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Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
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Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting Paperback – November 29, 2005

4.4 out of 5 stars 222 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Screenplay is one of the bibles of the film trade and has launched many a would-be screenwriter on the road to Hollywood.” —Library Journal

“Syd Field is the preeminent analyzer in the study of American screenplays.” —James L. Brooks, AcademyAward–winning writer, director, producer

From the Inside Flap

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?
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Delta; Revised edition (November 29, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385339038
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385339032
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (222 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,216 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
To sum up my opinion of the book in a short sentence: it's not the most amazing book ever, but I don't regret having read it. The good side of it is that the three act structure and all sound like a good plan to start working on a script. It does help a tonload to be able to cover so much ground in such a short time and with such big lines. I won't deny that. The card system is quite nice too, but you don't need 300 pages to learn that.

The thing that struck me the most was how redundant Field could get. Seriously, there are entire blocks of sentences that you will read over and over again. At first I thought that sounded really bad... I mean, if you're a famous script-writer and all, your writing should reflect that. So I was confused. Then, and I don't know if that saves it or not, I figured that the repetition was perhaps not so bad, since it kept hammering the same basic things in your mind, and since that helps to remember. It's a bit like a class, I guess.

I'm not saying that Field can't write, however, I think he merely opted for a personal style, oral if you want, and I don't think it's any fair to criticise too much on this aspect as other critics did. He's not writing a novel, he's writing about screenplay and he's talking to you.

I didn't buy this because I wanted to write a movie, I was curious about the script as a form of writing. Now I feel secure enough to consider writing a whole movie even though I never intended to, and that's pretty cool, I have to admit.

On the flip side, I have my doubts about Syd Field. Now, maybe I'm a dumb person, but I wasn't able to find a single movie written by him. And he doesn't mention any of his own scripts!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Larry Brooks, whose "Story Engineering" I swear by, swears himself by this book. I couldn't wait to read it.

I was disappointed. Brooks presents Syd Field's information far more concisely, and in a much less anecdotal manner. If you buy "Story Engineering," you can skip this one.
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Format: Paperback
I liked this book. Coupled with Syd Field's Screenwriter's Workbook, I managed to write a first draft of a screenplay. I've never been able to complete a play or screenplay before reading these books! This book gives you the background of screenplays and writing, plus his theory of what makes a good Hollywood screenplay. The workbook gives you a step by step process of writing one.

One drawback is that this book was written in the 80's. Sometimes it sounds so dated. The other drawback is it only explains one type of screenplay, the standard Hollywood 3-act narrative.

Overall, this book was a great help in writing a readable well structured screenplay.
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I realize how well thought of Syd Field is, and his contributions, so I bought this book to help me with my screenwriting. I wanted to like it, I really did, but after a few chapters I just couldn't stand it anymore. Way too dry and inaccessible for me. It's ironic that a guy writing about screenwriting could write a book that is such a difficult and mind-numbing read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting" by industry giant Syd Field is considered to be the bible of modern screenwriting texts, and has been for many years. It's a well-deserved badge of honor.

Field approaches the art of screenwriting logically, positively, explaining step by step the hows, whats, and whys of the biz. He addresses the technical points of length, description, planning, all in a way that makes absolute sense to any reader... regardless of their knowledge of the film industry, educational level, or age. He uses popular film examples to underscore his methods, which help enormously. This book gives any reader the right foundation to begin a screenplay with absolute confidence.

As an aside..... let's also not forget that the way Syd Field writes--his prose--is so reader friendly, and so understandable... he could be writing completely random crap and it would still be an absolute pleasure to read it. I've found that most writing "how-to" texts are extremely boring, procedural... very INSTITUTIONAL... this book is not at all institutional, and it's very easy on the eyes and brain when you're reading it.

My only criticism with this book is a big one... though it doesn't necessarily diminish the importance of the work itself. This book is 18 chapters long, but for all intents and purposes, it basically ends after Chapter 13 ("Screenplay Form").

Chapters 14-18 discuss extreme subjects unrelated to the "foundations of screenwriting." They discuss adaptation and collaboration... matters FAR ABOVE (and not particularly applicable) the neophyte, aspiring screenwriters that would be reading a book such as this one. Yet, Chapters 14-18 also discuss very simplistic matters that are likely FAR BENEATH those that would be reading this...
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By noah on July 12, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book a while ago and it has taken me awhile to actually read it. I started this book and I liked it at first, easy to read and it actually taught me stuff, but eventually I got bored. The writer seemed to basically repeat stuff, but in a different way and the way it was wrote just seemed mediocre. It seemed as if he was trying to teach a class, then began overflowing the book with examples from other movies. He also uses the same movies for examples. American Beauty, Seabiscuit, Lord of the Rings, Thelma and Louise and Pulp Fiction a little. Now, I love me some Tarantino and if he used Pulp Fiction as the the example I would've respected that and been proud of it, but he didn't. And these other movies were good examples, but I just feel like Field relied on examples too much. I didn't even read the whole book all the way through cause it became annoying to read. I ended up reading what I thought I needed to learn and I PROBABLY would've learned more from actually reading it word for and and not skimming it. The only good thing that came from this book is that I did learn the industry phrases and a few, yes, major things and I'm glad I did.

P.S. Page 140 spells Thurman like Thurmound once. Later on he spells the lovely Uma Thurman's name correctly, but really, can't spell check a novel?
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