I’ve read “Save the Cat!: The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need.” and enjoyed it. Learning the formulas made me aware of the poor creative decisions in films, when it’s so obvious what something dramatic has to happen at a certain point in the plot. After reading this article I felt proven right to put books on screenwriting in the how-not-to category.
Take, for example, Blake Snyder’s wildly popular screenwriting guide, “Save the Cat!: The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need.” Snyder provides step-by-step instructions, as a Lego set does, on how to assemble the necessary 15 pieces of a movie, with each piece representing an important moment in a script (“Set-up,” “Midpoint,” “Bad Guys Close In”) that, when snapped together in the right order, builds the ideal movie.
The movie industry has corrupted one of cinema’s — if not all of fiction’s — most emotionally taxing moments into hollow formula, the kind of thing that passes in the blink of a plot point leading to a literal, if not figurative, explosive finale that takes up half the budget. Considering this, it’s odd that death’s killer is the new, risk-averse economic logic of Hollywood.