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Sunday, October 12, 2008

I've been dipping into SAVE THE CAT. I don't usually read screenwriting books, but a dear showrunner friend of mine has been using the Save the Cat steps to plot out movies, so I thought I'd check it out.

As I do in my book, Blake Snyder believes that the hook is the sink or swim part of your screenplay. He has two nice points to make about the hook:

It should be ironic. E.g. in PRETTY WOMAN, a guy falls in love with a hooker he's hired for the weekend. In DIE HARD, a cop's bad visit with his wife gets a lot worse when terrorists take over her office.

You should be easily able to see the movie from the hook. Any pro screenwriter could write a decent movie from either of the above hooks.

I am not sure that every great hook is ironic, unless you stretch the definition of "ironic"; I'm not sure what's ironic about the hook of SPLASH or WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING. But a great hook definitely gives you a good story in a nutshell.

I'll point out more of Blake's good ideas as I continue on through the book...

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I'm looking forward to that.

I've been thinking forever about getting this book but the amazon reviews didn't help me much. I get suspicious when people basically repeat the tagline (i.e. This Is the Last Screenwriting Book You'll Ever Need) and seem to think structure is everything. On the other hand, I've read "Bah, screenwriting mustn't be this formulaic" comments on a number of books I've found really useful.

By Blogger OJ (not that one), at 7:20 AM  

I read this this book, based on how much the reviewers loved it... but was a bit disappointed. What I look for in a writing book is a different angle to look at story from, and this book came off as a formula to get a script sold.

Granted, I'm not looking to sell scripts and work fulltime as a screenwriter... but everything I've learned about story and film tells me that the formula is useless unless the story is about something... and you can't use a formula to come up with that core of meaning.

By Blogger Emma, at 11:15 AM  

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