BPS 102: Save the Cat! How to Write an Indie Screenplay with Salva Rubio

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Save the Cat! How to Write an Indie Screenplay with Salva Rubio

The impact that Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat® book series has had on Hollywood screenwriting is incalculable. Rarely does a book change the way screenwriters approach story and structure. In his best-selling book, Save the Cat! Goes to the Movies: The Screenwriter’s Guide to Every Story Ever Told, Blake Snyder provided 50 “beat sheets” to 50 films, mostly studio-made.

Now his student, screenwriter and novelist Salva Rubio applies Blake’s principles to 50 independent, auteur, European, and cult films (again with 5 beat sheets for each of Blake’s 10 genres in the book Save the Cat!® Goes to the Indies: The Screenwriters Guide to 50 Films from the Masters.

If you’re a moviegoer, you’ll discover a language to analyze film and understand how filmmakers can effectively reach audiences.

If you’re a writer, this book reveals how those who came before you tackled the same challenges you are facing with the films you want to write. Writing a “rom-com”? Check out the “Buddy Love” chapter for a “beat for beat” dissection of Before Sunrise, The Reader, Blue Is the Warmest Color, and more to see how Linklater and Krizan, David Hare, and Kechiche and Lacroix structured their films.

Scripting a horror film? Read the “Monster in the House” section and discover how 28 Days Later and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre are the same movie – and what you need to do to write a scary story that keeps audiences on the edge of their seats.

Want to execute a great mystery? Go to the “Whydunit” chapter and learn about the “dark turn” that’s essential to the heroes of The Big Lebowski, The French Connection, and Michael Clayton.

Want your protagonist to go up against an evil “institution”? Consider how Mamet handled Glengarry Glen Ross and Tarantino’s famed Pulp Fiction.

Writing a “Superhero” story? See how Susannah Grant structured Erin Brockovich, Anderson & Baumbach worked out Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Gilliam & Stoppard & McKeown laid the foundation for Brazil.

With these 50 beat sheets, you’ll see how “hitting the beats” creates stories that resonate the world over for these outstanding writers—and how you can follow in their footsteps.

Salva Rubio is a novelist, screenwriter, and author. He has been nominated at the Spanish Goya Awards for Best Animation Feature. As a graphic novel writer, some of his works have been published in America, including Monet, Itinerant of Light (nominated for an Eisner Award), and The Photographer of Mauthausen. Salva is an associate member of the WGAW (Writers Guild of America, West) and a member of the Academia de las Artes y las Ciencias Cinematográficas de España.

Enjoy my conversation with Salva Rubio.

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