Snyder focuses on the common sense basic dramatic ingredients that one way or another need to be operating in your story if it's going to work. He uses the Hollywood insider lingo and even has a long glossary of terms at the back of the book he's labelled "From A to Z, a review of every slangy expression and Hollywood-inside-the-310-area-code term."
In my opinion, his Chapter 4 is one of the most valuable. It's titled "Let's Beat It Out," presenting a simple, easy to follow breakdown of how a story in one way or another needs to be structured for a screenplay.
You may find his overall approach too "Hollywood" for your own approach to the writing process, but the book still serves as a good and concise review of the basics--something I find useful from time to time.
p.s. Snyder also has two companion books that have appeared since. They are Save the Cat! Goes to the Movies: The Screenwriter's Guide to Every Story Ever Told (2007) that breaks down structurally fifty successful films of the last forty years and Save the Cat! Strikes Back: More Trouble for Screenwriters to Get into...and Out of (2009) that further refines his approach to developing viable stories for the screen. Both are also well worth a look.
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I'm the Program Director of the low-residency MFA in Writing for Stage and Screen being offered by the New Hampshire Institute of Art. Our next residency runs January 3-11, 2016 and we are now considering applications for starting the program in January. I'm also a playwright and screenwriter, producing partner in my production company Either/Or Films (The Sensation of Sight and Only Daughter), and a professional script consultant.
Yes, it's a great book for first-time screenwriters - especially if they're new to breaking down stories like this. I've taught the Snyder Beats to my screenwriting class, and it's been very effective for them. I used a different book for the actual class text, but I think I'm switching next time around.ReplyDelete
(PS- I still use a little book called The Playwright's Process for my intro to scriptwriting classes...)
Thanks, Joe, for the comment and for the little plug for my own book. I'll be taking a look at other books on scriptwriting as time permits the rest of the summer. --BuzzReplyDelete