Kill The Cat – The Awful Influence Of The World’s Worst Writing Guide

The terrible writer who is directly responsible for every major movie being formulaic rubbish.

Although passing away in 2009, screenwriter Blake Snyder continues to be one of Hollywood’s most influential figures. Adored and praised widely by industry insiders, Blake’s work lends its name to a *ahem* ‘prestigious’ screenwriting competition, he has been posthumously honoured by the Writers’ Guild of America, and there are even tributes to him in the end credits of several movies around 2010.

The son of Emmy-award winning TV producer, Kenneth C.T. Snyder, Blake broke into feature film writing with the award-winning Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (1992). A true classic that currently holds a 4.3 rating on IMDb, an 11% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and has been mocked endlessly by its star, Sylvester Stallone. Those awards? It picked up a handful of Golden Raspberry Awards.

Snyder would go on to pen one more movie. Along with Colby Carr, Snyder wrote 1994’s Blank Check: A family comedy produced by Walt Disney that opened at #3 at the US Box Office behind Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and The Getaway. It would later win the accolade of Buffalo News’ Worst Movie of the Year. Snyder never wrote another film… at least not any that were produced.

If you’re paying attention (and I don’t blame you if you’re not), you’ll have noticed that I opened this by declaring Snyder is one of the most influential figures in Hollywood, yet he’s responsible for two bad movies. How can it be that such a man wields such influence a decade after he died? Well, when Blake wasn’t writing terrible films, he was busy scribbling down his guide on how to write great ones – Save the Cat.

Along with David Trottier’s The Screenwriter’s Bible, Save the Cat is one of the most highly-regarded and respected guides on the craft of screenwriting. It’s required reading in any number of film schools. It’s cited as the book budding screenwriters simply must own by a great number of producers. Trawl almost any aspiring screenwriter community, and there will be champions urging others to drop $10 on Save the Cat.

Personally, I wouldn’t trust somebody who has demonstrably failed to do their job correctly to write a how-to guide on how to do their job. It’d be like asking George W. Bush how we can ensure the stability of the Middle East for future generations and then doing exactly everything that muppet says. Nonetheless, despite the absurdity of it all, Save the Cat, first published in 2005, has become one of the biggest influences on a generation of writers, producers, directors, and studios.

Snyder uses the book to attack films he believes aren’t doing things right. He cites Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life (2003) as an example of a flawed movie that isn’t following his tried and true structure. While I won’t dispute it’s not a great film, it holds a higher IMDb rating than either of his movies and made more money than both combined, just about.

What is this failed screenwriter’s magic formula for writing the greatest movies? Let’s start with the title – Save the Cat. Snyder evidently believes that all movie audiences are intellectually challenged bumpkins who sit in theatres scratching their heads and get confused over which hole the popcorn goes in. To counter the problem of drooling simpletons gawping at the creepy moving photograph in front of them, Snyder proposes that in the first few minutes of any film, the hero needs to do something noble and nice – they need to save the cat.

Obviously, this works because no evil person in history has ever had a fondness for animals, have they, Hitler? Of course, it doesn’t need to be an actual cat. You just need the hero to do something such as help an old lady across the street, stop an armed robbery with a pretzel, or anything a one-dimensional cackling villain would never think to do because it would take precious time away from moustache-twirling.

Whatever you do, though, make it obvious. Audiences are far too stupid to figure out that somebody is a villain or a hero without an overt display of characteristics associated with one or the other. There is no room for interpretation, moral ambiguity will make people’s heads hurt, and this is the clearest neon arrow you can point at somebody to say ‘root for this guy!’.

Why on earth would you take advice on writing from the man responsible for this?

At what point in the original Ghostbusters did Peter Venkman ‘save the cat’? He’s introduced as an absolute dickhead who is electrocuting a college student because he’s hoping to abuse his power to cop off with another college student. He bullies Ray into taking out a mortgage to fund the Ghostbusters. His interest in helping Dana is purely driven by lust, and throughout the movie, he is sarcastic, ill-mannered, and kind of a twat. Despite not having the convenience of a signpost saying ‘cheer for this guy’, we end up cheering for this guy – despite all the reasons we shouldn’t – because he’s a well-written character, something that screenwriting guru Blake Synder evidently didn’t understand.

Snyder continues to offer his pearls of informative wisdom by discussing the structure of a great script. For some peculiar reason, Snyder thinks that you need to “break into [act] two” on page 20. Clearly, this means the Oscar-nominated screenplay for The Deer Hunter is a shit one in Snyder’s estimations because it definitely does not do that. Blake even says that when he’s reading a script, he doesn’t start on the first page like a normal person. He jumps straight to page 20 to see if they’re breaking into two. If they’re not, he discards the script.

Screenplays don’t use written act breaks. Some teleplays do, and stageplays obviously, but not screenplays. Thus, it’s almost impossible to tell whether the script has transitioned to act two without the context of the previous nineteen pages.

This nonsense is all part of Snyder’s widely acclaimed ‘Beat Sheet’. The Beat Sheet is a near page by page breakdown of what should be happening and when. It’s a blueprint for a script. Such a thing should occur on page 5, another should happen on page 10, get to page 15 and do this and so on.

We haven’t seen this, but my God…

Hollywood loves formula, which is probably why it loves Snyder’s Beat Sheet. To be fair, storytelling has a structure, and a structure tends to have a formula. At the most basic level, a story needs three acts – the Beginning, Middle, and End. Within those acts, there are certain requirements to meet. You can’t have a beginning without establishing what’s going on. You should have rising action in the middle. And the end should be an end.

Snyder takes it further and in a very problematic way.

Movies are often likened to rollercoasters. “An adrenaline-fuelled rollercoaster of action and sizzling sex!” or some similar shite is often used on promotional materials. So let’s use the rollercoaster analogy to explain why Snyder has ruined the art of storytelling in film. If you don’t like rollercoasters, you’ll probably get a bit bored here.

Our brains have one primary job – to keep us alive. When we go on a rollercoaster, we deliberately expose our brain to a massive amount of information that suggests we’re in immediate peril. The brain responds by filling our system with the adrenaline we’d need to get the fuck outta there and by triggering the fear response to try and convince us to get the fuck outta there. It has no concept of what a rollercoaster is, so it doesn’t really understand we can’t just vacate our seat without imperilling ourselves further, nor that we’re not in any real danger.

Imagine we’re at a magical theme park without queues. We have a fun time on a rollercoaster and immediately decide to go again. This time it won’t impact us as much. We might get a smaller rush of adrenaline and a more muted fear response. It’s not only because we remember it; it’s because the brain is figuring out the pattern.

By the fourth or fifth time, the brain has concluded that this poses no threat. It has identified a clear pattern, and providing that pattern remains consistent, it’s no longer going to bother treating this as an emergency. Sure, if the car detaches from the rail on round five, it’ll respond the way it initially did for the few moments of life we have left. But otherwise, it’s convinced there’s nothing to respond to because we’re not in any real danger. We don’t get the adrenaline hit. No fear response. It becomes tiresome to us.

Our brain looks for patterns in everything to build its own internal threat model and respond to it accordingly. If you’ve been mugged, your brain remembers the conditions you were in when it happened, and if it spots them again, it will immediately go into a high alert mode regardless of whether you’re in actual danger or not.

So when you watch a movie, and you accurately predict everything that’s about to happen before it happens – even the supposed twists – that’s your brain kinda taking the fun away because it’s got enough information to draw parallels between what it’s seen before and what it’s seeing now. It’s why jump scare-laden horror films lose effectiveness to horror fans. Your brain learns the tricks of writers and filmmakers and then sets about ruining everything for you. Because it knows when the jump scare is coming, it primes itself to not respond to it.

It is part of the reason nostalgia is so powerful. Those early experiences when we were still giving our brain something new to process far outshine the more recent ones when we really do feel like we’ve seen it all. And it is why Snyder’s lauded Beat Sheet is such a fucking problem.

Following this Beat Sheet is the epitome of production line writing. It inevitably grows stale because it’s nothing more than a pattern that doesn’t give the brain anything new to work with. The Beat Sheet is the product of a crap writer who never understood how the brain responds to a stimulus, and that’s probably why he was such a crap writer. You can’t be a successful storyteller if you’re incapable of emotionally investing people in that story. If you don’t understand how emotions work, you’ll never be able to do it, and you’ll end up writing Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot and Blank Check.

A movie lover reacts to watching yet another Beat Sheet-driven production.

That studios, script analysts and the industry as a whole are so in love with the Beat Sheet bullshit is the reason that us old farts in our thirties are so jaded towards the output of the Hollywood crap factory. We had already seen the latest movies ten years ago, albeit with different titles.

But can it change? Not with Hollywood. Originality is a dirty word to studio executives who would rather spend $100m milking the fuck out of a pre-existing audience than a tenth of that on trying to build a new one. Remakes, reboots, comic books and the rest of it are the order of the day because anything else is considered too much of a risk. So they’ll continue to abide by failed screenwriter Blake Snyder’s Beat Sheet because the idea that there is a simple, one-size-fits-all structure to a massive Box Office return is comforting, and the unknown is a danger their brains want to shield them from.


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  1. Not for nothing are filmmakers’ manuals proudly self-proclaimed as ‘bibles’ – they seem to have all the hallmarks of inflexible religious doctrine, including the scare tactics to prevent you from choosing the path less followed.
    I want to see more movies which show signs that even the writer doesn’t have a fucking clue what’s going to happen next…

  2. I recently watched the Nostalgia Critic review of Blank Check – a film that has its tween lead getting off with a grown FBI agent. Eeeewwww!

  3. In my days in the pit, a beat sheet was something you wrote out in conjunction with the outline, after the pitch. It was meant to be scene by scene, not page by page, and meant to give you an easily followed structure so you could see what needed moving or eliminating or needed to be added. We often used cue cards for this (some writers rooms still do.)

    There was another saying then, too: kill your darlings. Harsh, but you can find weaknesses in a story by yanking characters and bits you’re overly fond of.

    Still, don’t blame Snyder’s terrible book by itself. The MBAs of no talent have been lost in greed since they realized a schlockfest potboiler opening wide could pad their bank accounts, meaning that the crapfest really started in the early 1980s and has been worsening in the forty years since.

  4. Because God knows there was no formulaic trash coming out of Hollywood before these books.

  5. “Blake even says that when he’s reading a script, he doesn’t start on the first page like a normal person. He jumps straight to page 20 to see if they’re breaking into two. If they’re not, he discards the script.”

    The above piece keeps referring to Synder in the present tense, though it notes early-on that he’s been dead for twelve years. That, more than anything else, is the ultimate Revenge of the Living, and we may all take great comfort in that.

    But just imagine if the notorious Edward Bulwer-Lytton had written a how-to manual containimng inviolable rules to constructing a can’t-miss early 19th century novel (that would demonstrated beyond any doubt that the likes of Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, the Brontes, Victor Hugo and Leo Tolstory were not up to the task). That’s what the equally notorious Snyder has done for us and Hollywood.

    Thaks to him, in the screenwriting trenches it was — and remains — A Dark and Stormy Night.

  6. By and large, I agree with your points. The only screenwriting book I’ve read was Syd Field’s, which focused on structure and developing themes.

    Note: “Electrocute” means “kill with electricity”. (Simple formation from “electricity” and “execute”.) Stop using it to mean “shock”.

    1. According to Oxford Languages, which is the dictionary used by Google, ‘electrocute’ means to injure or kill somebody with electricity. It doesn’t specify how injured they need to be, though I would argue that at the very least, Venkman’s antics caused that poor lad significant (albeit temporary) mental injury.

  7. Bashing a dead guy for writing a book on one possible method to write a screenplay. Way to keep it classy. Disgusting.

    1. You’ve not been here before, have you? Half the people on these pages are dead, or dying, or something. People die. It doesn’t change what they did when they were alive, nor does it change the impact that their actions as a living person had.

      Take Mary Whitehouse, for example, who I recently described as somebody so repressed that every time she coughed, her bajingo farted dust. She’s been dead for a while, but her legacy lives on in the form of the Video Recordings Act and while that legacy remains, I’m going to say things about it.

      And Blake’s legacy lives on, in his book, and in his movies. Both of those movies. One of which Sylvester Stallone still mocks to this day, and the other which features a 31-year-old woman sharing a romantic lip lock with an 11-year old boy.

      I am genuinely curious, though… does Ed Wood being dead mean that Plan 9 From Outer Space is no longer a bad movie? Are we going to get to the point when everybody involved in Gigli is dead and we’re no longer allowed to regard it as a steaming pile of festering horse dung? How does this whole not allowed to say anything negative about dead people work? Is Henry VIII a saint now?

      1. Thank you Kath for torpedoing this book. Years ago I was trying to figure out why every movie was virtually a carbon copy of every other movie. Eventually I discovered “Save the Cat” was the culprit. I tried to read it years ago and gave up on it. It was virtually a paint by numbers guide to writing. The proof of the pudding, just look at Disney’s “Cruella” followed the book to the letter and flopped. While “Loki” and “Wandavision” nuked the book and became run away smash hits with the audience glued to the set from beginning to end of the series.

  8. Unfortunately, script readers are brain-washed into thinking a screenplay must follow the formula, or the script gets tossed. In North America, anyway. In Europe they don’t bother much with “rules.” And now, the audience has the attention span of a gnat, so if there isn’t a car chase or a sex scene in the first 5 minutes, the viewer will switch over to the next bit of titillation available.

  9. Forget what audiences truly want! “An original idea” is an anethema to Hollywood.

  10. You make some fair criticisms of STC. Blake can come across rather dogmatic about structure. But I have to take exception with one thing. The ‘Save the Cat” scene is not intended to identify the hero. It’s to make the hero sympathetic. These are two very different things. The audience will usually figure out who the hero is. Though I have seen my share of films were it wasn’t always clear. But will they like the hero? Will they root for the hero? Will they care if the hero fails? That is what the Save the Cat scene is intended for — to get the audience on the heroes side.

    1. I’d argue if you’re deliberately trying to make a character sympathetic through a show of niceness, you are attempting to identify them as the hero. While I appreciate your point there is a difference between a hero and a sympathetic hero, I’d still say that at the core-level, you’re telling an audience that you want them to ‘root for this guy’. Often you’re doing that because you’re not convinced that the next 90-120 minutes of storytelling will adequately give the audience cause to root for the guy so you’ve created a fallback point.

      Unless one-dimensional to the extreme, a character is a weave. They’re a collection of experiences, traits, viewpoints, strengths, and weaknesses that combine to create them. The more you invest time in establishing what makes a character tick, the easier it is to engender sympathy without resorting to such cheap emotional manipulation. An audience will inevitably side with the person who they feel represents the side they’re on within the confines of the story’s world.

      The mantra of ‘save the cat’ is a crutch for people who don’t understand what a simple photograph on the wall can say about a character. What the contents of a fridge can say about a character. What the contents of a trash can say about a character. What a particular quirk, manner of speech, physical tick, etc. can say about a character.

      While films rely on action to tell the story, characterisation can be accomplished in any number of ways, many subtle but equally as powerful as saving a cat. It’s a visual medium and too many writers who follow guidebooks and mantras forget that you can fill that visual space with all sorts of clues that can reveal a character’s true nature and make them sympathetic.

      Of course, I get it. Storytelling in film is increasingly rushed. The days of slow-builds are gone. Scenes generally last no more than two to three minutes without a cut to something else. So why spend time on characterisation when you can just have somebody do something nice and get the audience to say ‘Oh what a darling!’.

      But it’s still treating the audience like idiots because a hero doesn’t have to be sympathetic from the off. A hero can, and really should, earn that sympathy as they move the story forward – not with some irrelevant display of nicety, but with who they are and what they do. Rather than try and drop the hero bomb on somebody’s head in the first few minutes, writers should be providing enough for an audience to conclude more organically that this is the person that they want to root for.

      People are drawn to interesting people. It’s why some villains end up overshadowing the hero; not because no effort was made to make the hero sympathetic, but because the villains just ended up being more interesting and very few of those villains are saving cats.

      1. I completely agree you. The STC scene is a gimmick that relieves the writer from the burden of flushing out his character. Thank you for clarifying.

  11. So let me see if I have this right…

    A self-styled movie reviewer with zero writing credits to her name takes a swipe at a dead guy who, despite his shortcomings as a writer, is more successful than she’s ever been or might aspire to be.

    Reminds old me of an old aphorism:
    Those who can, do.
    Those who can’t, teach.
    Those who can’t teach, criticize.

    ::shrug:: you keep doing you.

    1. Zing! Wow, that’s put me well and truly in my place.

      I’m… I’m gonna need a minute here. ‘Scuse me. Deep breaths. In and out. In and out.

      Okay… close there. Almost had a panic attack from being so thoroughly smacked down by… sorry, who are you?

      I actually do have paid writing credits. Several of them. One under this name for a non-fiction essay. Most under another. None as a screenwriter yet, I admit. As a screenwriter, I do have a script under option, and I have had multiple scripts reach development slate consideration. Want to know the most common reason I get rejected? “Great, but too original”.

      Maybe I should self-publish a book based on somebody else’s IP?

      As for the concept of “success” – well, it’s a nonsense. The only person you need to answer to in life is yourself. Snyder undoubtedly felt he was a success, and whether he’s alive or dead, I can’t take that away from him.

      Am I a success? Well, I’ve spent my life as an unpaid carer to my disabled mother and I’ve still managed to get three degrees (hooray for the Open University!), sell pieces of writing, and I’ve almost wedged that industry door open… so maybe not a success in my eyes, but I’m quite happy where I am.

      Thanks for the permission to keep doing me, by the way. Lockdown without my girlfriend has proven quite stressful, as I’m sure you can appreciate. Doing me has been the only way to keep me sane!

    2. It doesn’t matter to me how successful or unsuccessful a person is. If their argument has merits, their argument has merits. Kath was unnecessarily harsh on Blake in the original piece, but the clarifying reply to my post was spot on to me.

      There is no denying the dogmatic and formulaic nature presented in his books. Syd Field was similarly dogmatic in his approach. I don’t think either of them were right or wrong. It’s just their opinions. Unlike Kath, I don’t see this as reason to criticize Blake or Syd. Just as I wouldn’t criticize any other writers technique.

      No matter what he wrote in his books, it’s still up to each individual writer to decide for themselves how to write their own screenplays. If they follow his methods to the letter, that’s their decision. And maybe that works for them. Maybe it even works for you. It doesn’t work for me. My view is they may be unnecessarily constraining their own creativity. In my opinion, the story needs to shape the screenplay, not the other way around. I took from Save the Cat and Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting what was of value to me and I discarded the rest — as I would imagine most everyone else has done.

      Unlike Kath, I don’t believe Blake or Syd are responsible for todays writing. I think Hollywood playing not to lose has more to do with it. They know what worked before and they want to recreate that success. Blake wasn’t the cause of this, he was a symptom of it. He was just the guy who wrote the blueprint for what Hollywood was already doing. Save the Cat was published in 2005. That decades after Hollywood had already started making formulaic movies. Hell, Syd’s book came out in 1979. If Kath wants to blame anyone for this, Syd is more to blame. Not only did Syd’s book come out decades earlier, Blake credits Syd for his foundations of structure. The very structure that became Blake’s beat sheet.

      1. While Blake may not be responsible for the structure, or every formulaic movie made before him, he is responsible for perpetuating that structure.

        I’d have no issue with Blake if he was just another of these self-styled writing gurus self-publishing their regurgitated advice for a quick buck on Amazon to a limited audience. I counted about fifty of those nitwits once, all repeating some random blogs with their biting insights about “show, don’t tell” and ill-sketched twaddle about “voice”.

        Blake isn’t that. Blake published regurgitated writing advice to a much wider audience. Many of those writers who got their break since 2005 didn’t read Syd’s book, they read Blake’s. The script analysts sifting through the pile of scripts in front of them didn’t read Syd’s book, they read Blake’s. The guys holding the decision making positions are the ones who have grown up in the Save the Cat world. Because a presumed authority has told them that’s what they need to be looking for, that’s what they’re looking for.

        Once the wheel is spinning, it’s less about who started it and more about who is keeping it going. Blake’s the one who has kept it going, and in ten or twenty years, I’ve no doubt there will be another Blake Snyder repackaging Blake’s repackaged advice to the next generation. I already know of a few budding young Blake’s today; one of whom is pretty open and honest that if you want to make it in Hollywood you need to write uncreative trash. Which he then did. Fair play to him.

        Meanwhile, I sit here constantly getting told my scripts are great but too original (because originality is a fault, apparently). Evidently, over-structured, simplistic, and derivative pisswater is what I need to be writing to appeal to the vast array of numpties out there who think that storytelling needs to adhere to rigid and unflinching boundaries. That’ll be fun.

        At least if I sell it I can buy enough whiskey to lament the fact I’ll have turned into everything I hate.

  12. I see your point and I understand your frustration. I have heard similar complaints from other writers. But I still feel that Blake and STC are a symptom of the problem, not the cause. Even if Blake’s acolytes are perpetuating and perhaps even exasperating the problem, it’s the studios, production companies and agents calling for it.

    Blake wrote his book based on his understanding of how the industry works, not the other way around. He was interpreting what Hollywood was asking for, then he wrote a guidebook based on his interpretation. If he had never written it, Hollywood would still be asking for what they’ve been asking for and other writers would have written clones of STC, as many already have.

    If I had to list the things I thought did the greatest harm to screenwriting, Blake’s book would be a distant second or third to the summer blockbuster. It forever changed how the studios pick which projects to develop. And that has had a much greater impact on screenwriting than anything else.

    Firstly, it introduced a never before seen amount of money from a single film. Secondly, it almost simultaneously introduced the summer blockbuster flop. But the quest for obscene money overrode any fear they may have had about making a flop. Instead it made sense to make fewer artsy movies, so there would be more in the budget to risk on the summer blockbuster. Every studio had to make one. This forever altered how screenplays were evaluated and which were bought and for how much.

    Sure, they’re ecstatic if they mange to make another My Big Fat Greek Wedding or Get Out, but are they cultivating such films? Not so much. Marvel has exasperated this tenfold. Black Widow was/is a spy. She isn’t super-powered. They could have made a movie based on the actual attributes and backstory of the character, but they made a 200 million dollar special-effects juggernaut instead. Why, because they want to make another 400-900 million dollars at the box office. A Black Widow spy film, even though it would be more true to the character, wouldn’t necessarily gross that much. Not unless they tried to make it like a Mission Impossible movie. But the Mission Impossible movies didn’t earn as much as the Avenger movies, so why risk that?

    Personally, I think a complexed, deep and intriguing Black Widow movie would have been great. It would have cost half as much to produce if not less and probably would have earned around the same based on the popularity of the actress and the character. But Hollywood and Marvel would never have risked that. Their brand is high octane action and special effects. They aren’t going to deviate from their model. And the MCU may have started with Iron Man in 2008, but this really goes back to Spider-Man 2002. That was when Marvel realized they can be in the blockbuster business as well.

    1. I understand there is a tendency to view Marvel as this all-consuming monolith these days, but that isn’t what I’m talking about. Marvel/Disney don’t really factor into the problem. They are an extension of it, but they’re basically the late/terminal stage of the illness.

      I’m talking about the very roots of the film industry.

      A writer, such as myself, writes a spec script. Now, we have to deliberately write low-budget material. We can’t write a two hundred million dollar movie because nobody is going to pick it up. Why would they? Nobody knows who the hell we are and without any name recognition, nobody will take that risk. If you want to make a two hundred million dollar movie, then you either need to be a well-known Hollywood name with a slew of Box Office successes under your belt, or the likes of Jennifer Lawrence, Tom Cruise and Christopher Nolan need to owe you some pretty big favours and agree to sign on.

      That in itself is quite reasonable. It makes sense that you have to earn the right to go a bit nuts with somebody else’s money.

      But Hollywood and Hollywood-aligned independent studios still make an awful lot of $5-$25m movies. Just look at any streaming service and see how many movies have been made in the last few years that you probably didn’t hear about when they hit the theatres. They’re low-risk, relatively low-budget, and usually have one B-list actor, or a former A-lister who just wants the work to provide the name; Woody Harrelson used to do a fair few of these movies. They’re the movies that the studios knock out because it takes two years to make their $200m spectacular, and they’re alright absorbing that risk because even if it bombs at the Box Office, streaming licenses, physical media sales, rentals, and other such residuals will mean the majority of those movies will turn a profit eventually.

      The $200m spectacular is their “put it all on black” spin of the wheel at Vegas to try and get an instant return, but they still make a lot of movies that are essentially long-term investments that won’t yield immediate returns but likely will over time, and those over-time returns are useful not only to provide multiple revenue streams, but also because they help the big tax fiddle that is Hollywood accounting.

      However, even though these films are low risk, the people who give the greenlight are obsessed with the structure. If you don’t want to blame Blake for that, that’s fine, but he’s effectively a teacher who has taught a generation – and not just writers, but script analysts, and directors, and producers, and everybody involved in the process – that there is one way to do things and everything else is, if not wrong, then certainly worthy of a raised eyebrow and a shudder.

      And when all of your aspiring writers are writing to the structure, then that will have a domino effect throughout the entire industry – from the low-budget $5m entry film, to the $40-$50m “on my way!” production, all the way through to the end-stage which is the $200m blockbuster and thus the structure is cemented for another generation, and everything else… well, maybe if you’re writing some artsy piece you can find a sympathetic director who’ll shoot it for a packet of skittles and it’ll end up on Mubi one day?

  13. I had to laugh at your comment “us old farts in our thirties” I must be a reincarnation then at 73!

  14. That was an enjoyable read, made me laugh in a few places, thanks for sharing.

    I agree with much of the specific issues you mentioned, but on the whole, I wonder if you’ve misdiagnosed the issue. Blake’s observations of what seems to work for Hollywood execs is no more the sustaining cause than is Campbell’s articulation of the hero’s journey the reason so many stories continue to follow that pattern. There are exceptions, of course (*ahem* Star Wars).

    As for the particular beats, his guidelines fail in the same way as all “rules of writing” do, if they are taken as strictures. The goal is always to understand what a rule or guideline is accomplishing from a storytelling point of view, and then you can apply that by any means you find useful, or choose to disregard it, knowing the potential pitfalls introduced by doing so. For instance, when he calls for the character to save a cat, the reason is to build sympathy. That is a good thing to have in mind =>if you want a sympathetic protagonist<=, but you can accomplish it however you wish, and with any degree of subtlety you prefer. You’re not following a formula, you’re taking storytelling insight from patterns that work.

    The only other observation I’d leave is, I don’t think you should hang your thesis on the fact that he wasn’t very accomplished. That makes any of us who are also not very accomplished without the grounds to voice our own opinion on the matter. I think you pointed out enough of the problems with taking his guidelines literally that the thesis could have rested on that.

    1. I think when anybody purports to speak as an authority, an examination of their credentials supporting that claim is reasonable. I’d argue the failure to critically examine people’s credentials is why we live in a world where muppets started torching vital communications infrastructure due to the ill-educated ramblings of random blogs and Rubik’s Cube Man.

      Heck, I’m not even speaking as an expert. What you generously describe as a thesis is merely a silly article I scrawled out in a couple of hours largely for amusement purposes. However, that simple point notwithstanding, it hasn’t stopped an entire FB group of rather angry people either commenting on here or dropping into my inbox to give me some grief over it, largely based on what they perceive to be my own lack of credentials. And they’re welcome to that opinion.

  15. I think understand what you are saying and you have me nearly convinced. I’d like to push back one last time. Thank you very much for indulging me. This has been a very interesting and informative debate.

    My main objection has been that STC didn’t come out until 2005 and therefore couldn’t be the cause of this Hollywood syndrome plaguing the writing industry because it had already started years earlier. That Blake was merely ahead of the curve in seeing the pattern Hollywood had wittingly or unwittingly developed, and he wrote a guidebook based on his observations. The formulaic writing systems, and obsession with sequels, trilogies, franchises and blockbusters were all the inevitable consequences of this syndrome.

    It is the Ford Motor Company and assembly line manufacturing applied to writing. That’s how it works, doesn’t it? You have a product. There is demand for this product. Inevitably someone comes along and tries to figure out how to make more of the product faster. And naturally they want the new product to work as well as the previous product, so they try to imitate what worked without (hopefully) being a blatant ripoff. Talent is not inexhaustible, but replication is.

    There, that’s my final plea in Blakes defense. I welcome your feedback. But I would also like to pose a question.

    Blake didn’t write STC until 2005, but he had already long since been a considered a highly successfully spec script writer dating back to the early 90s. It is true only two of his scripts were ever made into movies, but he sold several others. How much influence might he have had on the industry as one of the more successful spec script writers? Could he have been the drug dealer providing Hollywood with their fix of safe, albeit formulaic derivative schlock? Could the feeding of Hollywood’s habit have worsened the addiction?

    1. Yes, replication exists in almost every industry, but so does innovation and structural writing isn’t particularly innovative.

      I apologise for how long this is about to get.

      Let’s move away from films for a moment and talk about TV. Network TV has a structure that has served them well since the dawn of time… or you know, the dawn of network TV. That structure is just as repetitive as Save the Cat.

      At its simplest, the structure for a one-hour drama is:

      Teaser/Cold Open: Quick event that usually has something to do with what you’re about to see. There are far too many types of teaser to cover, but effectively it could be a crime being committed (often in a procedural), or a flash-forward to an event later in the episode to engage interest usually because the first act or two are considered a little dry (good example is the Breaking Bad pilot episode). Sometimes its exposition, backstory, or just a tease of some new character coming into the show. Whatever.

      Act One: Effectively the episode’s prologue. It’s the “where we are” – what are your characters doing, what’s going on in their world, what plans are they making and it leads into what’s about to change at the end of Act One.

      Act Two: Here is where the conflict starts emerging. We’ve had the ‘change’ moment at the end of Act One, now we’re in the response phase. Generally speaking, Act Two ends just as things look like they’re being resolved in the character’s favour until a bomb drops.

      Act Three: The lowpoint. In film, this is basically the midpoint of Act Two. Everything has gone to shit. The resolution we were heading to in Act Two is a red herring. In a procedural, this is where the cops who thought they had the scumbag in custody suddenly find they got the wrong guy, and they’re back to square one. Insert ticking clock or something because the killer strikes again, or whatever. It’s backs to the wall time, and it isn’t that uncommon for Act Three to end with even more hell.

      Act Four: Here it depends if we’re using four or five acts, but Act Four is generally the learning act that gives our leads an advantage and helps propel them towards the resolution. It’s the “fuck yeah!” moment as a SWAT team descends on Scummy McBag, or when the superhero figures out how to overcome the big bad’s big evil contraption and is about to bring the wrath of hell to their door.

      Act Five: If we’re not using five acts, this will often be an embedded tag at the end of Act Four. Heroes win! Scumbag in custody. World saved. Whatever. We resolve the outstanding plot threads of the previous four acts, our characters settle back into normalcy, and if there is a season or series-long arc we might insert a Tag to aid viewer traction into the next episode.

      Now, all of that is pretty generic, and while there is room for a little bit of maneuvering with where the major story beats go, in general, that’s how the Network TV script breaks down – and it kinda has to, because writers are writing to the commercial break. You’re not going to get somebody to sit through 3-5 minutes of ads unless you’ve got them on a hook.

      Then HBO comes along with The Sopranos, and they don’t need that structure because they’re not writing to ad breaks. Consequently, only a handful of Sopranos episodes have Teasers. Most just go straight to ‘Woke Up This Morning’. Many of them don’t even resolve plot threads in each episode, because they’re not telling a 60 minute story; they’re telling a 780 minute story each season.

      Then you eventually get the logical extension of that – Game of Thrones. Now, yes, this was already a book series but it attracted more TV viewers than readers. Why? I’d argue because it was completely unpredictable for a long time, and once it became predictable the audience started to lose interest. It goes against pretty much every established “rule” of visual storytelling. Ned’s the hero – he’s going to survive. Oh, wait, he’s just had his head cut off. Okay, right well that means it must be a revenge story, Robb will see justice done… oh, he’s just been stabbed in the gut. Stannis is here to kill Joffrey! Hurrah! Oh, wait Joffrey’s still alive. Okay, well he must die in Season 3…. oh. Goddamnit another season of Joff… oh, he’s dead! Yes!

      Until S6ish, you never really knew what was coming, and episodes themselves weren’t confined to little boxes. It was a sprawling narrative that while written to ensure certain plot beats happened in each episode, took the long-view approach with how those episodes are written.

      HBO has largely facilitated today’s Golden Era of TV. HBO showed that when you don’t have to give a hoot about ad breaks, you don’t have to give a hoot about the accepted structure and now we’ve got Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, and the rest replicating what HBO started.

      But within that replication, there is innovation. More and more, episodes are diverging from traditional accepted formulas and treating the first two or three episodes of a season as ‘Act One’ and because they’re doing that, a lot of these new streaming platform TV shows seem fresh and exciting. Streaming services are kicking Network TV’s ass, and while there is an element of nostalgia involved (The US Office is still the #1 show in the world – even after it ended), there are also a lot of people who have grown tired of the network structure because it is predictable so they’re getting their kicks from Man in the High Castle, Handmaid’s Tale, Stranger Things, etc. Look at the passion from fans when Netflix cancels yet another show. I’m not seeing that same level of outrage for Manifest or something.

      And that’s why I, as someone who has seen over two thousand movies, now prefers to watch TV and I’m not somebody who has been watching TV shows for a long time. I thought TV was shite growing up. Now, I think it’s the best medium for telling exciting, interesting, and surprising stories, and I now watch for more TV shows than I watch films.

      As for your question – I can’t really speak to what Blake’s reputation as a spec writer may have done, just as I can’t really speak to how much nepotism played a role in Blake becoming such a successful spec writer (remember that Emmy-award winning dad?). But I can see the effect Blake’s formula has had on movies; a medium I used to love but am increasingly bored with.

  16. Hi! Working screenwriter here who has a few thoughts on this article.

    First off, this characterization of Snyder is blankly unfair. A ton of things happen in production which effect the quality of the movie, but his goal of selling a script in Hollywood (twice!) is a feat which, for many unproduced screenwriters, sounds like a pipe dream. His goal, as he says often through the book, is to give a guide regarding how to write something which can sell- something which, evidenced by his career, he’s good at.

    Are there better screenwriters than him out in the world? Sure, probably. Does that mean that his career isn’t worth anything? Not at all. One’s ability in a craft shouldn’t disqualify them from teaching that craft. Obviously he’s a professional, and thus his advice would be warranted to anyone who hopes to be a professional.

    Beyond that, you paint a fairly inaccurate portrait of his actual book. Not only does he list out how his “Save the Cat” methodology isn’t nearly as arbitrary and clear-cut as you seem to envision- this method is only mentioned for a single page of the 200 page book! To hyper-fixate on this single point is unfair and a dishonest representation of the main points of the book.

    Granted, there are logic flaws in the book which, to a beginning screenwriter, could detract them. Using pages to determine beats, for example, is an inexact science that ultimately slows down the creative process. That being said, anyone trying to develop a craft should look for more than one teacher if they are truly serious about it. Every teacher will give some bad advice in their hopes to sound wise- it’s your responsibility as a student to separate the good and bad advice through use of second opinions.

    I didn’t come into this article meaning to outright defend Save the Cat. Personally, I didn’t much enjoy the book and, aside from a few tricks, didn’t take much away from it. Still, I felt it was a worthwhile read for me because it showcased different ways to tell a story. Sure, this way may be exceedingly rigid, but if you don’t feel it’s right for your story, you don’t need to use it. He’s offering a parameter for you to tell a story- not a prescription.

    1. The reason I ‘hyper-fixate’ on it is purely because it is the part of his 200 page book that Save the Cat is so often noted for. It is hurled around with gleeful abandon as though it stands as the gold-standard of structuring a story. It is held up in film schools, and writers’ rooms, and given to some analysts as a guide on what to look for.

      Yes, things happen in production. We know that, but a film starts with a script. It is all too easy to turn a great script into a crap movie. It is, however, very difficult to polish a turd – although to be fair, some scripts are turned into films that are far better than they had any right to be. Blake’s don’t belong in that latter category.

      I’m not denying that Snyder was successful at selling scripts. Good for him. I am lamenting the fact that his methodology has become synonymous with writing movies that it has contributed to the churn of derivative, over-structured, and uninspired films. That in itself is not entirely Blake’s fault; it’s a problem with Hollywood in general. Blake may merely have offered a formula, but I’m the customer, and when I see yet another film that has clearly been written to that Beat Sheet, well it’s not impressing me like a film should.

  17. Hi hi Kath -Looks like you did some background research on Blake but you left out significant information that’s widely available on Blake’s Wiki page – Snyder’s first spec screenplay sale was in 1989 for the script Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, which sold for $500,000 in a bidding war.[5][6] He went on to sell 12 more original screenplays and was named “one of Hollywood’s most successful spec screenwriters”.[7] Million dollar script sales include Blank Check, co-written with Colby Carr for Walt Disney Pictures, and Nuclear Family, co-written with James Haggin for Steven Spielberg/Amblin Entertainment.[8][9]

    If you can kindly update your article that would be great, if you are going to call Blake “failed” it’s only right to share his accomplishments and at least leave the audience to decide.

    You also describe Blake under his photo as “The terrible writer who is directly responsible for every major movie being formulaic rubbish” but you then mention David Trottier’s The Screenwriter’s Bible along with Save the Cat! as the most influential books on screenwriting – So is Blake directly to blame or is it David and Blake? Is David the good guy and Blake the bad guy? Why mention David at all ? Please clarify and perhaps again kindly consider updating your original article as Blake is either directly or indirectly responsible for the films you no longer enjoy.

    1. Hello Whisky Enthusiast,

      Let’s try and clear up a few misconceptions you have as we go through this.

      For starters, this is an opinion piece. It’s not an encyclopedic article. It’s not a biography. It hasn’t been written for journalistic purposes. And if all the sarcasm didn’t give it away, it’s not even 100% serious and some of it is hyperbole for effect. You know… things writers do sometimes.

      As one of my many detractors above has pointed out, people can and should research things for themselves. This is but one opinion that some people agree with and some people disagree with. And some people have expressed a desire to murder me over, which seems a bit excessive. But then some people who like the cut of my jib have requested loglines, synopses, and even some scripts – so that’s nice.

      As it’s purely opinion, I can choose to judge Blake Snyder by the scripts of his that were produced and made into movies, and conclude for myself he wasn’t very good. I’m not really interested in a bunch of scripts he sold to people that were never even produced.

      I can also conclude based on the sheer number of times I’ve encountered Blake’s philosophies, from one of my own degree courses, to writing communities, writers’ groups, forums, analysts, etc. that the philosophies he espouses in Save the Cat are a significant reason the overwhelming majority of movies made by Hollywood studios today are boring to me, and tbh, the average person who would regularly visit an online publication such as this one.

      Trottier’s less so. Want to know why? Because while Trottier does talk about selling your script, his advice is more geared to getting your ideas written in a way to make them compelling. In my opinion (since I apparently need to clarify things are my opinion now), Trottier has a broader focus on the language of a script. He goes more in-depth on formatting, answers more of the questions that aspiring writers might have. He’s similar to somebody like John August in that regard, only much of August’s advice is free.

      Save the Cat meanwhile is marketed as “the only screenwriting book you’ll ever need” which is a bold claim, and while I don’t dispute that Snyder covers some important aspects of screenwriting in his book, I do have some concerns over the legacy of that book. Hollywood is in the entertainment business and is regularly failing to entertain me. Why? That damn Beat Sheet, and we can say it’s a tiny little fraction of his book, but it is by far the most widely-noted thing to come out of it. Even people who never bought the book have usually heard of the Beat Sheet, and I can today see it being followed in many movies today.

      Second thing: as I mentioned elsewhere ‘success’ is a rather meaningless term because the only person you have to answer to is yourself. Everyone else will have their own criteria of what ‘success’ actually is. Of course, we can all still hold our own opinions on others but that doesn’t really matter to them.

      Still, when I judge whether a writer or a director is a success, it’s based on whether what the average of what they did in their field is good or not. I don’t care how much money they made: some great films bomb at the Box Office, and some pretty bad movies turn a fortune.

      I’ve got a script under option right now. I’ve been paid for that option. Yeah, not millions of dollars, but we make do with what we can get. Others have congratulated me on this. They think I should feel proud or accomplished, and maybe I did for half an hour, but the simple truth is that script isn’t a success until it’s made, and until the people I want to like it, like it. If that never happens, then that’s not a success by my criteria. Even if it gets made, makes hundreds of millions (ha!) but the people I want to like it, hate it, then that’s a failure. I will be a failed screenwriter, too.

      If your measure of success is purely related to the business side of things, by all means, consider Blake one of the most successful writers in history. But I don’t have to share that opinion, because I don’t share that criteria for what constitutes success. I don’t need all the galaxy brains out there to point out Hollywood is a business, I know that, but I’m personally more invested in the art of telling stories than the art of selling scripts. When it came to telling stories, the tangible evidence available suggests he wasn’t very good at it, and I’m clearly not the only person who holds that opinion.

      Maybe all his sold and unproduced scripts are brilliant? Maybe they’re the ones that should have been made? Until someone actually wants to make them, I’m going to keep the opinion I have because it is based on what I can see.

      Third point, I’m not responsible for everything on this page. The pictures are not chosen by me, nor are those captions written by me. I didn’t write the headline or subheading either. Please bear this in mind before making further passive-aggressive demands over what you think I should do.

      I’m also in no position to edit anything since I don’t have access to the backend of this website; nor do I actually think I need to edit anything I wrote as again, it’s just like, my opinion, man.

      1. I am no great fan of SAVE THE CAT, but the author of this article does not understand at all either the business of screenwriting (to repeatedly call anyone a “failed screenwriter” based on the reviews of their films really demonstrates that the author has not spent any time in this business at all) nor, it seems, the book itself. This article is trash.

    2. Ah, Joey, as I’ve already said elsewhere (including in the comment you replied to), if your sole critieria for judging someone as a successful screenwriter is based on how much money they’ve made, or how many scripts they’ve sold, then by all means, consider Blake a success.

      I, however, view screenwriting as the art of telling stories designed for the medium of film. A screenwriter who consistently writes poor stories has failed as a screenwriter, and is thus a failed screenwriter. It’s the problem you lot seem to have. You view your job as selling scripts, and only selling scripts, but the end product is supposed to be a bit more meaningful than that.

      It’s not a difficult concept to understand if you can separate art from money for a few moments.

      For example, EL James is a successful author if we take into account units sold and money acquired, but she’s not a successful author if we consider the standard of those books she’s been writing. Meanwhile, Franz Kafka, who couldn’t sell anything to anyone during his lifetime because publishers refused to take him seriously *is* a successful writer, even if he personally never got to enjoy that success while he was still alive. Ditto Emily Dickinson, or Edgar Allen Poe, or even people in other fields like Gregor Mendel.

      Of course, as Hollywood is incapable of separating art from money to the degree that it has an entire tax scam named after its behaviour, I can understand why business-minded people such as yourself cannot make that distinction.

      So to clear it up – I do understand the “business of screenwriting” and as a business, I think it’s trash. I think it leads to uncreative shite, “safe” sterile movies, and a staggering level of nepotism and cronyism. This utter bollocks might turn big profits because of market domination, but that’s like arguing that McDonald’s is the greatest thing in the food industry. A quarter-pounder with cheese might satisfy a craving for five minutes, but it’s still junk, as are most movies being made these days.

      But y’all keep doing that, because fortunately, you haven’t quite killed the real independent filmmakers off just yet.

  18. What most of the dissenters are saying is that once a screenplay is sold – it’s no longer in the hands of the writer. Remember when you mentioned that you don’t control the headline, the pictures or the captions of this article? Well that’s just a blog – limited money and limited people involved to bring your opinion to life. Not trying to be harsh but interview working writers – those who make a living at it. “Watch the Tales From The Script” and you’ll see the how tough it is from those like John August. People on this board aren’t dogmatic about Save the Cat! they are just sharing that Blake and just about any writer loses control of the story once sold – they may consult or be advised but film making is a directors medium. And even directors lose control at times especially when an A list actor like Stallone is onboard.

    1. In the theater, the playwright is God, and fiddling with the word on the page is blasphemy. In the cinema, the screenwriter is just another artisan, a supplier of narrative lumber to the story factory. There’s no guarantee that movie story resembles the story the screenwriter provided at all. The script gets freely reinterpreted, added to, deleted from, and reordered at every stage of production all the way through editing. Sometimes that’s a good thing, like with Star Wars. Other times it’s a disaster. It’s possible that *Batman and Robin* had a good script, but watching the movie you begin to wonder whether the editor had ever even seen a movie.

    2. And that’s quite a fair point, although I would dispute most dissenters have said that. Maybe they have on some random forum that I’m never going to visit. I assume this article has managed to find its way to one or two since the amount of traffic on it seems to be far greater than we would normally expect (although I don’t have the hard numbers. I’m just going by the comments on here and in my inbox – I don’t really care enough to go looking to find out).

      I’m aware that once you’ve sold your script, it is subject to all sorts of changes, touch ups and the rest. So I’ll be fair – even though I’ve read the scripts for Blank Check and Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, I can’t be 100% sure which version of those scripts they are, or how many idle hands had added their own touches to them and expanded on Blake’s original work for better or worse. Fair criticism of my stance that I will gladly accept.

      But there is always a but – while the scripts do get altered, the general storyline is usually the same and what is Blank Check if not an uninspired modernisation of King Lear, the same way ‘She’s All That’ is just yet another uninspired modernisation of Pygmalion? As for Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, I admit that I can’t immediately think, off-hand, what that might be a modernisation of, but I do know that Arnie tricked Stallone into doing it. Thus, regardless of what changes may or may not have been made by the time it fell into Stallone’s hands, I’m going to hazard a guess that it was still pretty crap to begin with. As for Stallone, well he reckons a flatworm could have written a better script, which is a fairly damning assessment.

      The other “but” you’re all ignoring, while Save the Cat! may be the subject of my little diatribe, the real target are all of those people churning out their shitty, uninspired, over-structured, seen-it-all-before garbage scripts for a production line system run by suits that care nought for originality and creativity. No, the only thing they care about is the number of 0’s they can see. See, that’s the thing; people talk about the “business” but I’m not a film fan because I care about the biz. I’m a film fan because I care about film.

      I get it. Y’all don’t write movies for people like me. Us silly buggers who have literally watched thousands of the things aren’t the target audience. The target audience are the people who still think that going to the movie theatre is a fortnightly event, worth paying fifty bucks for a family to enjoy the cinematic equivalent of a Big Mac. While their little treat may leave them feeling temporarily satisfied, and good on them, the people who care about film beyond star names, CGI set pieces and the rest of it, we’re left famished after consuming what’s being offered to us.

      I don’t really care that much about Blake. Like I say, the article is deliberately hyperbolic in places but at it’s core, it’s a complaint about the system. Blake just happened to write one of the most famous and highly-regarded books on how to appeal to that system. But since I’m not a fan of that system, I’m not a fan of Blake either.

      The system may be financially thriving, but it is creatively bankrupt.

      1. Ha, you must giggle a bit that even in death, Blake Snyder is either directly or indirectly 🙂 responsible for your most commercially successful blog entry (and yes, we know you don’t care about those metrics)

        RIP Blake Snyder, a commercially successful screenwriter who dared to write a guide for writers who wanted to make a living as a screenwriter and those who have a desire for their work to be seen by as many people as possible (all stated in his forward).

      2. From a commercial perspective, this hasn’t been that successful. You might have noticed, we don’t have much in the way of third-party advertisements. This site is largely supported by nice people who buy the editor a coffee, support the site on Patreon, or buy Reprobate publications.

        Since my day job partly consists of knocking out blog posts for which I’m paid, usually (but not always) with better proofreading on my part, from my perspective, this article ranks as one of the least commercially successful ones I’ve ever written.

        A much more comprehensive victory for Blake is that given the comments this freebie has attracted, it definitely ranks as my least productive use of time all year. Heck, I’ll extend that to the decade so far although there’s still a long time left to engage in utter wastes of time. I haven’t watched Snyder’s cut of Justice League yet, for starters. Four hours… ffs… Who does he think he is? Sergio Leone?

  19. Modern cinematic mediocrity isn’t Blake Snynder’s fault. It’s the way things have always been. The fact that we remember screenplays being better is just memory survivor bias. Movies are a tough, hard-nosed business where intentions of artistic purity go to die; even great screenwriters end up working on mostly mediocre movies. We remember Julius Epstein for *Casablanca* and maybe *Aresenic and Old Lace*, but how many of us can name any others of the dozens of movies he wrote? If Epstein had died after he’d written *Twenty Million Sweethearts* and *Living on Velvet* by that evidence alone you’d say he was a mediocre hack.

    I also feel the book gets misrepresented, so much so I’ve got to think a lot of the people criticizing it haven’t actually read it. He didn’t say you *have to* “save the cat”; it was just a common preexisting movie trope that he put a memorable name to. The Save the Cat beat sheet is actually so generic it can easily be applied to movies that came out decades before the book. He wrote the book not because he’d discovered a way of constructing a screenplay in a paint-by-numbers fashion, but to describe the way the people in the industry already thinking about screenplays so that aspiring screenwriters could talk about and sell their work. Blaming him for coming up with a vivid description of all that is like blaming John Maynard Keynes for the Great Depression. It’s lazy cultural criticism.

  20. Hello Kath and all

    Please forgive any mistakes in my comment. English is not my language.

    I am one who is requesting Kath’s scripts. I have worked as director and producer on European independent films for over 20 years. I do not want other writers approaching at this moment so I am not revealing name here.

    I asked if Kath had any horror scripts and she sent one. I sat down to read this morning. Then I read again and see things I missed first time. She is very clever at writing little moments with big pay off.

    I asked colleagues to read it after.

    We all agree Kath, write more horror and check your inbox 😉

    Those who say this lady does not understand the business I can tell you she does understand writing. She establish more character in five lines of dialogue than many working writers can do in one hundred. Her action is beautiful and precise. Every word on the page earned.

    The story is excellent. No needless characters. Each character strongly developed. She makes them real. Every death wounds the reader as it should. She plays with her situations to fullest effect. She shows great understanding of emotion and depth. Her writing is grab you by balls exciting. Her script is fresh take and very VERY interesting and it leaves me shocked hours after.

    We want to work with you Kath.

  21. To be fair, Snyder called his beat sheet “BS2” – BS squared. So he knew what he was selling.

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