An Interview with Producer of Dreamscape Media, Mike Olah:
Hi there! I'm Janine Vance, a writer of various types of books. I've spent much of my time immersed in the writing process (actually all of my time for the past 20 years) and not much time out in the world to share, yet, my work. However, I am fortunate because I have a twin sister who does, and even luckier, she tells me everything I need to know about what's going on in the world! We have an audience now on our Vance Twins Facebook page who definitely have stories to tell and I really hope to help everyone as much as I can with the process.
Of course, as a writer, I still have issues (ha ha), so Save The Cat by Blake Snyder audios came at the right time. I've had the pleasure of listening to them and impressed with helpful tips and tricks on how to get our stories out of our systems and onto paper. In fact, I am finishing up with the packaging of my books this year, and plan to return to polishing up my 7-9 screenplays in 2019. (I say 7-9 because at this point I only like 7 of them--if that! haha.) So I do still have questions about shaping and editing, and will never stop learning. This is the reason the audio series has been so helpful.
So, I'm a big believer that everyone has a story inside, but only some of us feel the constant urge to write. For those of us who are compelled to write—maybe even desperate to be heard— most likely this urge will show up in the form of a disorder (hehe), like it did in my case ;-). How do you know when you've been hit by the writing bug? (um, do you find yourself waking up at five or six in the morning to get stuff out of the system? Uh, do you find yourself staying up past midnight in an attempt to proof and perfect? But, despite this, ugh, do you find yourself not all that satisfied with the story, and wondering what you could do better?) Someway, somehow, we, writers, eventually finish, but it is true, the finish product usually comes with a price: blood. Sweat. Tears. And years.
The story doesn't have to be this difficult if we are guided with the right stuff! When we are given the right tools and mentored by the right people, then we approach the innermost cave (and the finish line) feeling confident! I'm so glad to be friends with Ken Lee (Vice-President of Michael Wiese Productions) and to have been given the Save the Cat audio series. The book has been produced and now on audio by Dreamscape Media. Save the Cat audio has come at the most convenient time for me. It's given me reason to pull out my old screenplay series and take a second look. It's also given me the idea to possibly turn the scripts (and maybe some of my books) into a short podcast series— (let's just call a plog).
But, before I go back to work on those old scripts, I have a few questions to ask you ~ I really appreciate how the author's legacy is living long (and large) thanks to everyone at Michael Wiese Productions and Dreamscape Media.
Janine Vance: Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Mike Olah: I'm the editor at Dreamscape who made the decision to publish the audio edition of SAVE THE CAT! I’ve been in audiobook publishing for eight years, and was employee number two at Dreamscape back in 2010. Thank you for the interview.
Janine: For those who are not familiar with the audio: Why and What is Save the Cat? (What does Save the Cat mean?)
Mike: The SAVE THE CAT! concept is about creating a fully developed protagonist. It’s essential to make, at least a part of, your protagonist sympathetic and relatable. The idea is to make the audience root for the protagonist by having that character go through something the audience can relate to in a simple, or, as Blake Snyder would say, primal way. For example, your protagonist can save a cat. That is an act that everyone understands as good human nature at a basic level. Once the protagonist goes through this act, the audience is more likely to root for her or him during the rest of the story even with protagonist’s other flaws.
Janine: What attracted you to Save the Cat? (What do you believe is special about it?)
Mike: Films and TV shows are being created like never before. So, in turn, scripts are being written and produced at a very high rate. Thus, the need for screenwriting books is strong. SAVE THE CAT! is one of the best screenwriting books available, written by an accomplished screenwriter, so it was a natural choice for an audiobook.
Janine: Will you tell the audience what the title means to you?
Mike: Characters are often times my favorite part of a story. For me it’s where the connection lies. The book’s focus on character development is important to me.
Janine: Was there something surprising about the series that especially impressed you?
Mike: I knew very little about the screenwriting process before this book, so there were a few surprises. The complexity of screenwriting surprised me. Also, differently, Blake Snyder’s motivational skills are impressive. Even I wanted to try and write a screenplay after reading SAVE THE CAT! I wasn’t expecting that sort of impact from this book when I started reading.
Janine: Who would benefit the most from Save The Cat audios? (Why?)
Mike: Budding screenwriters would of course benefit, but so would all writers. The tips and tricks in SAVE THE CAT! apply to all kinds of storytelling. Also, I’ve heard that the book helps break through writers block. So, anyone suffering with that should take a listen. Finally, movie fans interested to see how Hollywood looks from the inside should listen.
Janine: What is a common problem for aspiring writers that you believe the author addresses?
Mike: The nuance, complexity, and importance of character development is clarified so well in SAVE THE CAT! Aspiring writers would be wise to take a listen to avoid common character development mistakes.
Janine: What do you like about the audios that you can't get from reading the book?
Mike: You can listen in the car. The aspiring screenwriters stuck in LA traffic, I am looking at you.
Janine: What have listeners said were the most helpful to them?
Mike: They love the fact that the book is now available in audio since it’s such an easy format to listen to with a smart phone or in a car. Also, listeners have heaped praise on the narrator, George Newbern. His conversational style along with his knowledge of the industry makes it a remarkable listen.
Janine: Did you use the material for your own writing journey or do you know someone close to you who has?
Mike: I am a publisher, not a writer, so I have not used the techniques specifically.
Janine: Any concluding thoughts?
Mike: Thank you to Ken Lee at Michael Wiese Productions for the opportunity to work on SAVE THE CAT! It was an honor to publish the audio edition of this important and helpful book. I hope it’s useful to all that listen.
Janine: Thank you so much for your time, Mike. I need to add that after listening to the series, I now have the tools needed to polish up those old screenplays that have been hiding in my closet for years just simply yearning, scratching & meowin' to get out. Save the Cat truly is the last [AUDIO] book on screenwriting you'll ever need. I recommend the audio book for easy learning. ~~And for friends looking for one-on-one guidance or would like to get started, feel free to email me at