Friday, July 19, 2013

Don't Save the Cat after all--Blake Snyder's screenwriting manual gets taken to task

The concession is made along the way that how Snyder's approach was presented may have turned into something he did not intend and isn't alive to be disappointed by, but the general polemic is that Blake Snyder has inadvertently ruined mainstream cinema by prescribing specific beats, paged moments, and acts for a sure-fire structurally sound screenplay.
These things have been happening for generations.  So many guitarists have been loathe to compose what they consider too scholastic a fugue they don't realize that when so few guitarists have any grasp of contrapuntal writing at all that scholastic fugues might not hurt them, and they might in fact be EASIER to write in some respects than less "scholastic" fugues.  Why?  Well, because the tighter restrictions at the very start of the process turn out to open up considerable freedom later in the process.  Once you've labored to the point where your counterpoint is fully invertible/interchangeable then a lot of the other stuff falls into place pretty readily by comparison. 
Not that this is a blog post about writing counterpoint for classical guitar, it's about a lament on the pervasiveness of the "Save the Cat" formula to screenwriting.  Jim West, who has made his loathing of cats (and dogs) generally known, might well agree that saving cats should not be the foundation of any screenwriting these days. 

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