- Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Delta (February 17, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0440504910
- ISBN-13: 978-0440504917
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,219 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Screenwriter's Problem Solver: How to Recognize, Identify, and Define Screenwriting Problems Paperback – February 17, 1998
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Can't get your characters to shut up? Is the bit player in Act II more compelling than your protagonist? Do your scenes drag on f-o-r-e-v-e-r? Whatever your problem, screenwriting guru Syd Field can help; he's written four previous books on screenwriting, teaches worldwide, and is "involved in the reading and writing of about a thousand screenplays a year." Screenplays bog down in vague and mysterious ways, says Field; identifying a screenwriting problem is half the battle. Fixing a screenplay that seems dazed and confused might seem like Mission: Impossible, but you've got to have courage under fire. By identifying symptoms in the writing, Field isolates about 20 different screenwriting problems, each related to plot, character, or structure (after all, what else is there?). His fixes generally involve getting to know your characters or story better, through the use of automatic writing, biographical sketches, and the like. For examples of spectacular screenwriting, he offers excerpts from the screenplays for Thelma and Louise, The Shawshank Redemption, Pulp Fiction, Apollo 13, and Silence of the Lambs. Field is a man of many mantras: "Writing is rewriting," "Film is behavior," "Drama is conflict," "Action is character." But his advice is so useful that you'll forgive him his facile phrasemaking. And you'll thank him for persuading you that, yes, "a problem is an opportunity, a challenge that will allow you to ultimately improve your craft." --Jane Steinberg
With examples from Pulp Fiction, How to Make an American Quilt, The Shawshank Redemption, Crimson Tide, Broken Arrow...and more of Hollywood's biggest hits
"The most sought-after screenwriting teacher in the world."—The Hollywood Reporter
"If I were writing screenplays...I would carry Syd Field around in my back pocket wherever I went."—Steven Bochco, writerproducerdirector, L.A. Law, NYPD Blue
"I based Like Water For Chocolate on what i learned in Syd's books. Before, I always felt structure imprisoned me, but what I learned was structure really freed me to focus on the story."—Laura Esquivel
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Top customer reviews
The only place I had trouble was in following his screenplay examples since I hadn’t seen most of the films. But, if I took it upon myself to see them, I’m sure Field’s remarks would make a lot of sense.
Also, the book was last copyrighted in 1998. While the basics are surely there, a little updating might have been in order.
Most recent customer reviews
I guess my brevity didn't qualify so well golly gee whiz I don't know what else to say
It's a great addition to any...Read more