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Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting…
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Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting (1979)

by Syd Field

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Unless you're already a naturally-gifted screenwriter you can't do much better than start with Syd Field's book Screenplay. And would go further and say that even if you're already talented, being familiar with Syd Field's contribution is still fundamental to understanding the art and form of the craft.

Screenplay will take the aspiring writer from conception to final draft, and wherever possible an explanation of "why this works" is given. The criticism that his approach is inorganic and formulaic is valid, but why not use it as another tool in the toolbox as opposed to an all-or-nothing way of writing movies? ( )
  Daniel.Estes | Dec 31, 2013 |
The book was a good source of material. It had a lot of good information for those starting out with screenwriting. Though the book was a little hard to read at times mostly because of the blocks of text to read. It took me two weeks to read. The book had a lot of examples from current and past films. I don't think a student would read this on their own, but there is a lot of good tid bits of information that I pulled from it to teach students on the basics of storytelling inside the film universe. ( )
  cjohn64 | Feb 24, 2012 |
Very helpful book about the three-act structure model. Field’s focus is on screenplays, but his paradigm applies just as well to novels. He includes lots of detailed examples thoughout, using well-known movies, to illustrate the points he is making. I borrowed this from the library but may end up buying myself a copy for future reference—especially since I am looking forward to thinking about how three-act structure might apply my own novel-in-progress and maybe help me get a better handle on the shape of the overall story. ( )
  michelleknudsen | Dec 6, 2009 |
The all-hailed last word in screenwriting books. Syd Field wrote this book as a model for building screenplays that follow a very specific narrative structure. You could call it a formula, but it is more based on how you pace and build the story structure than a set of cookie-cutter blueprints. Field uses the (awesome) movie Chinatown as the "ideal" example, and then uses a mockup story that is quite different as an in-process example. It also gives movie examples for variations.
Obviously, there have been excellent screenplays that don't follow this model. But this is definitely a good place to start. ( )
  caerulius | Aug 31, 2006 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0440576474, Paperback)

From concept to character, from opening scene to finished script..

Here are easily understood guidelines to make film-writing accessible to novices and to help practiced writers improve their scripts. Syd Field pinpoints the structural and stylistic elements essential to every good screenplay. He presents a step-by-step, comprehensive technique for writing the script that will succeed.

•Why are the first ten pages of your script crucially important?

•How do you collaborate successfully with someone else?

•How do you adapt a novel, a play, or an article into a screenplay?

•How do you market your script?

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:25:23 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A generation of screenwriters has used Syd Field's bestselling books to ignite successful careers in film. Now the celebrated producer/lecturer/teacher has updated his classic guide for a new generation of filmmakers, offering a fresh insider's perspective on the film industry today. From concept to character, from opening scene to finished script, here are easily understood guidelines to help aspiring screenwriters--from novices to practiced writers--hone their craft. Filled with updated material--including all-new anecdotes and insights, guidelines on marketing and collaboration, plus analyses of recent films--Screenplay presents a step-by-step, comprehensive technique for writing the screenplay that will succeed in Hollywood.--From publisher description.… (more)

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