Thursday, August 6, 2009

Blake Snyder, a screenwriter's teacher.

In our office at writing is a daily endeavor and both the quality of what we write and the mechanics of what we write are under constant scrutiny. As the creator of our internet content, I look on our output as our identity, and constantly seek to stay fresh, relevant and well practiced in our craft. With every word we write, indeed with each day we live, we are telling stories. To those ends, I'm personally ever on the lookout to increase my awareness of new techniques, philosophies and approaches toward creating more effective and entertaining ways to put those stories in print.
While our posts and our website comment on the movie industry, its personalities, stars and products, my personal writing also includes writing for film and television production. This past June I attended a writer's pitch festival in Los Angeles and had the very good fortune to meet Blake Snyder.

Blake is a successful screenwriter and author and is noted as one of the most successful "spec" screenwriters in Hollywood. He is also a celebrated and sought after contemporary screenwriting teacher and author of the book Save The Cat! which has become a new reference standard for both novice and experienced writers of film. While in LA, I was able to attend one of Blake's Master Classes and was looking forward to extending that experience by attending a seminar with Blake in New York City later this month.

Unfortunately, our office received word yesterday that Blake died from cardiac arrest on Tuesday morning. He was just 50. Remarkably, he had already contributed enormous insight to the art of character development and story structure in regard to writing for film.

Building on foundations set years earlier by teaching masters like Syd Field and Robert McKee, Blake approached the craft of screenwriting with a sense of movie business practicality. His philosophies embraced solid foundations and clean, clear structure. Blake's innovation of the "beat sheet" is a milestone in understanding screenwriting structure and joins tools like Syd Field's story paradigm as essential elements for screenwriters to gaining greater understanding of their craft. His emphasis was also on the thrill and enjoyment of creating a satisfying journey within the writing experience and his charismatic, jubilant and infective enthusiasm was central in his presentation, and in his writing style.

Any writer contemplating writing for the screen, novice or expert, can thankfully continue to benefit from Blake's work by reading his books or reliving his projects on DVD. We recommend Save The Cat! with great enthusiasm, while his second book, Save The Cat! goes to the Movies, follows up by pointing out the principals in his techniques as they appear in Hollywood films that are readily available to re-watch and review on DVD and download. While in LA, Blake hinted at releasing a third book and was actively engaged in further screenwriting projects. You can get more information about Blake and his work by visiting his blogsite on the web at

To Blake's friends and family, to his students and to his admirers... we join with all of you in celebrating a man who loved his work and shared that enthusiasm and joy with all of us. To Blake, as it will be for so many others, each beat resonates clearer and stronger for your inspiration. Thanks.

writer/editor for

1 comment:

  1. Sad. Way too much talent leaving this world lately.


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