NYC Screenwriters Collective Message Board › Did "Save the Cat" ruin Hollywood??

Did "Save the Cat" ruin Hollywood??

A former member
Post #: 1,026
In my opinion, that issue of Snyder’s less intellectual, straightforward style is the argument within Suderman’s argument, and why a lot of smart people—screenwriters included—agree with Suderman.

Because Suderman’s argument could also be viewed like this:
1.Save the Cat has a straightforward approach to writing.
2.This makes it easier for average people to write movies.
3.Movies are bad.
4.Therefore, the problem is allowing average people to write.

Of course, the problem is that no one knows how to make a hit movie or even a good movie. If people in Hollywood knew how to make excellent movies, that’s all anyone would make.

Writers with tremendous intellects—geniuses, even—have written scripts that turned into “bad” movies. Just ask two-time Oscar-winner William Goldman (Butch Cassidy, The Princess Bride). I’m choosing him because few writers are as accomplished or respected, and he’d be the first to admit that he’s written some scripts that, for one reason or another, were disappointing movies (e.g., Memoirs of an Invisible Man).

I suspect that this issue of intelligence is what’s really going on for Suderman and the writers I know who agree with him. Movies made for a wide audience often don’t meet the standards of smarter people like Suderman. And it can feel frustrating to care about movies and to see that, for example, Taken 2 made $376M and Haywire only made $33M. But this has nothing to do with Blake Snyder.

So the next time you see a “bad” movie, don’t blame Blake Snyder. Remember that the script is not the movie, and that movies are incredibly hard to make.

Then, cherish the great movies that you love even more.
Mike P
Mikepalma
New York, NY
Post #: 138
Guys I think you're all missing a key facts.
1) Blake did not "invent" STC per se. He studied hundreds of successful movies in several genres and condensed his findings into the STC format. Hundreds of great films were already written BEFORE STC, Blake did a great job of codifying those beats into a concise and clear methodology. In short, STC can't ruin Hollywood because it's derived FROM Hollywood.
2) The "Original three act Story Structure" is thousands of years old and proven in those tales (literature, plays, films and TV) that have survived the test of time. This "Structure" does not ruin the story either. The writers job is to be creative within the structure. Although writers have experimented with different structures in the past (four act, five act, non linear etc), the 3 act structure endures. Personally I believe the human mind is genetically constructed to absorb information in 3 well organized steps. (think of a common Joke or Riddle- set up/ build up/ pay off) or Logic (Premise/ Condition/ Result).
3) Finally film is a collaborative art. Dozens or hundreds of people contribute to the finished product. The script is a critical piece but it's just the scaffolding for a completed project that will take input from all those sources. Saying the "Script" killed a film makes about as much sense as saying the costumes killed the film. The one component that is most critical to the success of failure is the director, whose vision drives all the rest of the output.

Mike P.
Dave
user 3341706
Brooklyn, NY
Post #: 192
Guys I think you're all missing a key facts.
1) Blake did not "invent" STC per se. He studied hundreds of successful movies in several genres and condensed his findings into the STC format. Hundreds of great films were already written BEFORE STC, Blake did a great job of codifying those beats into a concise and clear methodology. In short, STC can't ruin Hollywood because it's derived FROM Hollywood.
I agree with the premise of what youre saying - he analyzed what worked.
2) The "Original three act Story Structure" is thousands of years old and proven in those tales (literature, plays, films and TV) that have survived the test of time. This "Structure" does not ruin the story either. The writers job is to be creative within the structure. Although writers have experimented with different structures in the past (four act, five act, non linear etc), the 3 act structure endures. Personally I believe the human mind is genetically constructed to absorb information in 3 well organized steps. (think of a common Joke or Riddle- set up/ build up/ pay off) or Logic (Premise/ Condition/ Result).
nobody's saying the 3-act structure is bad, they're saying that a script HAVING to have a "theme stated" on page 3, and having to have a "dark night of the soul" and a character having to save a cat is limiting and going too far and I have to agree. McKee's 5 sequence structure is way better and allows for much more creative freedom.
3) Finally film is a collaborative art. Dozens or hundreds of people contribute to the finished product. The script is a critical piece but it's just the scaffolding for a completed project that will take input from all those sources. Saying the "Script" killed a film makes about as much sense as saying the costumes killed the film. The one component that is most critical to the success of failure is the director, whose vision drives all the rest of the output.
yeah i agree.
However, the real problem is Snyder's taste. He admires films like Liar Liar and Legally Blonde and Miss Congeniality (hmm, wonder how many people wanted to be screenwriters after they saw any of those films..), and his own scripts - Blank Check? It was well structured I guess but the characters were 1-d at best. And no, I don't think The Godfather would have been Even Better if plot point 1 happened on page 25. In Snyder's world, there would never be an intro scene like that one from The Godfather. Instead there would be more movies like Blank Check - neat, trite little movies with no real distinction or personality. Movies you forget the minute the credits roll. Snyder's beat sheet is kind of like training wheels for screenwriters - at some point you have to graduate from it.
David N.
dnegrin
Group Organizer
New York, NY
Post #: 651
"The Lives Of Others" has a perfect Beat Sheet structure including a Theme Stated in the first 15 minutes.

Antagonist: "That's what we all love about your plays. Your love for mankind. Your belief that people can change. Dreyman, no matter how often you say it in your plays, people don't change."

It's one of the most flawless screenplays in recent years. Not exactly the same genre as Blank Check.

--David
Dave
user 3341706
Brooklyn, NY
Post #: 193
"The Lives Of Others" has a perfect Beat Sheet structure including a Theme Stated in the first 15 minutes.

Antagonist: "That's what we all love about your plays. Your love for mankind. Your belief that people can change. Dreyman, no matter how often you say it in your plays, people don't change."

It's one of the most flawless screenplays in recent years. Not exactly the same genre as Blank Check.

--David
David, that's an amazing script that does follow a classical Hollywood structure. BUT I can find at least a few things in it that break the so-called rules that are foisted upon the aspiring scriptwriter community, starting with the fact that the protagonist is the narrator, not the guy actively involved in the central struggle. Or is he the protagonist? If so it should be told from his POV? That's what made that film distinctive - it found a different way of presenting a story. If it was just told from the theatre directors POV, it would have been decent but a sense of yeah, we've seen something like this before.
Many script consultants and probably Snyder and Truby would have taken issue with the narrator/protagonist situation in that film and they would have found the logline a bit problematic too. For writers to rigidly closely follow a set of rules or beats - and discount anything that doesn't check the boxes of their rule set - and production execs to do the same - is a disservice to the creativity of the writer and the wants of an audience. Anyway that is my two cents.
David N.
dnegrin
Group Organizer
New York, NY
Post #: 656
The Bitter Script Reader chimes in...

"Why Save the Cat didn't destroy screenwriting: it's all been done before"

http://thebitterscrip...­

--David

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