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A Tribute to Blake Snyder

With some of Blake's friends, colleagues, and students


Screenwriting guru Blake Snyder died on August 4th. This is our tribute to him.

There was no one in the world like Blake. He helped so many people become better writers. He was always upbeat, ever offering encouragement and support. He was a treasure, and we will miss him.

Some of the contributors:

Sandi Craig Lisa Rothstein Paul Brannigan Jeffrey R. DeRego
Kathie Fong Yoneda Michael Wiese Dr. Debra Holland Wayne of Wendy and Wayne
Barbara Schroeder Paula B. Bob Schultz and Signe Olynyk

We've organized the tribute around Blake's 15 story beats:

  • Opening image
  • Theme stated
  • Set-up. Introduce or hint at every character in the "A" story.
  • Catalyst. The first whammy. Shakes the hero.
  • Debate. The hero doubts the journey she must make.
  • Break into two. Hero makes a choice.
  • "B" story. Love story. Discusses the theme of the piece.
  • Fun and games. Set pieces (trailer moments). The promise of the premise is fulfilled.
  • Midpoint. Stakes are raised. Time clocks are set in motion.
  • Bad guys close in. These bad guys are both internal and external villains.
  • All is lost. The false defeat. Something must die (not necessarily literally).
  • Dark night of the soul. All hope is lost.
  • Break into three. New hope emerges. The hero chooses to fight.
  • Finale. The hero forges a new way.
  • Final image. Transformation is complete.

In his 20-year career as a screenwriter and producer, Blake Snyder sold dozens of scripts, including co-writing "Blank Check," which became a hit for Disney, and "Nuclear Family" for Steven Spielberg both million-dollar sales. His book, Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need, was published in May, 2005, and is now in its tenth printing. It has prompted standing-room-only author appearances in major cities around the world.

Apparently the book is not quite the last book on screenwriting you’ll ever need. The sequel, Save the Cat! Goes to the Movies: The Screenwriter’s Guide to Every Story Ever Told, published in October, 2007, shot to number 1 in the "screenwriting," "screenplay," and "movies, history and criticism" categories on

Blake's Save the Cat! interview on The Writing Show

Blake's short Writing Show commentaries include:

Date: August 23, 2009
Running time: 49:27
File size: 24 megabytes
Rating: G
Blake Snyder's Web site:


Purchase Blake's books at