It is three years today since my friend Blake Snyder died. I still think about him every day and especially about the encouragement he would undoubtedly give me during what have become very dark times. That part of my life, when I first arrived in LA, bursting with optimism and a sense of new adventure, now seems an age away; but today, at this moment, it feels real again. I'm reprinting what I wrote at the time, not least to remind myself that life is capable of throwing up special moments, special people, who can change the course of everything.
AUGUST 4TH 2009
Readers of this blog will be familiar with the name of the screenwriter Blake Snyder.
was through his encouragement that I first came to LA, having sent him
the title and logline for my budding screenplay, Celebrity Stalker, in
response to which I received the most incredible, encouraging e-mail.
subsequently travelled to the city to do Blake’s Beats course, and it
was the start of a friendship that would see me end up living 6000 miles
across the Atlantic and pursuing my dream of being what I called a
Blake died suddenly this morning. I
found out on Facebook, where I daily looked at his profile to see how
many more inspiring stories there were from the people across the world
whom he had helped in their screenwriting struggles.
passion and enthusiasm for what he did never faltered, and everyone who
came into contact with him became the beneficiary of that.
my first contact with Blake in May 2008, he taught me many things, not
only in relation to screenwriting. He was also a wonderful human being:
full of compassion and love for his fellow men. The person I refer to in
the blog Shopping For Niceness was him: a man who did not think that we
were the best judges of other people’s foibles, and who saw the good in
everyone he met.
When we had lunch two weeks ago, I
remarked that although we had known each other face to face for just
five months, it seemed that a lot had happened: I was living in LA, for
starters. It was a move that he had positively encouraged, and he
listened and supported me through what have been some very bleak
I just cannot believe that he is gone, and my
sympathies go out to his family, colleagues, and everyone whose lives
were blessed to have been touched by this giving, wonderful man.
and his website are already full of entries expressing shock and
disbelief at his sudden parting. But what comes through in all of them
is his goodness, kindness, and ability to embrace people who reached
out, both professionally and personally. He had that rarest of things:
the gift of spirit.
My dearest Blake: my heart is
breaking. In a screenplay, you would call it the All Is Lost moment that
precedes Dark Night of the Soul. But as I sit here with your book
before me – as you know, it never leaves my side – I look to the finale
and the final image that follows. The final image, you say, is “the
opposite of the opening image. It is proof that change has occurred and
that it’s real.”
The image of my life now, compared to
before you came into it, is very much the opposite of what it was, and I
have you to thank for that.
I will celebrate your
doing the work of which you constantly told me I was capable, and it
will always be with immense gratitude and love that I remember you.
God bless, and, as you say in Save the Cat, when you describe dropping that script in the mail: “It is what it is.”
Your death is what it is.
how we will all move on without you being among us is too early to say;
but we will – and you will be with us in so many ways.
told you over our last lunch that for me, everlasting life was about
the things we left behind – the laughter, the ideas, the wisdom, the
insight, the love – and that it was this, rather than any notion of God,
that gave me great joy.
There's no joy today, and the Dark Night of the Soul looks never-ending.
But you will live on, my sweet, darling friend. Eternally.