Monthly Archives: July 2012

“Save the Cat” by Blake Snyder

This seem to be turning more into a book review blog than a film blog, but the books about film are just too good to not talk about. My earlier read, “What They Don’t Teach You In Film School” finally got me off my arse about learning to screen-write. See the post about that book if you more details on that.

The book is really quite interesting; I literally know nothing about the technical/literary elements in a screenplay and probably should have read Syd Field’s screenplay first, but this book was definitely clear enough in what needs to be known without getting very pompously didactic. (Big words there =). It got me excited about writing something while I was reading it, to the point that I truly wanted to put the book down and go write a few of the ideas I’ve had.

Even writing about the book has me wanting to go refine my logline some more. Hopefully I can get some semblance of irony into one of the two I’m working on.

“What They Don’t Teach You at Film School”

I was getting so inspired by all of the awesome things I’ve been learning on the Fields Afire set this summer, that I finally broke into my giant pile of film books that I’ve been meaning to read. I made the incredibly good decision to start with “What They Don’t Teach You at Film School” by Camille Landau and Tiare White. it’s freaking awesome. I connected instantly with how they approach problems and challenges, especially the mental. I haven’t actually finished the entire book yet, but the first chapter is dedicated to all of those annoying things like self-doubt, fear and the motivation behind why you want to be a filmmaker. The Freudian analysis weirdly made sense, like most Freudian stuff. You don’t really know why it sounds right and logically it shouldn’t but it just kind of does.

The second section finally got me to get off my butt and start working on screenwriting. I want to be a producer, but a lot of articles/books/whatever I’ve read said that to produce you also need to write so that you actually can have something to produce. Well, I’d kind of acknowledged that but not really taken it to heart until this one. The stories they tell of people who have a wonderful short that makes it big, but nothing to follow it up with had the effect on me I needed.

So I went out and bought:

Syd Field’s “Screenplay”, the 2005 revised edition

“Save the Cat!” by Blake Snyder

A huge, lined, leather bound notebook.

And, of course, a ballpoint pen.

As I’m currently paying off a debt (I managed to total my neighbor’s stone mailbox, and those things aren’t cheap to replace) I wanted one of those writers exercise books with all the weird prompts but didn’t want to have to buy it. Then I realized that I could just make up exercises for myself. So my goal, (until I think of something better) is to write one scene on whatever I feel like every day. Hopefully that will work, and I can get the hang of dialogue so that I can move onto working on an idea I had. Hopefully while working 10-12 hour days I can start writing a scene every day and finish that book.