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save_the_cat_beat_sheet

Save the Cat Beat Sheet

From "Save the Movie! The 2005 screenwriting book that’s taken over Hollywood—and made every movie feel the same".

  • Opening image (p. 1): Sets the tone for the story and suggests the protagonist’s primary problem.
  • Theme is stated (p. 5): A question or statement, usually made to the protagonist, indicating the story’s main thematic idea.
  • Set-up (p. 1-10): An introduction to the main characters and setting—the background.
  • Catalyst (p. 12): A major event that changes the protagonist’s world and sets the story in motion.
  • Debate (p. 12-25): A question is raised about the choice now before the protagonist. Often this section lays out the stakes for the journey ahead.
  • Break into Act II (p. 25-30): The hero definitively leaves his old world or situation and enters a strange new one.
  • B-story (p. 30): A secondary plotline that often fleshes out side characters—frequently a mentor or a love interest—who assist the hero on his journey.
  • Fun and games (p. 30-55): Snyder says this section offers “the promise of the premise.” It’s an exploration of the story’s core concept that gives the story its “trailer-friendly moments.” It’s usually lighter in tone, and it typically builds to a big victory at the midpoint.
  • Midpoint (p. 55): The A and B stories cross. The story builds to either a false victory or (less often) false defeat. New information is revealed that raises the stakes.
  • Bad guys close in (p. 55-75): After the victory at the midpoint, things grow steadily worse as the villains regroup and push forward.
  • All is lost (p. 75): Mirroring the midpoint, it’s usually a false defeat. The hero’s life is in shambles. Often there’s a major death or at least the sense of death—a reference to dying or mortality somehow.
  • Dark night of the soul (p. 75-85): A moment of contemplation in which the hero considers how far he’s come and all he’s learned. It’s the moment in which the hero asks, “Why is all this happening?”
  • Break into Act III (p. 85): A “Eureka!” moment that gives the hero the strength to keep going—and provides the key to success in Act III.
  • Finale (p. 85-110): Relying on all he has learned throughout the story, the hero solves his problems, defeats the villains, and changes the world for the better.
  • Final image (p. 110): A mirror of the opening image that underlines the lessons learned and illustrates how the world has changed.
save_the_cat_beat_sheet.txt · Last modified: 2013/07/22 11:07 by tkbletsc