Los Angeles. That he is smart, I have no doubts, especially after reading his reduction of modern movies. Indeed, he is so smart that I will soon pick up his next book, Save the Cat Goes to the Movies. But just as his intelligence and skill are a...more
Laurie
I think this book just completely changed my life. I read it cover-to-cover while flying from the Midwest to Florida and I couldn't put it down. Some of the screenwriting books I've seen seem to be a whole lot of talk and not much substance; this one is LOADED with substance.

One thing that may be a turn off for some is that, like every other screenwriting book I've seen so far, the book is unabashedly focused on crass commercialism. For example, there's an unnecessary few paragraphs in which Sny...more
Nicholas Karpuk
Some people who can't really should teach.

Blake Snyder mentions on several occasions that he sold a screenplay to Steven Spielberg for a million dollars at one point. Impressive right?

Then he ruins it by describing his story. It was called "Nuclear Family" and involved a family who camped by a nucleur test site, gaining super powers.

I'm rather glad that failed, and then "The Incredibles" happened instead.

Blake Snyder's ideas are consistently awful. He's the scribe responsible for "Blank Check"...more
Alexa
My critique partner swears by this book, and in fact has been holding my revision notes ransom until I read it! :) She was kind enough to gift me with a copy, so I hunkered down and zipped through.

It was a punchy, fast read--the margins are freakishly large, so it's not *really* a 150 page book; it reads like 100 pager. The writing style is at times annoying, but it's readable. As a novelist, as opposed to a screenwriter, a lot of the specific advice in Save the Cat is useless -- such as "you mu...more
K.M. Weiland
As a novelist, the more I read screenwriting books, the more I love them. Straightforward, no-nonsense, and endlessly applicable, they cut through the fluff and offer practical tips for writing better stories. Snyder's beloved Save the Cat! is certainly no different. He entertains even as he shares tips on structure and character and little, memorable bits such as his "Save the Cat" and "Keep the Press Out" slogans.

Is there a bit of formulaism here? Sure. But even for authors who completely balk...more
Stephen Worman
Hack advice given by a hack writer. While it's nice to see the business side of writing examined, it would have been better (i.e. something approaching "acceptable") to have it examined by a competent writer. If your only two credits for screenwriting are "Blank Check" and the so-bad-Sylvester-Stallone-apologized-for-his-role-in-its-creation "Stop Or My Mother Will Shoot", you have no place writing a book on the subject. Even the non-creative side is uninspired rehashes of common sense advice (F...more
Jeffrey Johnson
A lot of people swear by this book, but I think it's just terrible. If you want to write movies, there is a great deal to be gained by learning about the three-act structure. That being said, though, Blake Snyder will teach you a micro-managed form of it that forces you to meet a very specific and frankly obnoxious rubric.

Snyder says specifically in his book that if he turns to one of the pages where he says X should happen and X doesn't happen, he immediately dismisses the script. Though he pro...more
Stephen M
Essential for scriptwriting, but hard to take seriously when it bashes momento on one page (on the grounds that it made no money in the B.O.) and then praises miss congeniality as a great movie the very next page.

His best advice comes from Campbell, McKee, & Field anyway.
Karyn
Here is a review since I have several writer friends hooked up with me here who might want to know (wait no longer Roxy!) Pro: It does give some good ideas for structure, and makes me want to read more about screenwriting. I can see how it can help a person like me who is all over the place set up some firm guidelines and actually, possibly finish a book. In fact, it makes it look kind of easy. Cons: 1)I am not writing a movie. This is very specific to an exact 110 page screenplay. The structure...more
Ann
Nov 04, 2010 Ann rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fiction writers of any kind
Shelves: non-fiction, writing
I've read about half a dozen books on screenwriting, but most of those books focused on selling the screenplay. For some reason I've always been hesitant to read books that tell you how to write. But, this book got such fantastic reviews that I took a chance.

And boy, am I ever glad I did!! Far from telling you 'how to write' Snyder instead focuses on why screenplays must be structured the way they are, how to pump up your story, how to find problem areas and how to fix them.

Snyder starts at the...more
Troy Blackford
This was a very enjoyable and informative read.

I've read a few books on screenwriting as part of my reading about writing in general, and the author of this book, the late Blake Snyder, is correct in his early statement that many of those other books, though excellent resources, -do- hold a reverence for film that perhaps obscures and interferes with their ability to tell advice. I'm thinking of Robert McKee's 'Story,' right off the bat. Not a bad thing, and of course you'd want someone to be re...more
Jolene Perry
EVERYONE who writes anything should read this book.

SO.
FREAKING.
GOOD.

And simple :-D
Brian Kelley
After well over two dozen author chats via Skype in my class­room, one book con­tin­ues to sur­face on the lips of the authors: Save the Cat: The Last Book on Screen­writ­ing You'll Ever Need by Blake Sny­der.

The first I heard of it, YA author Liz­a­beth Zin­del respond­ed to a ques­tion about how a writer can make a char­ac­ter likable. Zin­del ref­er­ences this book and explained that a char­ac­ter may be writ­ten to "save a cat" or per­form an act of kind­ness, ten­der­ness, self­less­ness t...more
Robert Kroese
Blake Snyder is supposedly “Hollywood’s most successful spec screenwriter.” I don’t know how that works exactly, since he has exactly two IMDB credits (for Blank Check and Stop or My Mom Will Shoot), but whatever.

Save the Cat is basically a book full of little gimmicks for improving a screenplay, as well as pitfalls to avoid. The title comes from the idea of having the hero of the story save a cat early on in the movie to establish his/her likability. It sounds silly, but the examples Snyder giv...more
Emma
Review originally posted here: http://emmamaree.com/reviews/save-the-cat/

A clear, well-written guide to presenting your story to other people. It’s aimed at screenwriters, but it’s also a well-known tool for fiction and non-fiction writers. A lot of the information (such as know your genre, have a one line pitch) will be familiar to anyone who’s been following writing blogs or lurking in the query trenches, but if not then it’s a great place to start.

It covers lots of essential information, incl...more
Ike Khan
The 3 most important things for a movie are; story, story and story! No the book doesn't say that but everyone who understands film making does. Unfortunately that does not include the majority of the people within the industry.
This is a very straightforward guide book on screenplay plotting. It is a nice and easy read; does not require as much concentration as Robert Mackee or Syd Field. Although unchallenging, this is a good read for anyone in the film industry - especially producers who tend...more
Nick Xylas
I went into this book with some degree of scepticism. I am convinced that the proliferation of fill-in-the-blanks screenwriting books that teach you "the 15 key beats of act 2", or whatever, are responsible for the horrible sense of deja vu that one gets when watching so many Hollywood films. Anyone who's read a couple of these books can pretty much check off the list as they're watching the film ("This must be the bit where the hero enters the special world"). However, a writer friend of mine w...more
Jessica Bell
I'm not a screenwriter, I'm a novelist, and I tell you, this book has shed some light on so many things that I was aware of, but most times fobbed off. Everybody has their own process and there is never just one right way to plot a story, but this made me realize how much easier life would be if I followed a few hard plotting rules.

I want a whole wall dedicated to THE BOARD. Don't know what I'm talking about? Then read this book. You'll save yourself a lifetime of unnecessary rewrites.
Marcelo
As has been said before, it's difficult to choose between 4 and 5 stars.

I have no specific complaints, however. Provides great and inspiring introductory information for the beginning screenwriter. The only thing I wish these things would do would be to go into excruciating detail on how difficult the writing processes is if you are really trying to write something meaningful. It would be wonderful to discourage potential hacks from soiling the form.
David Chiodaroli
If you want to write screenplays to movies that are inspiring, innovative and thought provoking, this is not the book for you. However, if you think you can get rich quickly, by writing run of the mill, cliche ridden pieces of cinematic tripe, then by all means, buy this piece of crap at once! You obviously did exactly what Blake Snyder wanted you to do, and that is give up on your dreams and make the sort of junk movies, that most people forget about once the credits roll. But hey, at least you...more
Lisa Eckstein
Even though this book is about screenwriting, it's widely recommended among novelists. I didn't understand how to construct a plot until I read this book, and if you're in the same position I was, I recommend giving it a try.
Andrea Blythe
Save the Cat!: The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need by Blake Snyder provides a guide to screenwriting from an industry perspective, focusing on what a writer needs to do to prep for the act of writing. These techniques include creating a logline (or one-line), watching and analyzing movies in your chosen genre, creating a beat sheet, and building a board to layout scenes as a form of outlining. Skipping over actually writing process, he then reveals some screenplay "rules" and somethi...more
Kolcs
Think of those stereotypical snake-oil salesmen, or the Gordon Gekko wanna-bes, who dress in suits and travel around the country, renting conference rooms or even small diners and trying to convince middle-aged suburbunites to join their programm on how to be succesful.
You know the type: slightly sleazy, fast talking, very friendly but also aggressive, addressing everyone with their first name: "John, you look like a great guy, I like you, but how dare you not be rich? Believe you me buddy, the...more
Ali Cross
I am a novelist, and this is the best book on crafting a story I've ever read. It really should read "The Last Book on STORYwriting You'll Ever Need."

Not only is the writing fresh and fun and incredibly easy to understand (even though it used screenwriting/movie-making lingo I wasn't familiar with, I still totally got it) and was a breeze to read.

While reading I was constantly struck with how I could easily translate what was being taught into crafting a novel. It just so happens that I was get...more
Kym McNabney
SAVE THE CAT, THE LAST BOOK ON SCREENWRITING THAT YOU'LL EVER NEED may have just saved my writing. As an aspiring author, I've struggled over the years as I've grown and learned how to write fiction. I've read a handful of books on the craft of writing but none have compared to SAVE THE CAT by Blake Snyder.

If you are a fiction writer, don't let the fact that SAVE THE CAT is about screenwriting cause you to look the other way. It has all the elements needed to write a novel. And not just any nove...more
Phil
Save the Cat! is a great book for understanding the underlying structure that must be built in order to write a good, solid screenplay. Snyder fills this How To book with great information and good examples, and it is easy enough to follow, should one want to try their hand at screenwriting.

Where this book breaks down, though, it its tone and style. Snyder tries too hard to be cool, or hip, or engaging, or something, and the introductions to each chapter are trite, annoying, and a bit like a par...more
Jacob
While this is not "The Last Book On Screenwriting You'll Ever Need", it certainly is a good start and it seems like enough to get anyone going on their first script. The author's tone is informal and friendly and it's an easy read. His opinions are clearly stated, although it still blows my mind that he's considered wildly successful for having sold 13 scripts, 2 of which actually became movies (don't ask which ones; that gets even less impressive).

I don't agree with everything the author says,...more
Julie Luekenga
The book is exactly as the title suggests, a guidebook for writing screenplays. It is also probably the most followed book for writing a novel. Almost every writer of fiction, if asked, will tell you "Save the Cat" is the go-to book for writing fiction, perhaps even their favorite book.

Snyder has screenwriting down to a successful formula that guarantees a viewer's (and in the case of a novel, a reader's) interest. He successfully formulates "beats" or events that must happen in a script, and w...more
Suzanne
What I liked...

- Great tips on sharpening your one-sentence pitch, which will in turn focus your storytelling.

- A "beat sheet" laying out exactly what should happen in a screenplay right down to the page. I'm working on a novel rather than a screenplay, but many of the beats are still in the same relative location and work toward the same goals. (Thinking in terms of film offers different spin, too, since the focus for some beats might be an image.)

- An index card organization strategy to flesh...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Please combine/fix editions of Save the Cat 6 18 Jul 10, 2013 04:09PM  
  • The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers
  • Story: Style, Structure, Substance, and the Principles of Screenwriting
  • The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller
  • Screenwriter's Bible: A Complete Guide to Writing, Formatting and Selling Your Script
  • Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting
  • Plot & Structure: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot That Grips Readers from Start to Finish
  • Scene and Structure (Elements of Fiction Writing)
  • Your Screenplay Sucks!: 100 Ways to Make It Great
  • Writing the Breakout Novel
  • Wired for Story: The Writer's Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence
  • Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One & Never Lets Them Go
  • Story Engineering: Character Development, Story Concept, Scene Construction
  • GMC: Goal, Motivation and Conflict: The Building Blocks of Good Fiction
  • Cinematic Storytelling
  • Make a Scene: Crafting a Powerful Story One Scene at a Time
  • Description & Setting
  • Getting Into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn from Actors
  • Techniques of the Selling Writer
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In his 20-year career as a screenwriter and producer, Blake Snyder has sold dozens of scripts, including co-writing Blank Check, which became a hit for Disney, and Nuclear Family for Steven Spielberg. His book, Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need, was published in May, 2005, and is now in its eleventh printing. It has prompted "standing room only" appearances by Blake in...more
More about Blake Snyder...
Save the Cat! Goes to the Movies: The Screenwriter's Guide to Every Story Ever Told Save the Cat! Strikes Back: More Trouble for Screenwriters to Get Into... and Out of The Most Common Writing Mistakes In Fiction - And How To Avoid Them

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