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Journey of a Screenwriter
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
RIP Blake Snyder
A few years ago I was struggling to make any headway at all in my career. A friend suggested I read Save the Cat by Blake Snyder. He called it the best screenwriting book he'd ever read. I decided one more screenwriting book in the library wouldn't hurt so I bought it. The first thing I noticed was that Blake had actually written a movie I'd heard of, Blank Check. This was advice from somebody who had navigated the labyrinth of Hollywood and had come up with a million dollar sale. I read everything in the book, did all the exercises, came up with a few loglines. Somehow I got his email address (I think my friend gave it to me or I looked it up online) and sent him my loglines. I was shocked when he responded in just a few days. And it wasn't a standard boilerplate criticism about how I needed to study the craft more (and should probably attend his next seminar for a low reduced rate!) No, he just came out and told me what he honestly thought. He even gave me his cell number so we could discuss it some more! I called and I found him warm and supportive and eager to discuss my not so brilliant career. Then he gave me the best piece of advice I ever received about screenwriting. He asked me what my best script was. I tried to explain it to him but it didn't fit neatly into a logline. He asked me, "Are you writing for yourself or are you writing to sell?" That was the light bulb finally going on in my head. After that I was laser focused on creating projects that could sell. A few months after that conversation I got my representation. My reps took one of my scripts to the Disney Channel (passed because it was too much like a previous movie), they had me turn another of my scripts into a novel which is making the rounds, and I've more projects in the wings. I may not have crossed that finish line but I'm no longer stalled and wondering what the hell I should do. And in a very real sense I owe so much of it to Blake.
I'm sorry I'll never get to thank him properly. I'm sorry for people who are just now discovering his book. They won't have the opportunity to talk and communicate with the witty and generous man behind the beat sheet.
I just exchanged emails with him two weeks ago. Our exchange ended like this:
BLAKE: Really appreciate your support! You da man!!
ME: No. You da man!
BLAKE: :) Ha! Thanks!!
Robert McKee never called me da man.
I will miss Blake Tremendously.
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