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Save the Cat!® Podcats: Your Theme Stated

Tim Robbins as Andy and Morgan Freeman as "Red" discover "Hope is a dangerous thing."

Tim Robbins as Andy and Morgan Freeman as “Red” discover “Hope is a dangerous thing.”

stcpodcats_1400x1400pxThe Theme Stated beat gives your audience a sense of the heart of your story. Hear when and how to use this beat as Jose Silerio and Naomi Beaty discuss the universal truths revealed in The Shawshank Redemption, When Harry Met Sally… and Training Day.

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jose silerio and naomi beaty

About the Author

About the Author: José Silerio, a screenwriter who served as Blake Snyder’s Development Director, has been integral to the success of Blake’s workshops and classes as he worked alongside Blake schooling writers in the Cat! method. Naomi Beaty is a screenwriter and script reader who was mentored by Blake and worked with him on Save the Cat!® Goes to the Movies. Both Jose and Naomi have written many blogs and beat sheets for this website. .

There Are 7 Comments

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  1. Thanks for the comments. Interesting on Shawshank. Love the Training Day example. As a new writer, I’ve finally realized that determining the spiritual need of your hero must be decided on way before plot, or you might end up in big trouble. In fact, for my next script, I’ll probably decide on a theme before even concept… maybe!

    • Naomi says:

      Hey Kyler,

      Thanks for your input, and I have to say I think I agree — the more screenplays I read (and films I see) the more I appreciate good themework, and prioritize it in my own writing.

    • Eric Jenkins says:

      Hey Kyler,
      You could decide the theme before the concept, but in my experience it’s better to just come up with a good story and then a theme will arise naturally out of it. Otherwise, it will just be kind of forced. Know your story, then you can go back and reinforce the theme if necessary.

      • Victor says:

        I agree. Story should be first. Stephen King in his book, On Writing, advises writers to focus on the story and not worry so much about theme: He recommends you write a draft first then figure out what the theme is after you have the basic story. Once you’ve figured out the theme, massage it into your story in the revision. Peace.

        • Naomi says:

          Agreed. And I think sometimes it’s hard to even see the thematic stuff your story is exploring for yourself. Get the draft out and then come back to the draft with fresh eyes and/or get another set of eyes on it, and you’ll start to see what themes are naturally built into your story. Then you can work on enhancing the strongest option. Cheers!


  2. Mohamed Mohamud says:


    LOVE the podcast guys, great job. As a new writer, you do not only give me great advice but you also inspire me, so thank you for that.

    I’m writing a short screenplay now and would really love to hear your thoughts on how one can adapt and fit all of the beats into short films. It’s a lot to fit into just ten to twenty minutes. I really love when you give examples from movies most people has or should see, it gets your points across much easier.

    Once again, all the way from Sweden, thanks for the inspiration.

    • Naomi says:

      Hi Mohamed,

      Thanks so much for listening, and for commenting with those kind words of encouragement! Great topic suggestion, and it goes hand-in-hand with another topic idea I had so stay tuned – you may hear us discuss the beats in short-form content soon.