Screenwriting the “Save the Cat” Way

Cat wearing sunglasses relaxing in the sea background

I’ve been longing to attend a “Save the Cat” screenwriting workshop for many months. I’d heard great things about this disciplined approach to storytelling. I was not disappointed.

The content was developed by the late Blake Snyder, billed as “one of Hollywood’s most successful spec screenwriters” and author of several popular “how to” books. My instructor was Ben Frahm, likewise a screenwriter with an impressive track record in the entertainment business.

I have more to learn about creating a “beat sheet” that translates a three act piece into fifteen key events to ensure drama, pacing and appeal. I am still reading books and articles about this approach. It is comforting to know that tools exist that can help versus hinder a novice fiction author. Staring at a blank page is not for the faint of heart.

One message that particularly resonated with me is that a writer is unlikely to be commercially successful if the end user is ignored. Know the target market. As an entrepreneur and someone who has developed several products from scratch, this makes perfect sense. One can only sell what someone will be willing to buy.

As Ben so eloquently said, the artist’s job is to create something that hopefully keeps moviegoers in their seats, waiting with bated breath for the next “can’t miss” moment. These are wise words, especially today with keen competition from other artists and fickle consumers who have plenty of ways to pass their time.