Save The Cat by Blake Snyder

Mind map to help visualize and remember the screen-writing book by Blake Snyder: Save The Cat

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Save The Cat by Blake Snyder by Mind Map: Save The Cat by Blake Snyder

1. 1- What is it?

1.1. one sentence logline

1.1.1. irony

1.1.2. mental picture

1.1.3. audience

1.1.3.1. 4 quadrant picture

1.1.3.1.1. men < 25

1.1.3.1.2. men > 25

1.1.3.1.3. women < 25

1.1.3.1.4. women > 25

1.1.4. budget/cost

1.1.4.1. block comedy

1.1.4.2. company moves

1.2. killer title

1.2.1. says what it is

1.2.2. pairs with log line, 1-2 punch

1.2.3. legally blond, 4 Christmases

1.3. test marketing

1.3.1. pitch log line/story to strangers

1.3.2. no fear of idea theft

2. Catalyst guy comes, affects, leaves life

3. 2 - Give me the same thing, only different!

3.1. movies it's most like

3.2. 10 story genres

3.2.1. Monster in the house

3.2.1.1. confined

3.2.1.2. sin committed

3.2.1.3. good ones: alien, exorcist, fatal attraction

3.2.1.4. bad ones: arachnophobia, lake placed

3.2.1.4.1. not confined

3.2.2. Golden fleece

3.2.2.1. inner growth and learnings while on journey to chase a goal

3.2.2.2. set pieces used as growing milestones for hero

3.2.2.3. ex: Jason and the argonauts, road trip, star wars, wizard of oz

3.2.3. Out of the bottle

3.2.3.1. wish granted to underdog

3.2.3.1.1. ex: blank check, Bruce almighty, the mask

3.2.3.2. comeuppance to deserving yet redeemable guy

3.2.3.2.1. ex: liar, liar, freaky Friday, groundhog day

3.2.4. Dude with a problem

3.2.4.1. average Joe in primal problematic situation

3.2.4.2. the badder the bad guy, the better

3.2.4.3. hero uses his individuality to overcome immense odds

3.2.4.4. ex: die hard, titanic, shindler's list

3.2.5. Rites of passage

3.2.5.1. monster=life

3.2.5.1.1. alcohol, drugs

3.2.5.1.2. puberty, divorce, death...

3.2.5.2. victory is to surrender with smile

3.2.5.2.1. that's life!

3.2.6. Buddy love

3.2.6.1. Typical sequence:

3.2.6.1.1. Hate at first

3.2.6.1.2. Realize they need each other

3.2.6.1.3. All is Lost moment: fight, separation

3.2.6.1.4. Win = surrender ego

3.2.6.2. Catalyst subgenre:

3.2.6.2.1. Main guy does most of the changing

3.2.6.3. Shangai noon, rain man, love stories

3.2.7. Whydunit

3.2.7.1. The hero = surrogate = the audience

3.2.7.2. Discover the dark truth

3.2.7.2.1. Dark side of humanity=our own dark side

3.2.7.3. ex: JFK, the insider

3.2.8. Fool triumphant

3.2.8.1. Working parts:

3.2.8.1.1. Underdog, Outsider

3.2.8.1.2. Institution/Establishment bad guy

3.2.8.1.3. Accomplice (Salieri, Lieutenant Dan)

3.2.8.2. Ex: Forrest gump, amadeus, the jerk

3.2.9. Institutionalized

3.2.9.1. honor institution and expose problem of losing one's identity to it

3.2.9.2. Breakout character

3.2.9.2.1. Often a new comer

3.2.9.2.2. Denounce the group's goal

3.2.9.3. Groups

3.2.9.3.1. Ex: mash, animal house, one flew over the cuckoo's nest, avatar

3.2.9.4. Family

3.2.9.4.1. ex: Godfather, American beauty

3.2.10. Superhero

3.2.10.1. Opposite of Dude with problem

3.2.10.2. Extraordinary guy has hard time fitting with rest of us

3.2.10.3. Ex: Superman, Spiderman, Zoolander

4. 3 - It's about a guy who...

4.1. Audience needs the who to identify with

4.2. Amp up the logline

4.2.1. add:

4.2.1.1. Adjective for hero

4.2.1.2. Adjective for bad guy

4.2.1.3. Compelling goal

4.2.2. Pick the hero so that:

4.2.2.1. Offer the most conflict

4.2.2.1.1. Primal

4.2.2.2. Longest emotional way to go

4.2.2.3. Most demographically pleasing

4.2.2.4. Audience can:

4.2.2.4.1. Identify with

4.2.2.4.2. Learn from

4.2.2.4.3. Believe he deserves to win

4.2.2.4.4. Compelled to follow

4.3. Character Archetypes

4.3.1. Don't write for specific star, write for archetype

4.3.2. Examples

4.3.2.1. Young man on the rise

4.3.2.1.1. Adam Sandler, Ashton Kutcher

4.3.2.2. Good girl tempted

4.3.2.2.1. Reese Witherspoon, Meg Ryan

4.3.2.3. Imp

4.3.2.3.1. MacCauley Culkin, Patty McCormick (evil opposite)

4.3.2.4. Sex goddess

4.3.2.4.1. Marilyn Monroe, Halle Berry

4.3.2.5. Hunk

4.3.2.5.1. Tom Cruise, Vin Diesel, Viggo Mortenson

4.3.2.6. Wounded Soldier

4.3.2.6.1. Paul Newman, Clint Eastwood

4.3.2.7. Troubled Sexpot

4.3.2.7.1. Angelina Jolie

4.3.2.8. Lovable fop

4.3.2.8.1. Hugh Grant, Cary Grant

4.3.2.9. Court Jester

4.3.2.9.1. Woody Allen, Rob Schneider

5. 4 - Let's Beat It Out

5.1. Structure

5.1.1. Protects against Credit Jumpers

5.2. Beat Sheet

5.2.1. Opening Image (1)

5.2.1.1. "Before" snapshot

5.2.2. Theme Stated (5)

5.2.2.1. Thematic premise

5.2.2.2. Ask out loud

5.2.3. Set up (1-10)

5.2.3.1. First Reel

5.2.3.2. Intro all A Story characters

5.2.3.3. 6 things that need fixing

5.2.3.3.1. running gags

5.2.3.3.2. Callbacks

5.2.4. Catalyst (12)

5.2.4.1. Life changing event

5.2.5. Debate (12-25)

5.2.5.1. Hero is pondering

5.2.5.2. Ask a question

5.2.6. Break into Two (25)

5.2.6.1. Big moment, step into act II

5.2.6.2. Must be hero's choice

5.2.7. B Story (30)

5.2.7.1. Ex: "Love" story

5.2.7.2. Booster Rocket

5.2.7.2.1. Get over slow spot

5.2.7.3. New anti-thesis characters

5.2.8. Fun & Games (30-55)

5.2.8.1. Trailer moments

5.2.8.2. Promise of the premise, Heart of the story

5.2.8.3. Set Pieces

5.2.9. MidPoint (55)

5.2.9.1. (False) victory/peak, or (false) collapse for hero

5.2.9.2. up to down or down to up

5.2.9.3. Stakes are raised, end of fun & games

5.2.9.4. Opposite of All is Lost

5.2.10. Bad Guys Close In (55-75)

5.2.10.1. Toughest to write

5.2.10.2. Bad guys regroup, Good guys doubt

5.2.11. All is Lost (75)

5.2.11.1. Opposite of midpoint

5.2.11.2. Whiff of death (ex: Obiwan Kenoby's death)

5.2.12. Dark Night of the Soul (75-85)

5.2.12.1. Here is Hopeless, Clueless, Desperate

5.2.13. Break into Three (85)

5.2.13.1. The solution appears

5.2.13.2. Thanks to B story characters

5.2.14. Finale (85-110)

5.2.14.1. Act III, Applying the solution

5.2.14.2. All bad guys are defeated in ascending order

5.2.15. Final Image (110)

5.2.15.1. Opposite of opening image

5.2.15.2. Proof of change

6. 5 - Building The Perfect Beast

6.1. The board: Corkboard with 4 rows:

6.1.1. Act I

6.1.2. Act II before midpoint

6.1.3. Act II after midpoint

6.1.4. Act III

6.2. One card per scene, 9-10 card per row

6.2.1. For every scene:

6.2.1.1. location, time, who, what

6.2.1.2. +/- emotional change for each character

6.2.1.3. >< Conflict, Physical or Psychological

6.3. Tips

6.3.1. Put first the big ideas, then the 3 major turns, starting with midpoint

6.3.2. If Act III is too light: resolve 6 things that need fixing

6.3.3. Fill Black Holes

6.3.4. Regroup sequences into one (ex: chase scene)

6.3.5. Color coding

6.3.5.1. Per Character

6.3.5.2. Per Theme, imagery

6.3.5.3. C, D, E stories

7. 6 - The Immutable Laws Of Screenplay Physics

7.1. Save The Cat

7.1.1. Hero has to DO something that makes us LIKE him when we MEET him/her.

7.1.2. If hero is damaged good, make the bad guy worse

7.1.3. Ex: Aladdin, Pulp Fiction

7.2. The Pope in the Pool

7.2.1. Bury the exposition

7.2.2. Create funny/entertaining situation during boring exposition

7.3. Double Mumbo Jumbo

7.3.1. Only 1 piece of magic per movie

7.3.2. Ex: Spiderman, Signs

7.4. Laying Pipe

7.4.1. Too much backstory

7.4.2. Ex: Minority Report

7.5. Black Vet aka Too much Marzipan

7.5.1. Black veterinarian and war veteran

7.5.2. No! Only one concept at a time

7.6. Watch out for that Glacier

7.6.1. Bad guys closing in too slowly

7.6.2. Ex: Dante's Peak, Outbreak

7.7. The Covenant of the Arc

7.7.1. Every character arcs

7.7.2. Only bad guy doesn't change

7.7.3. Success in stories is accepting change. Inspires the audience to change.

7.7.4. Ex: Pretty Woman

7.8. Keep the Press out

7.8.1. Breaking the 4th wall is risky

7.8.2. Advice from Steven Spielberg

7.8.3. Inviting the news breaks the secret

7.8.4. Ex: E.T (yes), Signs (no)

8. 7 - What's Wrong With This Picture

8.1. Don't be lazy, fix it, rewrite it

8.2. Tips for fixing

8.2.1. The Hero Leads

8.2.1.1. Avoid passive hero

8.2.1.2. checklist

8.2.1.2.1. Hero's goal clearly stated in set-up?

8.2.1.2.2. Hero seeks out clues or do they fall on his lap?

8.2.1.2.3. Active or Passive?

8.2.1.2.4. Other characters tell hero what to do?

8.2.2. Talking the Plot

8.2.2.1. Use Subtext

8.2.2.1.1. Subtle. What is not said is more important

8.2.2.2. Show don't tell

8.2.2.3. Characters don't serve you, they serve themselves

8.2.3. Make the Bad Guy Badder

8.2.3.1. Ex: James Bond vilain

8.2.3.2. 2 halves of same person

8.2.3.3. Matching power and skills

8.2.3.4. Advantage to the bad guy, looks impossible to beat

8.2.4. Turn, turn, turn

8.2.4.1. Acceleration, not velocity

8.2.4.2. Intensify tension

8.2.4.3. Reveal more and more

8.2.5. Emotional Color Wheel

8.2.5.1. Emotional Roller Coaster

8.2.5.2. Not one note, all the emotions

8.2.5.2.1. Lust, frustration, fear, sadness

8.2.5.3. Use color coding

8.2.6. Hi how are you, I'm fine

8.2.6.1. No Mundane

8.2.6.2. Engaging characters talk differently than real life

8.2.6.3. Every character must speak differently

8.2.6.3.1. Test: hide character names and read

8.2.7. Take a step back

8.2.7.1. Error: caught in end result

8.2.7.2. Story is about change/journey

8.2.7.3. Take each character all the way back

8.2.8. A limp and an eye patch

8.2.8.1. Pb: minor characters don't stand out

8.2.8.2. Solution: add a limp and eye patch!

8.2.9. Is it primal?

8.2.9.1. Would caveman understand?

8.2.9.2. Basic needs: protect family (Die hard), Protect home (Home alone), find mate, revenge, survival...

9. 8 - Final Fade In

9.1. Ambition vs Fate

9.1.1. Agent

9.1.2. Get out and sell yourself

9.2. Preparing the Field

9.3. Soul Eating First Contact

9.3.1. Every sale has a story

9.3.2. It's about you. Show your face

9.3.3. In person > Phone Call > Query letter > Email

9.3.4. Build reputation. Think long term

9.4. Networking

9.4.1. Film festivals

9.4.2. Classes

9.4.2.1. Ex: production classes to meet producers

9.4.3. Screen-writing groups

9.4.4. Become an expert

9.4.4.1. Write film critics

9.4.5. Come to LA

9.4.6. You.com

9.5. Don'ts

9.5.1. Screenplay contests

9.5.2. Stupid tricks

9.6. Marketing hit and miss

9.6.1. During spec sale era: specialty presentations (ex: nuclear family box, blank check backpack) to set mood

9.7. It is what it is

9.7.1. Persevere, today might just be "the day"

9.7.2. Give it your best, then let it go