Movies – What the “Save the Cat” Screenwriting Method is All About?
The book SAVE THE CAT and it’s sequel (STC GOES TO MOVIES) made quite a wave within the last few years and for a good reason — both are great books for all screenwriters, written by the industry veteran Blake Snyder. When a professional Hollywood screenwriter makes millions of dollars by selling dozens of screenplays, we’d better listen.
The basic idea is this — if you’d like your viewers identify with your main character and root for her, show her doing something nice, noble, heart-warming, like saving the cat
I was just watching BOURNE SUPREMACY (thrillers are my favorite). Bourne is shot down into a river by an assassin while his girlfriend is driving his Jeep. She is mortally wounded and bleeding under water. Jason first extracts her out of the Jeep and then pushes air from his lungs into her mouth in an desperate attempt to save her… don’t you like that?
I don’t know about you but I’m a softie and such scenes really warm my heart. Yes, Jason Bourne is a trained killer but anyone loving a woman to the extent of jeopardizing his own chances of survival can’t be that bad, correct? Why? Because he just “saved the cat”! You get the idea.
All great movies show the protagonist saving one “cat” or another from some kind of tree. It works. So whatever you do just don’t forget to show your hero doing something that would help us like her, even if she ends up doing nasty stuff in the rest of the story.
Remember Alain Delon in his classic LE SAMOURAI? The man is a contract killer yet he keeps a canary in a cage and he really cares about that canary perhaps because that lonely bird is the only thing he’s got in life close to a “friend”…
Have your hero save the cat, the bird, a loved one, or something precious and worthwhile. That’s a rule you should never forget to write screenplays that touch us and move us.
May all your cinematic dreams come true.
If you love movies and would like to write movie and entertainment reviews like this you might want to check out the excellent power-writing guide at http://www.powerupwriting.com. And here’s a good site for free movie plot and characterization ideas: http://scriptboiler.blogspot.com