Reddit Reddit reviews Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need

We found 89 Reddit comments about Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.

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Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need
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89 Reddit comments about Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need:

u/Manwich3000 · 39 pointsr/Screenwriting

Start with these 3 books.




u/SomeonePickAHealer · 21 pointsr/Overwatch

Why couldn't you submit your script?

If turned into a video, it'd be about 1minute of footage. It's bare-bones and could use more polishing and details. In 7 pages of script, D.Va cries in 4 of them.

>despite having no industry experience

Save The Cat! is highly recommended if script-writing is your passion. Consider your first work a rough draft, and keep at it. Looking forward to seeing the animated version in a few months :)

u/tobeavornot · 16 pointsr/Theatre

Yes and no.

There are great books about screenwriting for the feature film like Save the Cat, but the recent upsurge in longer-form television writing required for the binge services (Netflix,Amazon etc,) stretches the conventions of these books.

The lessons learned in a college level script analysis class apply to all types of media using theatre as an example, and are generally grounded in classics. Many film-hopefuls don't know that understanding these classic forms tend to make the difference between truly great stories and stories that will fade away.

Taking a screenwriting class after or in conjunction will improve your ability to write in a variety of forms that might be required by the different story ideas that you might have. The industry is evolving almost as quickly as it did during the invention of film and later television.

You will need to understand the classical structures and ideas at some point during your career as a writer, and so I would heartily recommend a script analysis class. But then again, I'm a college teacher. Who teaches script analysis. And often acts in movies when directors and writers don't understand these classic forms.

Think about the possibility of hitting a home run without ever been told to keep you eye on the ball or step into the pitch. It's possible. But it's much less likely.

u/TotalTravesty · 14 pointsr/Screenwriting

There's nothing to it but to do it.

Well, there is a little more to it. Start by watching movies or TV shows or whatever it is you'd like to write. Watch them with a focused, critical eye, in a way you never would have thought before you considered screenwriting. Watch them as if they were pieces carefully constructed by deliberate, talented professionals--they are. Then read up on it. Most writers swear by Save The Cat but a little shopping around will show you all kinds of good material. Go back to the stuff you watch and see how closely it matches up with what you read.

Then, go about outlining your idea. Figure out the essential plot points (there's always debate as to just how many there are and where they belong in the story) and make sure they apply to your idea. Then get some free screenwriting software and get to work.

It's important to always stick to the conventions of screenwriting when you're a beginner. It's a medium that allows a great deal of creativity, but there are so many things that are industry standard for a reason (not just formatting but the placement of inciting incidents, second act turning points, resolutions, character arcs, etc.). Don't go thinking you'll change the industry by breaking all the rules. You're more than likely to end up with a bad script. It's art, but there are rules.

Since you're 15 you have plenty of time to go about it on your own for a few years. Hopefully you'll figure out if you really want to pursue it when it's time to consider schools and internships and the like. But whatever you do, have a blast!

u/incnc · 14 pointsr/Filmmakers

Do NOT go into debt for film school.

If it is payed for, then sure, it should be a lot of fun. But your reel already surpasses 95% of what I see from students who have already graduated film school.

If you are taking out money to go to film school.... dont. Student loan payments are one of the biggest obstacles when trying to launch a freelance career. Also, a film degree doesnt mean dick to most people in this industry. Unless you want to have a 9-5 at a studio or something. And thats stupid.

Use the money to:

  1. live for a year without having to take a job and start working for free on any set you can get on. This type of education far exceeds anything you will glean at a film school. By the end of the year you should have been


  2. use the money to make a low-budget feature. Your photography is already strong, now go buy:

    Absorb. Read again. Then write and shoot your own movies. It will cost less than film school, it will be MORE fun than listening to failed film makers telling you how to make movies, and it could potentially launch your career.

    Also, if you are ever in New Orleans, PM me and I will buy you a beer.
u/HybridCamRev · 11 pointsr/Filmmakers

Hi u/TopherTheIncel - here are my filmmaking "desert island" books:


u/dewknight · 10 pointsr/scifi

There are definitely guidelines. Some are strict, but many of them can be bent.

Your script says "awesome as fuck". I don't know what that means. I need you to explain it. What makes it awesome? That's how you have to spell things out in a script.

But great work on hammering out a screenplay! If you're interested, here are some good books on screenwriting:

u/Nick_Rad · 10 pointsr/TheNightOf

He's got 10 days to "Save The Cat."

u/Pixelnator · 9 pointsr/loremasters

This is pretty much the best answer. The more creative works you enjoy the more tools you have to tinker around with.

For example let's pick a completely arbitrary Star Trek TNG episode and make it work better in a fantasy setting. Season 5 Episode 15 is about a group of prisoners who have been converted into energy beings as punishment for their crimes trying to take over the physical bodies of the crew both in order to escape their prison and to regain the bodies they lost. At first the crew think they're helping what seem to be victims of an accident before realizing that they are in fact about to facilitate a prison break.

Already we have some really cool ideas for adventure plots. The idea of the party trying to help the villains by accident seems like a great idea and I enjoy the thought of having incorporeal beings pulling a fast one on the group. Since energy beings are a bit too scifi for a fantasy setting how about we swap them to be ghosts? And since ghosts are dead people it's pretty obvious that instead of being prisoners we can have them be bound spirits. Perhaps the party thinks they are helping a bunch of victims of a necromancers pass on to the afterlife when in fact the ghosts are members of a cult whose ritual went horribly wrong. Or maybe they were damned by age old clerics to haunt the mortal realm as penance for their crimes.

To introduce this plot TNG uses a distress beacon, the fast an easy solution to any space plot ever. We can substitute this as rumours and nervous villagers if we want to go a similar easy route or, if we want to be a bit more devious, slot it into any dungeon romp the party is currently engaged in. Perhaps they stumble in on the ghosts by accident while exploring some other plot lead?

This adventure could potentially end in multiple ways. Maybe the evil ghosts are released and the party has to immediately fight them to undo what they just did? Maybe the party realizes that something is fishy and turn against the ghosts? Maybe the party is actually super cool with releasing some evil ghosts into the world and they ally themselves with them to bring forth an age of death and misery? In the end it'll be the party who decides what ultimately happens.

And that's just a very straightforward adaptation. Once you have a large collection of ideas you can start combining them, twisting them, and mixing them up in interesting ways. Even if you don't do anything as active as this the stuff you've seen will be there in your subconscious to provide inspiration and a reference to compare against. An adventure to rescue a princess from a dragon probably didn't come to you out of sheer creativity. It came from having encountered the story before. Just start twisting it and playing with it to see what you end up with. Maybe the party has to rescue a dragon from a princess?

As for books, I've heard Save The Cat! is good. I've never read it myself though.


Play with plots you've seen or heard.

u/anlumo · 9 pointsr/IAmA

Have you read the book “Save the Cat!”, and if so, what do you think about the approach to screenwriting? Do you use it?

u/JimmyLegs50 · 8 pointsr/science

Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need by Blake Snyder

It's a good book, but many writers use it like a recipe book. It, and other books/articles like it, should just be used to examine what story structures are the most successful in film. In architecture there are certain basic principles that create stable and practical buildings, and storytelling is no different. There are plenty of exceptions, but most movies that resonate with audiences have certain elements in common. "Once upon a time...But then one day...All seems lost until..." kind of stuff.

u/BeowulfShaeffer · 8 pointsr/tipofmytongue

It was probably based on the book Save the Cat!. This Slate article was a pretty good review.

u/TheSufferingFilm · 7 pointsr/IAmA

The majority of the money came independently through individual investors. Of course, friends and family pitched in but the majority of it was plain old salesmanship. Rob and I both spent countless hours putting together professional sales packets going over the story of the film, the location, our experience, the financial possibilities, etc... A lot of salesmanship, but always being honest with potential investors.

We used Kickstarter sparingly having just hit a $5k goal recently for some extra finishing funds.

Screenwriting wise, Rob and I both are ardent believers in reading all scripts you can get your hands on. Particularly if they are films you have seen and are familiar with. It's the best way to understand how a script translates finally onto the screen.

Of course, reading Save the Cat, and one of my favorites,

"How Not to Write a Screenplay"

But to be honest, it's all about the story. It's what helped us acquire our investors. Having a story that was genuinely intriguing and frightening helped us reach our goal. However, the script doesn't come easily it took well over a year to work out from inception to completion.

u/trendyrendy · 6 pointsr/TrueFilm

Honestly, the easiest way is just to watch a lot of movies. You most likely know all of these basic patterns already.

If you're interested in story structure, try checking out Screenplay by Syd Field, Story by Robert McKee, Hero's Journey by Joseph Campbell, and Save the Cat by Blake Snyder (though I'm not crazy about this one)

u/120_pages · 5 pointsr/Screenwriting

Instead of thinking of them as rules, think of them as observed patterns. We see these patterns in many successful movies, so we look to them as best practices. Plenty of scripts go another way and work anyway.

You're talking about the moment in the script that starts the story. This is called the Inciting Incident, the Catalyst, the Start Of The Story, The Hero Meets The Problem, and many other terms. There's no uniform vocabulary in screenwriting.

The pattern we often see is that someplace around the middle of Act I, something happens which confronts the protagonist with the main issue of the movie. In a cop story, it's often when the detective gets the case. In a rom-com, it's when girl meets boy.

That's what your 17-minute rule means by finding out what the story is really about. The hero meets the problem of the movie.

Oscar®-winning screenwriter Michael Arndt has a good way of thinking about it. He says in the first half of Act I, we meet the main character in their ordinary world, and their future is set. They know what the rest of their life looks like. When the story problem runs into them, it changes the possibilities of their future.

In Star Wars, Luke is stuck on the farm, and he's not allowed to go to the Academy with all his friends. His future looks set -- he's going to be a backwater farmer and he hates it. When he meets Obi-Wan, he is offered a way to leave home and fight the Empire -- his future is changed. There are new possibilities.

In The Matrix, Neo is stuck in a dead-end day job, and spends his nights on the net trying to learn about Morpheus and the Matrix. His future looks set, and unsatisfying. When Morpheus calls him at the office to warn him about the Agents coming to get him, his future is changed. Things are not turning out the way he expected.

In the Hero's Journey Model, the Catalyst/Inciting Incident/Page 17 is called the Call to Adventure. It's where the Hero is called to undertake a quest. I recommend that you read Chris Vogler's book on the Hero Journey. It's a profound pattern that shows up in many movies. It's based on the work of mythologist Joseph Campbell, who George Lucas studied under in college.

(Dan Harmon's story circle is based on Campbell, as is Blake Snyder's Save The Cat.)

It's also important to note that it's easy to mis-identify the Call to Adventure/Inciting Incident because of foreshadowing. Michael Arndt pointed out that early in Act I there is often foreshadowing of the Call To Adventure, or of the Story Problem itself. This doesn't change the Hero's future, it just hints to us that something is coming to turn their world upside-down. Arndt calls this Storm Clouds On The Horizon.

Some folks think Luke discovering the hologram in R2 is the Call To Adventure. It's not, it's foreshadowing. The hologram is intriguing, but it doesn't give him a choice that will change his future. Not until we see the whole message at Obi-wan's does he get the invitation to go to Alderaan. (Notice how the tease of seeing the partial hologram pays off at the Call to Adventure where we see the entire message.)

In the same way, Neo meeting Trinity is foreshadowing. It doesn't offer Neo a new future, it's just intriguing. When Morpheus calls Neo on the phone and warns him about the Agents, Neo has to make a choice about his future.

In order to create a good Inciting Incident/Call To Adventure, the writer has to know the central issue of the movie. What problem is the Hero going to try to solve? The best Call To Adventure comes from already knowing the end of the movie, so you can invite the Hero onto the road that leads to that ending.

Again, these are not rules, just observed patterns from movies that work. Hope that helps.

u/caged_jon · 5 pointsr/animation

Oh man do I have a list for you!

Joe Murray's Creating Animated Cartoons with Character is an amazing read and he gives some information on the creation process for his shows.

Nancy Beiman's Prepare to Board! talks about story development and character creation, but she mostly covers storyboarding in the book. Beiman also has exercises included as you read, so it feels a bit more interactive.

Jean Ann Wright's Animation Writing and Development covers writing for TV animation. Wright talks mainly about how to land a job as a writer for an ongoing show, but he does cover character in the book.

Bryan Konietzko and Michael DiMartino's Avatar: The Last Airbender (The Art of the Animated Series) talks a bit on character creation for the show and how the show kept evolving until they finally arrived at Avatar: The Last Airbender.

But you shouldn't just stay with finding books on how to create characters for animation. It shouldn't matter if they are animated or not, we need to believe in these characters!

Lajos Egri's The Art of Dramatic Writing
is my personal favorite on character development. Although this book is mainly about writing a play, Egri covers dialogue, characters, character motivation, and story development perfectly. I keep returning to this book everytime an idea pops into my head. I cannot express how much this book has helped me in creating believable characters and conflicts.

Blake Snyder's Save the Cat! is a book I have never gotten around to reading, but I feel it worth mentioning as most of my colleagues and friends keep recommending this book back to me.

And again, although you will learn many new things from these books and they will help you view stories and characters more analytically, you won't get better until you start to create more and more characters and stories. You may also start looking for interviews of your favorite creators and look for what they have to say about character.

Hope this helps!

u/bilateral_symmetry · 5 pointsr/tipofmytongue
u/Menzopeptol · 5 pointsr/writing

I don't think you can beat On Writing. And you can always adapt suggestions/rules from screenwriting if fiction's your thing. Other than that, check out Elmore Leonard's 10 Rules for Good Writing.

Or think about what your favorite authors do, and have a long think about what you can do differently/more fitting to your you-ness. That's what I started off with, and I've had a few pieces published.

Edit: Linkage.

u/w3woody · 5 pointsr/AskAnAmerican

I know some folks who have worked in The Industry.

Basically two things are blamed. First, technical effects have gotten so good--we basically can control every last pixel on the screen--that, at some level, movie making has gotten somewhat lazy and more about showing the spectacular (computer generated) scenery than it is about telling an honest-to-God great story.

Many movies, in other words, have become like porn: the story is a worthless bit of glue to hold the movie together as we jump from scene to scene. But instead of jumping from sex act to sex act, we jump from special effect to special effect.

The second aspect is that many modern big budget movies have gotten so expensive they're no longer just about telling a story--they're major multi-year business investments involving tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in sunk costs.

So, in order to mitigate the risk, story telling in these big budget movies tend to follow a formula.

And in fact, the formula is outlined in the book and the web site Save The Cat!, which breaks down the storytelling process for a big budget movie into a three-act story with specific 'beats' (or plot changes in the story which drive the story along) that gets slavishly followed.

Now the upside of Save The Cat! is that you get a formula for telling a story which creates an audience pleasing formula. Throw in a few big budget names, some exotic location, some fantastic special effects, a few explosions and a few car chases--and you have a nearly guaranteed money maker.

The downside, however, is that all the block busters become--more or less--the same story told over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and Over AND OVER!!!

u/cardboardshark · 5 pointsr/ComicBookCollabs

Hey dude. Graduate high school first, generate a portfolio of scripts, and pay artists up front to illustrate your work, otherwise nothing will ever, ever happen.

I work on an anthology dedicating to helping first-time creators get their first published experience, and we pay artist and writers a small rate. We get 100+ pitches a year, and sift out the best 20 to develop. Think about your pitches in that context - could it stand out against 100 competitors? Is it as concise, unique, and emotionally compelling as it could be? We regularly have artists turn down a paid opportunity because they're not interested in a script, so you need to have something that is really, really good to convince an artist to work for free.

I recommend Save The Cat and Jim Zub's Pitch Tutorials as good places to learn more of the craft. I do wish you the best and hope to you see submit something in a few years.

u/malcomp_ · 5 pointsr/Screenwriting

Since format is not cut-and-dry- you may read five scripts that handle the same thing five different ways- the best education is to just read a whole lot of screenplays.

However, you'll want to pay special attention to those featured on the annual Black List, as most of them originated as 'specs'; such scripts are often a writer's first introduction to the professional side of the business, earning them their first manager and/or agent.

Here is a link to 2014's Black List scripts; this document details their ranking and provides a logline of each so you know what you're getting into. I'd recommend you read ALL of them- yes, all 71- because they run the gambit from bizarre yet captivating concepts to simple yet well-executed stories. You'll likely encounter something from every genre and will get a taste for what "voice" is (re: Brian Duffield's THE BABYSITTER).

In terms of books, a couple of stand-bys are Robert McKee's Story and Blake Snyder's Save the Cat.

u/Yaohur · 5 pointsr/Screenwriting

That would be the highly controversial and often derided (not by me tho) Save the Cat by Blake Snyder.

u/bentreflection · 5 pointsr/Screenwriting

I'd start with Save the Cat because it's a fun read and does a great job of laying down the basic structure without over-complicating things.

After you've got that down I'd move on to something a bit more theoretical. I would highly recommend The Art of Dramatic Writing by Lajos Egri. It's about playwriting but the structure is similar and it really impressed upon me the importance of structuring a plot around a character and not the other way around.

I'd also recommend The Sequence Approach as a supplemental structure to the traditional 3 Act structure. The book basically breaks a screenplay into a number of goal-oriented sequences that help guide you towards a satisfying resolution.

I'd keep Story by Robert McKee and Screenplay by Syd Field around for references, but they are more like text books for me and not really inspiring.

One of my professors in grad school wrote a book called The Story Solution based on his own interpretation of story structure. Similar to the sequence approach, he breaks out a screenplay into 23 'hero goal sequences' that keep your story grounded and moving forward, while ensuring that your hero is making progress and completing his character arc.

Also, in answer to your beat question: A beat is the smallest block of measurable plot. a collection of beats make a scene, a collection of scenes makes a sequence, a collection of sequences make an act, a collection of acts make a narrative. Every beat of your screenplay needs to serve the premise in some way or you end up with a bloated script that will drag. Many times writers will actually write 'a beat' into their script to show that there is silence or a pause that is significant to the plot. An example might be a brief pause before a character lies to another character.

u/Seshat_the_Scribe · 5 pointsr/Screenwriting


Three Acts

A really old (but still useful) model of story-telling structure involves three acts:

  • Act 1: A character (or group) is in a situation. A problem/goal arises.
  • Act 2:  The character/group confronts that problem/goal. Complications ensue.
  • Act 3: The character/group succeeds or fails.

    Occasionally, like with Job in the Bible, shit just happens to a character. But it’s usually much more interesting when a character actively tries to solve a problem or achieve some goal.

    Probably the most famous explainer of the three-act structure for screenwriting is Syd Field in Screenplay.

    A similar model is in How to Write a Movie in 21 Days by Viki King.

    Hero’s Journey

    Another really old (but still useful) model of structure involves a “hero’s journey.”

    Joseph Campbell is often associated with this model, but it’s as old as story-telling.

    Basically, the hero’s journey

    >involves a hero who goes on an adventure, and in a decisive crisis wins a victory, and then comes home changed or transformed.

    This model was applied to screenwriting in The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler.

    “Save the Cat”

    Save the Cat is a series of books started by the late Blake Snyder. Some people love these books; others hate or sneer at them.

    The famous/infamous Blake Snyder Beat Sheet (BSBS) is formulaic. It can also be useful in helping you start to mold your mush into a story. I often use a BSBS at the very early stages of figuring out a script. That doesn’t mean I’m wedded to it or obsess about what happens on what page. (Also, I loathe his page 5 beat.)

    It’s all about theme

    Craig Mazin (HBO’s Chernobyl and the Scriptnotes podcast) says structure is all about theme.

    He says it’s about asking what your character believes at the beginning, and what you want that character to believe at the end.

    The structure of a script thus arises out of the character confronting, and wrestling with, that thematic question.

    He talks about it here.

    The Unified Theory of Screenwriting

    In this interview, I talked with Ashley Miller (Thor, X-Men First Class).  Here’s what he had to say about structure:

    >I’m not a fan of anything that smacks of formula—“If you do this, your screenplay will work.”
    I don’t care if you’re talking about Christopher Vogler, or if you’re talking about Robert McKee, or if you’re talking about Blake Snyder. I don’t believe that’s how the creation process works.
    What they’ve each identified is an analytical tool. They’ve identified a way of looking at a product in retrospect and telling you what the parts are.

    In other words, many structure models are autopsies – but they’re not recipes.

    Miller combined a bunch of different structure models into a chart that he could apply to his own work – as a diagnostic tool AFTER he wrote one or more drafts.

    >I’m not saying, “This isn’t working because it fails to meet any of these standards.”
    What I’m asking is, “Am I getting an insight about what’s making me feel this bump in the story?
    What’s making me hear and smell the gears grinding?”

    You can see the chart at the link above.

u/mfdoll · 5 pointsr/startrek

This is what you're looking for.

u/EnderVViggen · 5 pointsr/Screenwriting

I can't recomend or say this enough.

You need to read three books:

  1. Save The Cat. This book will give you the basics of how to write a script, and what points to follow.

  2. Here With A Thousand Faces. This is the same information you would get in Save The Cat, however, it's way more involved. This book isn't about screenwriting, it's about story/myth and how we tell them. READ THIS BOOK!

  3. The Power of Myth. Another book by Joseph Cambell, which explains why we tell stories the way we do, and why you should write your stories using the 'Hero's Journey' (see Hero With A Thousand Faces).

    It is important to learn these basics, as you need to learn to walk, before you can fly a fighter jet.

    Happy to answer any and all questions for you!!! But these books are a must!!! I read them all, and still have Hero & Power of Myth on my desk.
u/Agent_Alpha · 5 pointsr/writing

I recommend getting into books like Save The Cat! by Blake Synder and The Story Solution by Eric Edson. They're good tools on how to approach stories from a screenwriting format, giving you an idea of how to develop structure and pacing for your audience's benefit.

u/Vincent-Amadeus · 4 pointsr/Screenwriting

Save the Cat. It’s a good beginning book for screenwriting and it’s thin. A simple read with some good information.

u/AlexPenname · 4 pointsr/writing

Pick up some books on story structure. Save the Cat is a great one--it's about screenwriting but it has a lot of good advice that applies to writing novels as well. Joseph Campbell is a good call for this too, so you've got a good title there. I'd google "character building in novels" and check out /r/worldbuilding too, if that's your thing.

But once you read up on story structure, start practicing. Seriously, when you set out you're going to be horrible at wordsmithing (meaning you won't be able to string together beautiful sentences, and you probably won't be able to get the perfect imagery on paper) but that's ok! As a beginner, now is the time to focus on structure. Write yourself some really bad books where you just explore how to craft a plot, how to build characters, how to make a world... and the more really bad books you write, the closer the decent book is, and the amazing book.

The most solid advice is definitely just "sit down and start writing", but if you want to take advantage of being a newbie then ignoring craft for structure (at first) is the way to go about it, definitely.

Good luck! It's a great journey.

u/garyp714 · 4 pointsr/writing

Writers don't 'read' scripts in Hollywood from outsiders because the industry is flooded with unsolicited manuscripts every year. And 99% are horrible.

In Hollywood, readers and low-level assistants/development execs are the filter that an outsider must get through to be taken seriously. These people are handed 20-30 scripts a weekend, some from the top executive's buddy's daughter from texas, some from an agent friend, some from a writing contest. These 'readers' are so pissed that they have no weekend that they look for any small issue with the writing to tell if it is a non-professional, an industry person or some flake from Nebraska.

So to make a long story short, there is an industry standard and if the script deviates in form or style from the standard, into the recycle pile it goes. Period.

So screenwriters out there? You MUST write for the beleaguered reader, these put-upon, exhausted people that would rather die than read another poorly written script. The script has to work on all levels and the format perfect. Just having a good idea is not enough.

Try this:

Great book on the simple things to avoid.

Oh and writing screenplays is an artisan skill, incredibly detailed and complex work. If you take it on as such you will need time and knowledge and practice, practice, practice.

Another great great great book:

You can't do a half-ass screenplay that will sell. You need to know the rules.

u/Godphree · 4 pointsr/writing

Save the Cat by Blake Snyder was extraordinarily helpful to me in just getting the nuts & bolts structure of my story ironed out. You may not think you're writing a screenplay, but if you write your book following his "beat sheet," I imagine it'd stand a good chance of being optioned.

u/dafones · 4 pointsr/Screenwriting

>I've only very recently decided that I wanted to go into film making for a career ...

Start with the basics then. Read Save the Cat, Story, Screenplay, and The Screenwriter's Bible.

Ask yourself what your five favorite films in the world are, that you could watch over and over again. Buy them on Bluray, and find a copy of their shooting script. This website is a good start, although you may have to buy them from somewhere. Watch the movies, then read the scripts, then repeat.

Then, with both the theory and the execution in your mind ... start to think of conflict, of drama, of characters and themes and story arcs.

Bluntly, it sounds like you're putting the horse well before the cart.

u/TheBossMan5000 · 3 pointsr/starwarsspeculation
  • Goals
  • Conflicts
  • Tactics
  • Reversal of Expectations
  • Change of Values


    I went to film school in los angeles, this book is bible in a lot of screenwriting classes. Those 5 pieces of "DNA" should break down into every Act, Sequence, Scene, and Beat in a good movie.
u/banduzo · 3 pointsr/Screenwriting

Wouldn't hurt to read a few books on screenwriting to get the lay of the land.

Decide if you want write features or television pilots.

Learn the structure of a screenplay (which is different for a feature and a television pilot)

Read scripts that are similar to what you want to write about. (i.e same genre) or any script that's highly recommended.

Some people start with a character and build a story, some people start with a story and add characters. Find what works best for you.

Dialogue will come with practice. It's going to be on the nose and full of exposition right off the bat. But it gets better as you write more. And no one every really masters it. I compare aired versions of shows to written screenplays and at least 10% of the dialogue overall is always cut.

Know what you're talking about. Want to write about cop? Read how a police organization works and how investigations work. Want to write about doctors? Know the medical terms and procedures you will be exploring. This also goes for areas of expertise such as science. For example, I am sure Vince Gilligan did some research into chemistry before writing Breaking Bad.

u/hereaftertime · 3 pointsr/Screenwriting

I have two different pieces of advice but I am no professional by any means, I've only done scriptwriting properly for 3 years now and still learning a lot as I go.

Firstly, I would just say write, keep writing and as you write, you learn and develop your skills, but don't neglect the essential parts of what creates a script: Logline, outlines, character description profiles, beat sheets and so on that help hone and give your script depth.

Another is to start working on smaller-length scripts first before pursuing any feature length script and practice the different narrative structures, but this in a way contradicts what I previously said about just writing. I'm writing my first feature length this year after 3 years of short pieces and glad I took that time, but at the same time, nothing helps than to just write over and over.

One thing I would say is to definitely develop the story you want to create with the planning stages before writing (unless you have scenes in mind that you can write down, then go for it), but everyone has a different process and I take bits from everything I have mentioned here.

It's entirely up to you and what helps you at the end of the day, and if you're new to the scene I would recommend a couple of books:

Save the cat and Screenplay are both useful books for all levels and have helped me when it comes to writing. Both fairly popular books so should be easy to purchase/access depending on your region.


Good luck with your writing journey!

u/kaidomac · 3 pointsr/IWantToLearn

Absolutely! Start out with TV Tropes:

Tropes are kind of like the Legos of building a story...I'd suggest spending a few minutes every day reading on that website, like at breakfast or something. As far as books go, the first book I would suggestion is John Truby's the anatomy of story. Read it & memorize the steps:

Also read "Save the Cat":

Here are some sample beat sheets:

"Writing for Emotional Impact" is a hugely important book in my library as well:

Just use Notepad or Word or Google Docs to write in for now. If you want to get serious about it, the only tool you really need to invest in is Final Draft, which is $250:

Story is what drives all film & TV projects. A good story can literally make billions of dollars (Avengers: Endgame, Avatar, Titanic, Star Wars, Harry Potter, etc.). And best of all, writing is free!

There are a TON of resources available online, but I'll leave you with this article containing some writing tips from JK Rowlings:

u/ashlykos · 3 pointsr/suggestmeabook
  • Save the Cat is the structure used by nearly every Hollywood blockbuster.
  • Joseph Campbell's Hero With a Thousand Faces is a classic. The Story Circle is arguably a form of Campbell's Hero's Journey.

    (edit: formatting)
u/captaingoodnight · 3 pointsr/Screenwriting

I like Blake Snyder's (Save the Cat) take on the logline:

> A logline is like the cover of a book; a good one makes you want to open it, right now, to find out what's inside.

  • Irony: Irony gets my attention. It hooks your interest. It's the single most important element of a logline.
  • A Compelling Mental Picture: You must be able to see a whole movie in it.
  • Audience and Cost: A built in sense of who it's for and what it's going to cost
  • A Killer Title: Title and logline are, in fact, the one-two punch, and a good combo never fails to knock me out.
u/gadzookfilms · 3 pointsr/Filmmakers

You don't say what you want to do, so I'll assume you want to write/direct. Read Film Directing Shot by Shot. Either rent, borrow or buy a cheap camera and try out examples from the book.

Read Save the Cat! Write scripts in your spare time. Read them out loud with friends to get an idea of pacing, structure, and believability (would someone actually say that?).

I hesitate to add too much to your reading list as it really is more of a "doing" than a "reading" hobby. It's great to try to figure out FCP, but if you've never played with it it could get overwhelming fast. You can learn the basics with iMovie - again, pacing, editing for the cut, fluidity, etc.

Otherwise check out Craigslist and volunteer on any small film shoots, no matter how shitty. You'll learn a lot about what NOT to do. Invaluable! Good luck!

u/MakesThingsBeautiful · 3 pointsr/todayilearned

Then you need the Save the Cat Crash Course.

If you've ever seen a movie that seems like it's the same beats as the last movie you saw, it's because it is. The book details a bunch of key beats every successful movie must have, and even states where they should appear and in what order.

Tv tropes doesn't exist for nothing, but Save The Cat turned it into the formula that guarantees movie success(mediocrity?)

u/latenightnerd · 2 pointsr/movies

Structure. After reading a few books on writing (most notably [Save The Cat by Blake Snyder(, I notice structural and pacing in blockbuster movies a lot more. It also lessens the impact of independent movies as they usually don't follow a rigid structure in the storytelling. It has made me more judgemental of movies I would have thought better of before knowing about structure and pacing. On the upside, good movies are made better after knowing how they are written.

u/scots · 2 pointsr/gameofthrones

Dude, we’re shooting the shit about a TV show with dragons, tits and magic.

Yes, Clausewitz said 4:1.

Yes it’s highly situational.

From a military standpoint almost everything depicted on the series has been idiotic.

Stannis vs wildlings: wildlings staying inside the tree line would have negated Stannis’ heavy cavalry charge.

Dothraki vs Lannister loot train: Lannisters fought with the river behind them. Where were their scouts? Had they fought on the other side of the river bank the river would have stalled out the Dothraki cavalry.

Battle of the Bastards was too stupid to put into words.

The writers aren’t writing accurate conflict - they are creating set pieces to create drama and drive the story.

This is so basic it’s taught to aspiring screen writers in books like Save the Cat!

u/MSeager · 2 pointsr/bestof

That's the golden question. 'Passing of Time' is one of the hardest parts of screen-writting. There are chapters dedicated to it in books like Save the Cat!.

It's just a shame that it has been so jarring to so many viewers. It's detracted a lot of attention from some great scenes. Like seriously zombie dragon.

u/esotericsean · 2 pointsr/nanowrimo

You don't have to like your character, but your protagonist needs to be likable. I recommend you read this book.

u/[deleted] · 2 pointsr/filmmaking

Save the Cat!

*edit for link.

u/PurpleWomat · 2 pointsr/writing

Okay, this is a little left of centre but what helped me focus my ideas was a book called 'Save the Cat'. It's about screenwriting but it is extremely good for helping you narrow down and focus your story.

u/JobaccaWookiee · 2 pointsr/movies

Theres a book called SAVE THE CAT -

This book is regarded as a bible by almost all Hollywood execs. They will go by this book page by page when reading a new screenplay,and if it doesnt match up exactly to what this book says,they'll either pass on it or order it changed. You wanna know why every movie seems exactly the same? This book is why. Its basically Script Writing For Dummies.

u/WhenSnowDies · 2 pointsr/changemyview

A lot of folks dislike CGI beyond reddit; lots of folks in production and in animation also.

The reason is something called "suspension of disbelief". A rule related to this in screenwriting, as illustrated in Save The Cat! by Blake Snyder, is called "One Piece of Magic" rule. With rare exception, you can only have one piece of magic per film. So if The Nutty Professor also includes aliens or ghosts, that's too much magic and you lose the audience because they are willing to swallow a supernatural SciFi weightloss formula might exist, but once you introduce aliens or ghosts into the story, you break suspension of disbelief. Many films have violated this rule and caused the audience to disconnect. Think of how disengaging Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was, and how much you groaned at the end.

This is what CGI does when people catch it, and up until recently it's been very easy to catch.

The reason practical effects don't usually cause audience disconnect is (1) they usually create a better illusion and are harder to spot the line between fantasy and reality, (2) even if caught, the audience will be impressed and know it had to happen in reality somehow, (3) that being the case, they're often amazed at the fantasy effect, almost like a stunt.

Think the effects of the original Star Wars. How'd they do that?! You've probably watched footage of how they accomplished the dogfights; yet you never wondered that about the ring of fire added to the exploding Death Star in the remastered versions. Had they done that in the late 1970s using practical effects, you'd of been truly amazed and would have been cheering and gasping in the theater. Not so with CGI because we know it's completely animated.

This is why in Live Free or Die Hard it was stressed that in a certain scene they actually did throw a real car. This excited many folks in my circles, because it maintains suspension of disbelief and impresses the audience with the illusion--almost like a magic trick.

CGI probably should be relegated to helping the illusion or polishing. Textures, lighting, a close up on a black hole in space. That said, pure CGI animation as the vehicle to effects are lame, distracting, and unimpressive.

Here's a studio that does practical effects. They'll show you a comparison and give you the run down on why practical effects are far superior.

u/blucthulhu · 2 pointsr/movies

Here you go. Just read scripts from movies you love and/or admire. You'll be more engaged. Maybe look for ones that have won awards. This is one of the few categories the Academy doesn't fuck up.

Also, listen to this podcast.

And read this.

u/dashzed · 2 pointsr/Screenwriting

Yep, now rewrite your logline and make it about the protagonist. Also, if you haven't already go ahead and buy this:

u/ccck46 · 2 pointsr/secretsanta

I heard this book is really good about screen writing?
You can see his preference for a movie and send him dvd via amazon.
If you're unsure if you did a good job, including a giftcard for amazon/itunes so he can get more movies/songs would be a "sorry i was kind of lost" gift :)

u/BryceZayne · 2 pointsr/writing

The best book I know of for plot and pacing is "Save The Cat" - it's mostly a book for screenwriters, but its in-depth advice on structure and story building can be widely used for regular fiction too.

Anyone who is an aspiring screenwriter or storyteller in general can't go wrong with having a copy of Save The Cat on their bookshelf

u/YourDailyDevil · 2 pointsr/freefolk

Famous/infamous book on screenwriting and how to make your screenplay 'marketable.'

Effectively it's what every prediction here was using. I wouldn't recommend it, because you start to see 'rules' in films far too often.

u/photonnymous · 2 pointsr/videography

If he's going to be making his own films (and could be serious about making scripted films) opt for a nice tripod or lighting instead of a gimbal. They will have a much longer use-life. It's not the flashiest toy in the toolbag, but he'll appreciate it in the long term.

Fluid Head Tripod -

Lighting, I personally own three of these and use them on content for major broadcasts -

Books on screenwriting and cinematography can be helpful, there's a book called "Save The Cat" that's a lot of people's quick-read favorite for script writing basics and outline. I also liked Robert Rodriguez's "Rebel Without A Crew" that's an enjoyable read, his story of what it took to make his movies. Pretty humbling.

Other smaller things that every filmmaker has in their toolkit would be lens cloths/ lens cleaning kit, bongo ties, extra batteries & charger for the camera, or a camera backpack can be handy.

u/justgoodenough · 2 pointsr/writing

I'm starting too. Here's the list of resources I am planning on working my way through. No promises that you will know how to write after you are done, but it's a place to start. I haven't read/watched everything on this list yet (I'm just starting Brandon Sanderson's lectures, I have read On Writing, I have read some of Chuck Palahniuk's essays, and I went to a lecture on plotting that was largely based on Save the Cat), it's just the list of what I am planning on checking out.

Brandon Sanderson's Creative Writing Lectures

Chuck Palahniuk's Essay on Writing

On Writing by Stephen King

[Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott]

Story by Robert McKee

Save the Cat by Blake Snyder

This thread also has additional resources.

Oh, also, this is a funny resource, but I like reading Query Shark because one of the things that comes up over and over again is boiling a story down to three questions: who is your main character, what do they want, why can't they get it? I think when you are writing, you want to keep those questions at the core of your story and a lot of her comments on the blog are about cutting through all the extra stuff and getting to that core.

Edit: I missed that you said you already watched the Brandon Sanderson lectures. Sorry!

u/justjoshingu · 2 pointsr/marvelstudios

It's a book about screenwriting. It's a how to. Did it describe what was happening in Hollywood or did it kinda describe it and everyone bought into it and now measures scripts on how close they are to matching it? Who knows.

u/Ludakrit · 2 pointsr/MGTOW
u/SpyVSHorse · 2 pointsr/writing


There are many books like this, but the one I'd recommend is 'Save the Cat!' By Blake Snyder. It was created for writing screenplays, but does an artful job of outlining the genres of all types of stories and their average length per beat. These beat sheets can be quite handy to use as a rule of thumb.


u/joshtay11 · 2 pointsr/Filmmakers

Definitely Save the Cat by Blake Snyder. His "beat sheet" is extremely helpful when writing scripts and creating story structure.


u/Onlyunseenredditor · 2 pointsr/Filmmakers

I often see questions like “How do I become a screenwriter?” or "How can I write a screenplay?"

So here’s an answer you can read in five minutes or less.

Read at least two screenwriting “how-to” books

For example, you could try:

  • How to Write a Movie in 21 Days
  • Screenplay (Syd Field)
  • Story (McKee)
  • Writing for Emotional Impact
  • Save the Cat (series)
  • The Screenwriter’s Bible
  • My Story Can Beat up Your Story

    I think it’s a good idea to read more than one book because you don’t want to get the idea that there’s only one right way to write a screenplay. Different authors have different approaches that you may find more or less useful.


    Read at least five professional scripts

    You can often find them by googling the name of the movie along with “PDF.”

    You can also try Simply Scripts and The Internet Movie Script Database (IMSDb).

    Your reading list should include scripts for movies that have been made in the past five years, so you can see what styles are current.


    One thing you should notice is that professional scripts have certain things in common. For example, they almost all have sluglines that look something like this:


    Some writers put sluglines in bold (which is a current fashion), and some don’t.

    You should also notice that other things are different. For example, some writers use CAPS for objects and sounds a lot more than other writers do. Some writers write long, detailed descriptions of locations; others don’t.

    One reason for this exercise is to get a sense of what a professional script looks like – what’s “standard,” and what’s more a matter of individual taste/style.

    Another reason to read a lot of scripts (especially award-winning ones) is to get a feel for what “good” looks like.

    Think about how these pro scripts follow (or not) the “rules” in the books you’ve read.

    Follow along in the script as you’re watching the movie

    Notice how words on a page translate into sights and sounds on the screen.

    Notice how much detail is written out by the screenwriter, and how much is left to others (like the costume designer, set designer, or fight choreographer).

    Come up with a screenplay idea/story

    A good source for help with developing commercial story ideas is Selling Your Story in 60 Seconds.

    Or read this blog:

    It can be helpful to put your idea into logline form. One basic model for loglines is:

    >[Type of person or group] must [do or overcome something] in order to [achieve some goal].

    You can also add details about where and when the story takes place, if relevant.

    For example:

    >A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, a restless farm-boy must rescue a princess and learn to use his supernatural powers in order to defeat an evil empire.

    Create a beat-sheet

    A beat-sheet is a short (1-2 page) outline of what happens in your script.

    For example, you can use the famous/infamous Blake Snyder “Save the Cat” Beat Sheet.

    The books you’ve read may have other models for this.

    Some people don’t like outlining. They just like to jump right into the story and start writing. How you work is up to you. But you may find that having an outline will let you know if you’ve got enough story (or too much), keep you on track, and save you from wasting time.

    Write a treatment or a scriptment

    A treatment or scriptment is a longer kind of outline.

    Again, you may prefer just to dive in. It’s up to you.

    Try to write a screenplay

    It’s a good idea to get script formatting software, like Celtx or Highland or Final Draft. If you try to write a script in Word or another standard word processing program, you may drive yourself nuts dealing with format issues, and the end result may not look professional.

    Or, just can write your first draft in a notebook, and do your second draft using formatting software. (I decided I wasn’t going to spend money on Final Draft until I proved to myself I could finish a first draft by hand.)

    If you finish, congratulations. You’re now a screenwriter. Most wannabes never make it to that point.

    However, your script probably isn’t very good. Most first scripts are awful.

    What if you want to be a GOOD screenwriter?

    Then you’ve got a lot more work ahead of you.

    Put the script aside

    Don’t work on it for at least a week. You want to be able to see it with fresh eyes.

    Don’t show it to anyone yet, however much you want people to tell you how awesome it is.

    This would be a good time to start working on your next script.


    Look back at your notes from the screenwriting books and scripts you read. Think about what makes a script good.

    Compare your script to the professional scripts, in terms of format, structure, dialogue, pacing, description, action, etc.

    Re-read the chapters on revisions in the books you read.

    Read a book like Making a Good Script Great and apply what it suggests.

    Rewrite again and again and again until your script is as good as you think you can make it.

    Get feedback

    Do NOT get feedback on your first draft. Get feedback on your BEST draft.

    So where do you get feedback?

  • You could try for free (swapped) peer feedback or pay a screenwriting consultant (like me, ScriptGal, or Screenplay Mechanic, or check Sites, Services, Software, & Supplies) or put your script on The Black List.
  • Some screenwriting contests, like the Nicholl and Austin, also offer feedback – but you may have to wait quite a few months to get it.
  • You could take a screenwriting class – in person or online – and get feedback from your teacher and classmates.
  • You could form or join a screenwriting feedback co-up and swap notes with fellow writers.

    Whatever you do, don’t be a douche about the feedback you get. Accept it with THANKS and graciously, even if you think the reader is an idiot for failing to recognize your genius.

    And before you ask anyone for free feedback, read this – and don’t be that guy.

    Rewrite again and again and again

    Again, in between rewrites and while you’re waiting for feedback, put your script aside and work on more scripts.

    You could experiment with different formats (feature, TV, short, webisode, etc.), genres, and styles. Discover where your strengths and interests lie.

    Get more feedback; revise; repeat

    Repeat as needed until people who know what they’re talking about (not your buddies, not your mom) say it’s good, and/or you start placing in contests like the Nicholl and Austin and/or getting 8s and up on The Black List.

    Keep in mind that it may take years, and many drafts of many scripts, before you get to this point… if you ever do. (Most people don’t.)

    If you do make it that far – congratulations again!  You’re now a pretty good screenwriter.

    (If you like this, please subscribe to my blog:

    Edit: this isn't mine it's Seshat_the_Scribe but it should help

u/dwoi · 1 pointr/filmclass

Sure thing! If you pick a couple up I'd recommend The Screenwriter's Bible as a good all-around book that covers pretty much everything and [Screenplay]
( if you're interested in structure. That being said, [Save the Cat!]
( is an excellent book and might be worth getting instead as our Structure lesson will cover the essence of Syd Field's Screenplay book (at least I hope others will find it a good substitute!)

u/1ightsaber · 1 pointr/MovieDetails

This movie was written by Blake Snyder. Despite how poorly the movie turned out, Snyder went on to write, "Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need," which became a (the?) leading book on film writing. He also wrote the 1994 movie, "Blank Check."

u/neotropic9 · 1 pointr/writing

Read ["Save the Cat"] ( It's about screenwriting, but it applies to plot and character writing generally. It will give you simple step by step formulas for turning your idea into a finished product.

u/Hector_Kur · 1 pointr/movies

I think they took the advice of "Save the Cat" a bit too literally.

u/Ratcliff01 · 1 pointr/writing

Check out the book Save the Cat!

It's the bible. Only resource you need.
WARNING: It might make you like movies less.

u/Fake_William_Shatner · 1 pointr/movies

There is a formula discovered for creating a screenplay that makes money;

Also note; almost every movie has the major action sequence at around 60 minutes in. Almost every hero is in some way an orphan. The main struggle is to redeem a shortcoming in the hero that the antagonist is associated with.

u/BreaphGoat82 · 1 pointr/Screenwriting

I've studied the Dan Harmon's embryos it's a really good one. You can also try [Save the Cat] ( Probably the most popular "outlining" book out there.

u/ajh6288 · 1 pointr/worldnews

Lololol, no, sir, YOU are the one who REALLY, TRULY, isn't getting it. I don't have to read anything to know if something completely different is good or not, but thx.

For your leisure I'd like to recommend a few books about basic screenwriting so that you don't get stuck in something like this again:

Let me know when it clicks! :-D

u/1ManCrowd · 1 pointr/Screenwriting

Save the Cat is a fun-ish, semi-informative screenwriting book that has some interesting ideas and is usually loved or hated with little in between. It's big thing is structure - it tells you basically how to write a movie with 15 "beats," or story moments - elements that should be on this certain page and do this certain thing. A lot of movies have some or most of these elements, and while the author's two scripts that have been produced (Stop or My Mom Will Shoot and Blank Check) aren't really that good, he does have some decent advice, especially for newcomers, or those struggling with structure.

The downside is he's teaching you a formula, like screenwriting is akin to putting thing X in slot Y. A lot of people are turned off by that, not to mention his approach is basically to write highly commercial films. He kind of shits on Memento while lauding Legally Blonde. So there you have it. Still, worth a read.

Many other books or websites have their own ideas of beats, how many, where they should go, what they should do, etc. Some are loved, some not, but most are interesting enough to read, if not learn a thing or two now and again.

u/paratactical · 1 pointr/AskWomen

It's all thanks to one book.

u/GetOffMyLawn_ · 1 pointr/AskOldPeople
u/ShowWorldCenter · 1 pointr/movies
u/IllClock · 1 pointr/Screenwriting
u/SceneOne · 1 pointr/writing

Save The Cat by Blake Snyder (Technically for movie writing, but a ton of tricks and tips that would help any writer.)

Take Off Your Pants by Libbie Hawker

Stephen King: On Writing By Stephen King

u/jwc1138 · 1 pointr/WeAreTheFilmMakers

If you haven't done it yet, I'd highly recommend Blake Snyder's Save the Cat!. It's the best book on screenplay structure that I've ever read.

u/unique616 · 1 pointr/promos

I don't usually like american action movies. A famous Hollywood screenwriter, Blake Snyder, wrote a short book titled Save the Cat. It's a minute by minute guide on how to write a hit movie, and because it's a proven success, other writers use this step by step formula. It means the majority of the movies in the movie theater are exactly the same. (Hypothetical example: Always have an explosion at the 40 minute mark). I don't want this movie to be ruined by someone using that book. Foreign movies are better because they have a different style. They are unexpected and fun.

u/crushingdestroyer · 1 pointr/writing

If you want to learn how to write film/tv scrips, I would suggest checking out the book Save the Cat! Here is the amazon link:

The author has a beat sheet that is important when writing scripts. Here is his website that shows a bunch of movies given the beat sheet treatment. Actually pretty cool and might help you figure out what makes a good movie. Check it out here:

u/pixelneer · 1 pointr/100DayComicChallenge

> 100DayComicChallenge Resources

Oh yeah. Absolutely don't limit it to just comics. If we did that, there wouldn't be any growth, we'd just be circling around the same stuff over and over again. :)

One of my favs that I just added Save the Cat Excellent resource for screenwriting (written by an actual working screenwriter) about creating realistic, believable characters that the audience will want to engage with.

u/saywhenhuckleberry · 0 pointsr/Screenwriting

I'll definitely echo that you want to exercise and get out a little.


"Save the Cat" is a tremendous book if you're looking to write a screenplay.


You may also want to try "How to Write a Movie in 21 Days". I haven't read the later but a few friends who have and said it was phenomenal.

Cheers and enjoy your writing.


u/WendyLRogers3 · 0 pointsr/movies

The trouble is that the studios now demand rigid conformity of screenplays to the book "Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need". It is awful, terrible and even disastrous, but they are insisting on it.

Until they break out of that rut, screenplays are just going to continue to stink, movie after movie.

u/dogger6253 · 0 pointsr/horror

I want to try something a bit different and just comment on these clichés and what a filmmaker is likely trying to achieve using specific conventions mentioned here.

> I hate when the parents don't believe the kids.

This makes the audience sympathize with your protagonist by putting them in the underdog role. We know what it's like to not be believed and we know the kid is telling the truth so now we are more invested in the story because we want to see the kid proven right.

> I've always hated the Mirror Scare.

I thought this was so cool at first, but yeah... This is still good for virgin audiences, but anyone who's seen a scary movie before has seen this particular jump scare 100 times. There are better ways to startle your audience.

> the music and camera angles indicate the presence of the bad guy…but then it turns out to be a random guy

This one is great. Pacing is very important in maintaining an audience's interest during a horror movie and this allows you to build tension and relieve it again without blowing your whole load while the climax is still yet to come. Great for establishing tone in your film as well.

> "oh sorry, I didn't mean to scare you!"

Sure, not an exchange that ever happens in real life, but as a storytelling convention it conditions your audience to be jumpy like the protagonist.

> Getting the upper hand and then blowing it by not finishing the job.

A whole lot of screenwriting classes will teach you to give little failures to your protagonist through the second act so that things get worse and worse. Then, they want you to give your protagonist a fake victory that propels them into their worst situation yet so that when they win in the end it has the most dramatic impact.

> the ever classic escaping but then going back to save a friend

Classic for a reason. Blake Synder's "Save the Cat!" is a bible of Hollywood screenwriting. How great is that fakeout in Alien? And how great does it feel once they finally save the cat? It's an extension of the last one... big victory (escaped) but then big failure (we forgot the cat) leads to worst situation of the film. It's so awesome.

> The car that won't start.

Totally overused. Effective beat in escalating tension, but this specific application could be used less.

> The group of teenagers.

Make movies starring people your audience will like. The prime demo for horror movies are teenagers. Teenagers usually are self-absorbed and often have trouble empathizing with anyone that isn't very similar to themselves. Make your movie about teens, teens come to watch it.

> they decide the best course of action is to grab a weapon that is going to be ineffective and decide to chase after the killer.

Would you rather watch a movie where the protagonist doesn't have any effect on the story? One where they safely watch the police arrest the killer from the comfort of the neighbor's living room? That movie sounds boring to me. If your protagonist doesn't have agency in the story, why do I care to watch them? Give them a weapon. I want to see them succeed not just survive.

> Splitting up.

This can help flesh out characters by giving us more time alone with them so we can actually see who they are. But yeah, they're gonna die. But that's usually the point of the movie to begin with...

> Movies with people not having cell phones/stupid reasons they don't work but their entire cast is 5-10 something people.

Movies take a long time to make. Most are written several years before being released. This is changing now. But yeah, there was a weird period where everyone had cell phones but film characters didn't.