As the new year approaches, we all reflect on the past and anticipate the year to come. Some of us make resolutions – promises to ourselves and others about how we will lose weight, write more, sleep less, and exercise regularly.
I was fortunate enough to know Blake Snyder and am proud to have called him a friend. As I look toward 2017, I hope I can make the effort to use his legacy for my personal and professional life. Like most of us, I got to know Blake through the first Save the Cat!® book. When I came to know him personally, what impressed me first about Blake was how much of his personality is reflected in his writing: his sense of humor, his philosophy, his warmth and generosity, his respect and admiration for his fellow writers – it’s all there in the pages.
In past blog posts, others have memories of Blake, recalling the last time they encountered him. The last time I saw Blake was a few weeks ago. I was on a bus, and I noticed a young man reading Save the Cat!, smiling as he turned the pages. I couldn’t help but mention that I knew the book and its author. He talked about how a friend had told him about the book – about how he liked how Blake’s ideas demystified the writing process and made him feel like he could really do it himself.
In the screenwriting classes I teach at the Vancouver Film School, I see Blake there as well, as his wisdom guides our students through the mysteries of structure, genre, and character. When our students begin their intensive one-year program, Save the Cat! is the only book they all receive.
My point in all of this is to say, as writers, we all strive for success – but few of us achieve a legacy. A writing career is not simply about making a buck or making a movie – it should be about making a difference. The fact that Blake’s wisdom and principles continue to inspire well beyond his all too short time among us is proof that he achieved that. He did that through hard work, commitment, and a focused approach to his life and career.
So in 2017, I hope to write more, worry less, and make a difference. I hope to take yet another page from Blake’s book.
October 30 - November 7