Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Beginning is a Good Place to Start

I am a fan of the Star Wars films - mostly the first three. The prequels are fine if you need something to watch while you're high. Or, as is the case here, if you're looking to warm up the old writing muscles/creative juices before digging into some serious writing. Whenever I have trouble putting the pieces together on the plot of a screenplay that I am writing, I like to look at a poorly scripted movie. It helps to know what went wrong, so you don't make the same mistake.

Clearly a lot went wrong with the prequels and it's kind of daunting trying to figure out where to start. But have a few things on my side: a stubborn nature and Blake Snyder. I'm pretty sure you know what stubborn means but you might not know who Snyder is...or was; he passed away in August of 2009.
Blake Snyder was a screenwriter based out of Los Angeles; his first spec screenplay sale was for "Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot!" He sold 12 more screenplays, including the Disney hit "Blank Check." His first book on screen writing was Save the Cat! The Last Book On Screenwriting You'll Ever Need (the term "Save the Cat" was coined by Snyder and I will go into that later on), in this book he stresses structure. The second book, Save the Cat! Goes to the Movies addressed genres that movies fall into; 50 landmark films were dissected and broken down into 15 beats (I'll go into beats later on, as well). A third book was published in November of 2009, titled Save the Cat! Strikes Back: More Trouble for Screenwriters to Get Into...and Out Of.
Snyder developed workshops - one of which my good friend Dynasty Blackburn attended; she became good friends with Snyder and his co-workers. He provided script analysis for Disney, DreamWorks, Laika and Nelvana. All of this is to say: Blake Snyder was one serious mutha. And I seriously respect his work.

Using the methods Snyder introduces in Save the Cat! I'm going to re-write all three of the Star Wars sequels. Wait! Where are you going?! Just...stick with it, I promise I will.

First order of business: None of this shit...