How to Finish Act One

How to Finish Act One

I’ve written before about the first ten pages of a screenplay, and touched on the nature of the Catalyst (which the Save the Cat “beat sheet” insists should happen on exactly page 12). But I haven’t yet focused on its “Debate Section” —...
Fun & Games Section

Fun & Games Section

Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat books called the first half of a screenplays second act the “Fun & Games section.” This is where the action shifts to an “upside down world” of some kind, where the main character will try to confront their overall story problem/goal....
Who is My Antagonist?

Who is My Antagonist?

Many writers believe their story needs a villain — a single character who is the main source of opposition in the story, or the primary “bad guy.” Since arguably all stories have a “protagonist,” don’t they all need an “antagonist”? I don’t believe they...
Main Character’s Problem/Goal

Main Character’s Problem/Goal

The main character of a story has a problem they want to solve. The main character of a story has a goal they want to achieve. Which is it? It’s either, and it’s both. The main character has a problem and/or a goal. Sometimes people refer to it as the...
Out of the Bottle

Out of the Bottle

I see a lot of scripts these days where the writer initially depicts the main character as kind of a selfish jerk. This is on purpose, because they want to “arc” them to a better, nicer person in the end. I get this desire, as many of the best movies feature powerful...
Changing the Game

Changing the Game

In any story, the problem gets worse in the middle for the main character. Or at least it gets more complicated, more difficult, more dangerous, etc. They are generally not “winning.” They’re overmatched by whatever they’re involved in. The difficulties of...
Dude with a Problem

Dude with a Problem

They’re trying to kill me! That’s what’s happening in the most misunderstood of the ten “genres” in Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat books. “Dude with a Problem” is misunderstood because of its name, which really describes every story. Movies are always...
Institutional-ized

Institutional-ized

When developing a screenplay (or series) idea, I’m always looking for what the main problem is. The one big problem that is really hard to solve, which becomes the main focus of the narrative. It should have huge stakes, which are not just internal, but external in...
Golden Fleece

Golden Fleece

A “team” goes down a long “road” in search of an important “prize.” These are the key elements of the movie genre that Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat books call the “Golden Fleece.” Inspired by The Odyssey, such stories track progress over time and/or space...
The 8 Story Problems

The 8 Story Problems

There are only so many types of situations a human being can be in, that are big and relatable enough to base a movie on. As I see it, successful scripts generally have one of 8 essential challenges or story problems for their main character, when you boil them down...
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