7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Good basic information, but poor writing,
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This review is from: Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting (Paperback)
I bought this as my first book on screenplays, and while it did provide me with some good information, it's no more extensive or complex than anything you can find on the internet for free. On top of that, Field repeats himself ceaselessly (a good quarter of the book is just rehashed material from earlier), contradicts himself at times, *always* has key terms in italics (a sure sign of a writer who thinks little of his audience's memory or intelligence), and in general is frankly not a very good writer.
Unlike some of the other detractors, though, I don't believe that it's a strike against him as an authority that he hasn't had any screenplays published. We all know how monumentally difficult it is to get even a good screenplay turned into a movie in Hollywood, so why penalize someone for not being one of the lucky ones who've managed that? What you have to do is look at the screenplays themselves and discover whether it is due to a myopic Hollywood, or that the screenplay really just isn't that good.
Fortunately for us, he includes an excerpt from his screenplay about an attempt at the water speed record. Yes, a dull subject made all the duller by writing that reminded me of a bad 1950s radio announcer calling a minor league baseball game.
To reiterate, you may find this book informative if you're an absolute beginner to drama, but if you've already read a lot of books, watched a lot of movies (good and bad) and can use Google, you probably either already have all this information in your head or can find it in other places--and from better teachers. I would liken it to learning beginning algebra from someone who never got past trigonometry in school: at first you think your teacher knows so much, but then you read ahead about something called calculus....