googlead166c37c697d4d3.html Glenn Ashton Author Blog: Save the Cat: Blake Snyder on the role of The Board

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Friday, July 29, 2011

Save the Cat: Blake Snyder on the role of The Board

In Save the Cat! Blake Snyder talks about a writer needing the beating ability –he describes it as a battle cry of Let's beat it out!
What's with the beat?
It's about structure, Blake says: something he learned only after writing screenplays for years:
It's a skill you must know... The craftmanship it akes, the patient work, the magic of storytelling on film, all come together in how you execute and realize structure.
He tells  how he came across Syd Field's Screenplay and found something that saved his career:
Oh! Three acts! Imagine  that? And yet, it was not enough. Like a swimner in a vast ocean, there was a lot of open water in between those two Act breaks. And a lot of empty script space in which to get lost, panic, and drown. I needed more islands, shorter swims.
His solution was to develop the Blake Snyder Beat Sheetclick here to see the actual beat sheet. As the number of pages in the average script runs at 110, there are 110 beats (pages) in the Beat Sheet, divided into 15 parts.
The Blake Snyder Board
How do you get to the beat sheet? You use The Board.
The Board lets you see what goes where, which character does what, and whether you need all the scenes or need new ones.
The Board is a blackboard or corkboard or notebook that divides the screenplay / book into 4 equal parts: Act One, first part of Act Two, second part of Act Two, and Act Three. In Blake's words:
It is the workout space where, using index cards, pushpins ... you can try your best ideas and see what they look like, and then begin to winnow them down. If done right, you'll end up with 40 scenes that make a movie ...
A similar approach is taken by Jennifer Jensen in her article Storyboards Help Track Plots and Subplots, and in the article The Board by Isaac.
So if you want to make your lot as a writer much easier, buy Save the Cat! and use Blake's Beat Sheet.
You might be pleasantly surprised by the results this discipline imposes on you.

Another version of The Board:

The Board

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