BWW Book Reviews: SAVE THE CAT! By Blake Snyder


SAVE THE CAT! The Last Book On Screenwriting That You'll Ever Need, by Blake Snyder.

I intend to review several mini-genres of theater books in this column, anecdotal, critical, nostalgic, historical- but all share The Common thread of risk, social relevance and of great storytelling structure.  

I remember when I was in college, (proudly at Western Michigan University), I was taken aback by the sheer amount of heavy books I had to purchase for my classes.  I’m proud to say 90% of them reside in beautiful oaken bookshelves in my home office.  These books represent the nutrients that exist beyond the classroom.  I will attest that learning the craft and beautiful art of live theatre require a hands-on environment.  However, ruminating on the musings and instructions of your predecessors (who are probably smarter than most of us) whilst sitting with your required reading is ESSENTIAL.    

I want to begin this column journey with a book my writing partner mailed to me (via Amazon!).  “Save The Cat”.  The concept is simple and concise. This is a book about how to turn an idea into a great, sellable story.  What separates it from the other shelves of writing books is that it addresses the need to make positive choices in your writing style.  Meaning- it’s better to save the cat, than to kill the cat when you are constructing a narrative. Snyder makes a case that a positive choice aligns the viewer with the protagonist (a device that seems to be lacking in many modern properties).  Of course this is a broad metaphor, but if you open up your creative iris, you start to drift towards its central theme.  How many movies or plays end without redemption?  (Self-nerd exception “The Empire Strikes Back”).  

More From This Author

Greg Reuter Greg is an accomplished Broadway professional who has been seen as Lord Farquaad in Shrek The Musical, Billy Flynn in Chicago, Sir Galahad in Monty Python's Spamalot, Leo Bloom in The Producers, as a principal dancer in Fosse, as well as being featured in the 2001 revival of Bells Are Ringing and Disney's Aida. He has also worked as a backup singer for Liza Minelli and was in the 1st National Tour of Joseph... As a writer, he is currently writing and developing two television series, one with master puppeteer John Tartaglia, and one with master comedian Mark Teich. He is also an original cast member of the all Broadway hit improv show- Don't Quit Your Night Job.