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

4.06  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,107 Ratings  ·  669 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!
Kindle Edition
Published (first published 2005)
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Marianne Knowles Hi Deborah,
I just used it to help resolve plot problems in my WIP. Full review at this link: http://writersrumpus.com/2015/01/06/b...
--Marianne K.
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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CC
Mar 07, 2011 CC rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
K.M. Weiland
Nov 22, 2013 K.M. Weiland rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 02, 2010 Stephen Worman rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Alexa
Apr 12, 2013 Alexa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jeffrey Johnson
Jun 23, 2009 Jeffrey Johnson rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Joshua Rigsby
This book gets poo pooed a lot in critical/literary/artistic circles for being a perfect encapsulation of everything that's wrong with Hollywood. These criticisms are not unjustified.

Snyder sets out a systematic, formulaic strategy for writing a screenplay that hits all of the same tired plot points we've seen a million times. Take a big budget studio movie, break it down minute by minute, and almost without exception every plot point hits at the exact minute mark Snyder describes. Save the Cat
...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.
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
K.R. Patterson
Oct 26, 2009 K.R. Patterson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jessica Bell
May 12, 2013 Jessica Bell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Troy Blackford
Feb 04, 2014 Troy Blackford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 06, 2012 Jolene Perry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
EVERYONE who writes anything should read this book.

SO.
FREAKING.
GOOD.

And simple :-D
Kolcs
May 31, 2014 Kolcs rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: film, non-fiction
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
Brian Kelley
Jan 08, 2012 Brian Kelley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pawlp-library
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 that immediately renders hi
...more
Emma
Mar 06, 2012 Emma rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Robin Reul
Mar 21, 2016 Robin Reul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hands down the best book on screenwriting ever written, and completely applicable to novels as well. I utilize this method both in the initial drafting process of my novels, but rely on it even moreso as an invaluable tool in revision. If you are looking for a sure-fire method to help you hone your focus and find your story, this fifteen essential beats method and use of "The Board" will give you the tools you need to produce a winning manuscript that hooks readers and never lets them go.
Christine Nolfi
Apr 23, 2016 Christine Nolfi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good visual plotting strategies for screenwriters and novelists alike.
Marcelo
Sep 19, 2012 Marcelo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
G.K. Noyer
I hesitated between a 3 and 4 in rating this book. If you're a beginning scriptwriter, Syd Field's "Screenplay" and Snyder's book may well be the best places to start. And in that order. Both will give you key insights into structure and the basics, but many complain that Snyder's book goes too far and indeed, it is very probably more responsible for all the most formulaic, highly predictable films that Hollywood churns out than any other book.

It is all too true, as the sidebar remarks, that Bl
...more
Andrew Simmons
Sep 02, 2015 Andrew Simmons rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pros: Quick read full of great nuggets of information; especially when it comes to building a solid log lines and simply easy to follow rules of the writing trade which have been learned by experience.

Cons: We know you have sold film scripts; really we got it the first time you mentioned it. :)
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.
S.A. Larsen
Nov 30, 2012 S.A. Larsen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Direct. This book takes a novelist by the hand and shows them the way. One of the best books on the craft of writing I've ever read.
Julie
Jan 28, 2016 Julie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing, blake-snyder
I'm not a screenwriter, but I saw this book mentioned a couple times in articles about fiction writers so I decided to read it. At the time I picked this up, I was struggling with ideas for a manuscript and how to structure a story. I needed some help. "Save the Cat!" didn't fix everything, but it did help me: because of this book, I figured out a logline, which is a one- to two-sentence summary of the plot. After I got the logline, it was like a lightbulb went off in my head and I was figuring ...more
Alex West
Save the Cat: The Last Book on Writing Painfully Banal PG-13 Hollywood Comedies You’ll Ever Need

This book provides the perfect guide to writing movies I loathe.

Key example movies in this book made me want to hurl pointy objects at the screen when I saw them. I haven’t succumbed to this urge to inflict criminal damage at my local multiplex (yet), but it remains an attractive fantasy.

It may be true that Miss Congeniality and Elf made good money at the box office, but you know what? If I’m going to
...more
Andrea Blythe
Jun 27, 2014 Andrea Blythe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
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
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  • The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller
  • Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting
  • Story: Style, Structure, Substance, and the Principles of Screenwriting
  • Scene and Structure (Elements of Fiction Writing)
  • The Screenwriter's Bible: A Complete Guide to Writing, Formatting, and Selling Your Script
  • Your Screenplay Sucks!: 100 Ways to Make It Great
  • Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One & Never Lets Them Go
  • Plot & Structure: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot That Grips Readers from Start to Finish
  • GMC: Goal, Motivation and Conflict: The Building Blocks of Good Fiction
  • The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers
  • Story Engineering: Character Development, Story Concept, Scene Construction
  • The Fire in Fiction: Passion, Purpose and Techniques to Make Your Novel Great
  • Writing Screenplays That Sell: The Complete, Step-By-Step Guide for Writing and Selling to the Movies and TV, from Story Concept to Development Deal
  • Description & Setting
  • Cinematic Storytelling
  • 45 Master Characters: Mythic Models for Creating Original Characters
  • Make a Scene: Crafting a Powerful Story One Scene at a Time
  • Characters and Viewpoint (Elements of Fiction Writing)
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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...

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“To be a screenwriter is to deal with an ongoing tug of war between breathtaking megalomania and insecurity so deep it takes years of therapy just to be able to say “I’m a writer” out loud.” 5 likes
“To know how to avoid the cliche, to know what tradition you are pushing forward, begins with knowing what that tradition is.” 4 likes
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