Forris Day, Jr. is an audio book narrator and co-host of the filmmaking podcast “Get Real; Indie Filmmakers.”
You may now rejoice if you are a fan of Blake Snyders Save the Cat! series of screenwriting books, because the latest version of the companion software has been released. The software, aptly named Save the Cat! 4, is a total rebuild of the previous version. The new build has tons of new features, most notably the incorporation of the latest STC book called, Save the Cat! Writes a Novel; The Last Book on Novel Writing You'll Ever Need, written by Jessica Brody. Now novelists can enjoy using this software just like screenwriters have been able to do for years. Hello all you authors out there, it's nice to see you and welcome to the Save the Cat club.
If you are unfamiliar with the Save the Cat! methodology I highly recommend you read Snyder's original book Save the Cat!; The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need. It's a fun read and his ideas and thoughts on the process of writing a screenplay are interesting and proven to work. Once you understand the process he has developed, you will understand how to use the software. There is a learning curve to the new version 4, because it has so many new features, but it stays true to Snyder's book.
Visually the software is a virtual cork-board that is divided into four spaces. The top space is for your title and log-lines. Throughout the writing process you can keep fine tuning your log-lines and titles here.
The middle space is for your digital notecards, called “scene cards.” Each scene card represents a scene in your film. They prompt you to to treat each scene as a story on it's own by making sure you include a conflict and an emotional change for your character. Learn more about that in Snyder's book. You can include picture's of the character or whatever you'd like on each card. The cards are “pinned” to the cork-board in this space.
Listen to the podcast here: New 'Save the Cat!' Writing Software | guests Jason Kolinsky & Bob McFarlane - Ep27
The bottom portion contains more notecards that you save information to, such as websites, research notes, pictures or whatever you need to help you write. You can add or delete these notecards as you wish.
The left side of the screen holds “The Blake Snyder Beat Sheet” This space contains all 15 of Snyder's beats. Just fill in your story elements for each beat here and you are well on your way to writing a winning script.
As I suggested earlier, read the book, but fear not if after reading it you can't remember certain aspects of STC. There is a help section, located in the top menu, called “Fun” and it has you covered. Here you will find a link to the Save the Cat! Website, a highly detailed “Users Guide,” a tour of the software, advice for writing, and downloadable sample files that really help you wrap your head around the program. It is here that you can also change the theme, or look, of your workspace.
If you are writing a novel the concepts are the same but the screen is laid out differently to accommodate the workflow of writing a book. No matter what kind of writing you do, Save the Cat! 4 can help you. The software enables you to write a movie, a TV show or a novel, but it also is set up to help you write a series, whether it be a movie series, a television series or a novel series.
It's a subscription based piece of software that offers many options; from a 3 month subscription to a full year subscription. There are also 3 tiers of the software designed for either a new writer, an experienced writer and a professional writer. Although I am no pro, I got to poke around on the pro level version, so this write-up is based on that. The beautiful thing about the subscription based model is that you'll always have the most up to date version. The updates are super easy to install. The software team is incredibly responsive. They quickly got back to me about several questions I had and helped me with problems I encountered. I feel that they have a product that they believe in and they want us, as writers, to enjoy it.
I think any writer who is a fan of Save the Cat! Will enjoy using the software. It makes your cork-board and notes extremely portable. Sure, using an actual cork-board and paper notecards can work too, but try rolling all of that into your local coffee shop during a writing session. I dare say your Barista will not like it and it will certainly annoy all the other customers too. I'm sure you can see the advantages of Save the Cat! 4 software because it fits inside your computer.
Learn more about the software here.
Get Blake Snyder's many Save the Cat! books to help elevate your stories!
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