Blake Snyder died yesterday morning. I knew him only by way of our interview, but in that short time I felt privileged to have talked to a man so warm and so excited about writing screenplays. I was surprised to learn he was 58. Perhaps his face had come to show some of those years, but his voice was all youth and all joy for the process of writing and teaching, I learned about Blake because of the address he gave at the 2008 Pacific Northwest Writers Conference. Though he had sold twelve screenplays in Hollywood bidding wars, Blake remained passionate about teaching and sharing all that he had learned in over twenty years in the business. This is a good example for all writers to remember. It is easy to get caught up in building your career and making as many contacts as possible and hustling here and bustling there, but perhaps the best networking tool of all is generosity. Give freely whenever you can, and it will come back twofold.
Usually, after I sign off from an interview, I keep the author on the line for a few more minutes for an extended, informal chat. This is a preference of mine, simply because I like to talk to writers, and not usually what the authors are expecting. In Blake’s case, however, after I clicked the record button off, Blake said, “Great! Let’s keep talking.” I wish we could still.