by Andrew Osborne
Today’s reason for zero forward progress on getting my novel to market? A relentless grind of feedback due on assignments for my two online UCLA Extension screenwriting classes…a.k.a., my ongoing attempt to help undo the harm of the terrible film writing book that’s apparently taken over Hollywood, Save the Cat!
By a strange coincidence, the late author, Blake Snyder, inadvertently derailed the sale of a screenplay of mine back in the ’90s because a film he wrote with a similar (but much more terribly executed) premise — Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot! — bombed so badly around the same time that my project was fatally sprayed with his stink shrapnel.
I recently applied for an assistant professor job at DePaul University in Chicago, and my teaching philosophy said, in part: “Now, many in Hollywood will argue (as Mr. Snyder does in his book) that screenwriters should ‘pitch our wares to the majors, make a big sale, and appeal to the biggest possible audience…but unfortunately, (A) such occurrences are generally pretty rare, and (B) big sales don’t always result in steady work or actual green-lit movies (let alone critically or financially successful ones)…Formulas will get students only so far, but learning to craft solid characters, memorable dialogue, and clear, effective narratives will serve them wherever opportunity may lead.”
Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it…and now, back to not finishing my novel.