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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Screenplay - by Syd Field
Just about the simplest and easiest to apply screenwriting book of them all. Syd takes you through, step-by-step and has little exercises at the end of each chapter that help show you how to apply what you've read. I had a screenplay I was working on and after reading the book I completely rewrote it and now it's been picked up by an agency.
Published on 26 Aug 2009 by Ray Smith

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56 of 62 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I'll admit it's a good idea to read this book, but...
Screenplay is a fine book, in a sense, simply because it has achieved such popularity that it has affected what studios expect from spec screenplays. A lot of it still holds true: most screenplays seem to have a "three act structure", whether or not the writer was thinking in these terms; most screenplays are very formulaic and created with buzzwords and...
Published on 17 Mar 1999


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Screenplay - by Syd Field, 26 Aug 2009
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Just about the simplest and easiest to apply screenwriting book of them all. Syd takes you through, step-by-step and has little exercises at the end of each chapter that help show you how to apply what you've read. I had a screenplay I was working on and after reading the book I completely rewrote it and now it's been picked up by an agency.
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56 of 62 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I'll admit it's a good idea to read this book, but..., 17 Mar 1999
By A Customer
Screenplay is a fine book, in a sense, simply because it has achieved such popularity that it has affected what studios expect from spec screenplays. A lot of it still holds true: most screenplays seem to have a "three act structure", whether or not the writer was thinking in these terms; most screenplays are very formulaic and created with buzzwords and phrases like "less black per page" and "show don't tell" in mind... Basically, most people want an easy paint-by-numbers approach to screenwriting. And all too often the paint-by-numbers crowd gets something produced (thankfully, most of them fail).
The problem with this book is that the "Syd Field paradigm" isn't such a hot thing anymore. Movies such as Pulp Fiction, LA Confidential, and Unforgiven, to name a few, have shown us and Hollwood that story is much more important than structure. The other major problem is that many suggestions within the book will get your work rejected at a glance. For instance, Syd Field basically suggests that we "direct on the page" when he advises occasional references to camera angles, reverses, POV, and close-ups in the slug line. Bad idea.
I found this book interesting but creatively stifling and a bit misleading. The author has his heart in the right place but seems a bit too sure of his theories.
Story and creativity are much more important than structure. The best way to tell if you're "on track" with your story is to ask yourself, "Do I like this?" Don't ask yourself, "How can I get Act One to end on page 27?"
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to read, great to learn!, 14 Oct 2002
I am almost finished with this book & it's an absolute find! I am studying screenwriting at the moment & found this book to be extremely helpful, both in & out of the class.
Syd Field's style is so very easy to follow & his use of repetition is excellent in making everything stick firmly in your mind!
I would suggest to anyone contemplating writing their own script to invest the time & money in this book. It will certainly help you achieve your goal...and maybe even your dream!
Best of luck:-)
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!, 4 Nov 2000
By A Customer
It seems that some people think that this book is suitable only for Americans who want to break into Hollywood- that simply isn't true. Yes, it probably was written for an American audience, but there are screenwriting truths here that are universal. As for these independant writers saying that the book doesn't cater for them, whose fault is that?? Don't take your lack of ambition out on an easy-to-use and very informative book. I'm from the U.K too, but I can see this book helping me no end. In a word- fantastic!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for beginners, 8 Aug 1999
By A Customer
I got this book after reading a review at ScreenStyle.com for screenwriters. It's an excellent resource and I'm going to buy all the rest of Mr. Field's books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, 24 July 1998
By A Customer
Outstanding book!! He doesnt tell you how to write, but gives you guidelines to keep in mind while writing your story. A definite book to keep next to your keyboard to help you remember the basics,,,also illustrates his guidelines with examples from other successful screenplays.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a wonderfully subtle information manuel, 5 May 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Screenplay Foundations (Hardcover)
Usually one should be skeptical of any book that claims to tell you how something should be written. Creative writing courses are essentially scams, intruments of brainwashing telling you what the proper way to write is supposed to be, and why you are wrong for showing any undilineated creativity. Syd Field, however, boosts the fundamentals of creativity, not telling you how to write your screenplay, simply making suggestions and proposing guidelines you should follow in the pre-writing period, how to outline your ideas so you won't forget or misplace something, how to structure your thoughts. This is almost a mathematical logic textbook, an 'I wish you luck' pat on the back. Syd never preaches, never says there is a wrong way to approach your story (although he does explain some of the cut-throat tactics of Hollywood and advises you how to skirt the single-minded, dictatorial machinations of Studio bosses.) Finally, Syd's technique is firmly in line with the era of Hollywood's final Golden age, 1967-1976 (the time when this book was written), when Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, Network, Taxi Driver, Chinatown, and more were being flashed on the screen, letting the viewer realize that there is more to making a movie that good acting and slick direction. This book helps you to explore what you really want your movie to be about in that easy time, before the egos set in, before your script is changed or stolen and made into the mess that finally wins you an Oscar.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Book, 22 Feb 2012
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I bought this book after applying to University to study creative writing and finding that I'd really like to take a shot at screenplay.

Syd Field is a wonderful author, his words are so easy to read and this is the first non-fiction book I've ever read and been captivated by as though it was fiction. I'm having to tear myself away from it!

As stated in a couple of other reviews, the book can be a little repetitive, even using the same phrasing in some parts, but overall I think this is okay because all it does is highlight the IMPORTANT points.

This book is now over 40 years old, so some of the factual information (Like the fact that a rocket powered boat has "not yet been invented", it has, I checked...) can be a little off, and the films and screenplays given as examples are a little outdated. Having said this, the films Field uses as examples are absolute CLASSICS and although I haven't seen any of them myself (Shame on me) I am very excited to get watching them and investigating their screenplays (some of which I have now bought on the advice of the book.

After reading the first few chapters of this book, I can't WAIT to start writing screenplays of my own, it's very inspirational and definitely recommended to all budding screenwriters.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Quite Simply A Must If You Haven't Sold A Script., 6 Aug 2010
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If you haven't sold a script yet, then you MUST read this. Syd relives his time as a reader and emphasises the importance of the first ten pages. It is filled with gems of knowledge that only someone of his experience would be able to pass on.

If you want to write the next Pulp Fiction or want to be the next Charlie Kaufman, then you may get a little frustrated by the structure element.

However, the structure is far from being out of date. I recently watched Inception and it sticks to the three act two plot point system that Syd preaches.

If you want to write a script or have tried in the past without success, then buy this book and read it over and over.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars overall a good book, 29 July 1999
By A Customer
This book helps you get started and gives you an idea of what needs to be done. It should be followed step by step. Most good screenplays do not follow some rigid plan. Use it to understand the basics and get to writing!
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Screenplay Foundations
Screenplay Foundations by Syd Field (Hardcover - 31 Dec 1998)
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