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Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting Paperback – November 29, 2005
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The Amazon Book Review
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“Syd Field is the preeminent analyzer in the study of American screenplays.” —James L. Brooks, AcademyAward–winning writer, director, producer
From the Inside Flap
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?
Top Customer Reviews
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!Read more ›
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.
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.
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...Read more ›
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?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An excellent guide including the advice on legal and financial aspects. I liked the repetition for emphasis; it was good for a novice such as me. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Roy F. Johnson
Have an idea for a character, a beginning, a middle, and an end for a screenplay? Buy this book, work it step by step, and in a few weeks you have a screenplay. Read morePublished 9 days ago by matthew s.
One of the classic books on screenwriting, and deservedly so. It's well worth picking up and reading. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Scott FS
The material is good, but I don't really get how he said it. It'snow his language's too hard to understand, it's English, everyone can understand it. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
(I'm 14 writing this on my mom's account)
This was an okay book, but I didn't really get much out of it. Read more
Tons of good information in here. Valuable tips. Outlines what you need to know and gives lots more details and examples. Great read.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
The general blueprint of the work looks aluring though the initial proposal is not well fulfilled, it is like he had good intentios but lost energy middleway,Published 2 months ago by Humberto Lucero