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Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  3,851 Ratings  ·  248 Reviews
A generation of screenwriters has used Syd Field’s bestselling books to ignite successful careers in film. Now the celebrated producer, lecturer, teacher, and bestselling author has updated his classic guide for a new generation of filmmakers, offering a fresh insider’s perspective on the film industry today. From concept to character, from opening scene to finished script ...more
Paperback, Newly Revised And Updated, 309 pages
Published November 29th 2005 by Delta (first published 1984)
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Sep 17, 2012 Cory rated it it was amazing
I thought this book was going to be a technical guide to formatting a screenplay.

I finished this book having no idea how to do that. Field spends half a chapter on formatting. Thank God for software like CeltX.

But I finished this book with a greater appreciation of the writing process. I now have a better idea of how movies are written, and thus a much more technical appreciation of the writer's creative decisions when I watch movies.

All movies are structured identically: 3 acts -- first, a kick
Mostafa Sakr
Jul 19, 2009 Mostafa Sakr rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2010
كتاب مهم ليس فقط لمن يسعى لتعلم كتابة السيناريو ، لكن برشحة لكل حد بيحب السينما كمشاهد وعادى ولاى كاتب ، الكتاب فية بعض الفصول المهمة على مستوى العلاقات الانسانية وفصول اخرى مهم بالنسبة للكاتب ورحلتة مع الكتابة من استكشاف للذات ونجاحات وفشل

الكتاب لة ترجمة باللغة العربية لواحد عراقى مش متذكر اسمة لكن الترجمة صادرة فى السبعينات مشكلة الترجمة ان اسماء الافلام اللى مذكورة فى امثلة الكاتب فى النسخة القديم اغلبها مش معروف دلوقتى لكن فى النسخة الجديدة اغلب الافلام معروفة
Jul 09, 2015 Christopher rated it did not like it

It's a warm summer night. Crickets chirp rapidly. All the windows in the house are dark, except one on the second floor.



A woman is sleeping silently on the right side of the bed. On the floor, a small dog is curled up and lightly snores. A man is reading on the left side of the bed by the reading light.

THE MAN, a nerdy-type with glasses and a stack of books on his bedsi
Yasser Himony
Apr 29, 2013 Yasser Himony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
الكتاب رائع وكعادة الكتب الأمريكية تهتم بالتفاصيل وإن كانت دقيقة ولكنها تميز المحترف عن الهاوي.لقد وجدت أن الأمر يختلف بطريقة كبيرة ما بين كتابة سيناريو لفيلم وكتابة رواية أدبية من حيث التكنيك والفنيات وهو ما ركز الكاتب عليه في كتابه إذ سرد أمثلة عدة من الأفلام ووضح الطرق العملية في كتابة سيناريو وحتى اقتراحاته التي بناها على خبرة واسعة في المجال.
يعاب فقط على الكتاب الترجمة العربية الغير جيدة وأعتبرها حرفية وذلك أمر خاطيء خصوصا أن الإنجليزية هنا هي أمريكية التي تعتمد على العبارات المجازية التي ق
Toby Elliott
Dec 03, 2007 Toby Elliott rated it liked it
i'm going to say i've finished this book, though i skipped a lot of chapter 14 & left 15 for some other day, or need of reference.

syd field is a no-nonsense, bridle no shit, formulaic bastard - but this book is an indispensable reference to those who are, actually writing a screenplay. granted, this is more for those who are "writing to sell a screenplay to Hollywood" than those who want to experiment with the form. mr. field is relentlessly capitalist about his notion of a 'good script,' a
Jay Michaels
Screenplay (1994) by Syd Field (3rd Edition).

"When cotton candy goes bad..."

I thought Fred Saberhagen's _Berserker Fury_ (1997) was redundant. While Syd Field's _Screenplay_ offers plenty of reassurance to the wanna-be screenwriter, pretty soon I got the point and was tired of all the cheerleading.

Field may indeed have something substantial to say, but I couldn't help wondering if this book started out as photocopied handouts (since Field apparently taught at Sherwood Oaks Experimental College)
Louis Kirby
Nov 13, 2013 Louis Kirby rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all fiction writers
Shelves: about-writing
I first wrote shadow of Eden as a Screenplay and this book is on the must read list for screenwriters. Well, I must say, it is extremely useful for novelists as well. I learned several key things from this book: first: get in late, get out early. Second: make the scenes visual Third: every story had bones, structure. Know your structure and build on it. Otherwise you'll have no direction, no form and the reader will sense it in three pages and bolt - or give you a bad review.

Bonus: every movie
عزت أمين
Feb 13, 2013 عزت أمين rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

نصيحة..أقرأ هذا الكتاب مرتين على الأقل قبل أن تكتب
أى سيناريو
سيد فيلد للسيناريست كنيوتن للفيزائى
Mar 29, 2007 sallie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: screenwriters or film enthusiasts
structure is a beautiful thing. i carried this book around in my purse for weeks.
Felipe Oquendo
Mar 10, 2017 Felipe Oquendo rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lidos-em-2017
A Bíblia do roteirismo. Syd Field (falecido em 2013) foi um roteirista e, principalmente, um leitor e selecionador de roteiros que resolveu fazer um livro onde colocasse todas as dicas básicas para aspirantes, noviços e veteranos na arte do roteiro.

Screenplay é um livro cuja forma serve a seu propósito. Por isso, não se pode chamar de um manual, sendo mais semelhante aos Espelhos de Príncipes barrocos, ou aos handbooks caseiros do século XIX nos Estados Unidos. Tem de tudo aqui: teoria poética (
Jan 09, 2017 Haley rated it it was amazing
This is by far the best screenwriting manual that I have read! I came across it quite by accident in a used book store when I was first getting into screenwriting and it has helped me immensely. I liked the author, Syd Field, so much that I then went and purchased all his other books. If you were to only choose one of his many helpful writings, I would say this is the one to choose! This got me excited and motivated to write! I would recommend it for anyone who is either beginning in the industr ...more
Amanda Erickson
I read this book because it was recommended in The DC comics guide to writing comics.

The idea was to use this book to help solidify an idea for a comic I'm wanting to create.

I'm really not sure how to review this book.

It's really bad in some areas and really good in others.

It has a few tips and tricks that I found helpful and a nice breakdown/description of all the different screenplay formatting and camera direction.

There are a couple exercises that are suggested that might be helpful (I haven
Psát recenzi na "učebnici" je vážně problémové – jak má člověk hodnotit něco, z čeho byste se měli učit a hodnotit to jako jakoukoli jinou prózu? Čtyři hvězdičky jsou každopádně asi takové optimum, protože ta kniha je fakt dobrá. Vážně. Dala mi hodně věcí nejen o psaní scénářů (ani jeden jsem ještě nenapsal, ale whatever), ale taktéž mi to pomohlo si uvědomit věci,k které by se daly promítnout do psaní obecně. Ode dneška si začnu uvědomovat věci schované ve filmech, které musíte mít zaryté v pod ...more
Jul 06, 2016 Thomas rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like film, but I don't write screenplays. Maybe I'll write one some day, though I'd much prefer to adapt my bestselling, breakout novel, whenever I actually get around to writing it ;-). But I saw an old copy of this lying in my neighborhood's "tiny library" book exchange, so I figured I'd give it a try. It sounds like Field provides some really good, basic tips on constructing and writing a screenplay. As I said, I really had no intention of writing one when I read this, but I certainly felt ...more
Sep 09, 2008 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing-books
The author is truly a genius. This book is a guidebook written to teach the reader. I took copious notes while reading the book that I later highlighted in a notebook. The only negative thing I can think of is that because of the many examples of movies cited in his book, I started watching more movies than writing and watched them all with a critical eye. Now, It's more challenging than ever to enjoy a movie as I am always thinking, was that the best way to show this, should this be omitted, wa ...more
Mar 23, 2013 Craig rated it it was ok
Field has very specific ideas on what constitutes a good screenplay, and if you share those ideas and the philosophical assumptions that underlie them, this is potentially a very rewarding book. However, Screenplay does not allow for the existence of good screenplays that violate its underlying ideology, nor does it recognize the need for screenplays that expand the grammar of screenwriting. This is a very good travel guide to a very small world for people who don't plan on making any additional ...more
Sharif Khan
Nov 20, 2015 Sharif Khan rated it really liked it
When it comes to understanding story structure and mastering the craft of storytelling and writing cinematically - Syd Field's SCREENPLAY is on my 'top ten' bookshelf of valued story writing reference books.
S. Willett
Jan 20, 2015 S. Willett rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing, non-fiction
Even if I never write the screenplay, this book gave me a greater insight into writing in general. Learning about Plot Points enriched my idea of an outline giving me a better handle on my current work in progress.

I highly recommend this book to students and writers.
Jul 13, 2016 Freder rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is considered a bible in the industry -- ALL Hollywood screenwriters now conform rigidly to Field's notions of screenplay structure -- and that's why I consider this book to be the Root of All Evil.
Jan 02, 2015 Ilona rated it really liked it
Very useful for the begining and understanding the basics. A bit repetetive. Ending relevant only for writers in US.
Jeremy Hung
Jul 17, 2016 Jeremy Hung rated it did not like it
"When I heard the last lines of the film, "Forget it, Jake....It's Chinatown," that's exactly what I wanted to do. By the time I got home, I had already forgotten about it."
Adnan AbuZeid
Jun 27, 2016 Adnan AbuZeid rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
الكتب المنهجية تكون نوعاً ما مملة .. بس هذا الكتاب مختلف ويحجي كل شي مثل ما هوه بلا تعقيد
السلبية الوحيدة انه الكتاب صادر بالـ 1983 يعني معلوماته قديمة والأفلام اللي يحجي عنها أغلبها ما شايفيها ..
Rai Yuvraj
May 09, 2015 Rai Yuvraj rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book. A filmmaker's lifetime companion.
Omar Shehab
Oct 20, 2014 Omar Shehab rated it it was amazing
A must for anyone who wants to appreciate film better.
Nov 24, 2016 Richard rated it really liked it
If Save the Cat is like arithmetic, Screenplay is like algebra.

What’s fascinating to me is the type of person each of these books was written for, which can be gleaned from the movies recommended by the authors. Blake Snyder loves Legally Blonde and Four Christmases while Syd Field is more of an American Beauty and The Shawshank Redemption guy. Snyder wants to cash in on the mostly clueless get-rich-quick crowd whereas Field aims at aficionados who have good concepts but no idea how to execute;
Jan 25, 2017 Ietrio rated it it was ok
Shelves: junk
The first 10% of the amount of pages is the Introduction. In which the author tries really hard to look smart. And somehow Lajos Egri gets dragged into this, although Mr. Egri had a very good and readable book. Okay. Maybe it's the old age. Old man wrote a very good book and it's his only book and now in the after-4-decades he gets to brag about it. It sounds reasonable.

The first chapter is another 10% of the book. Besides of a small diagram of a script the reader gets the old man's ramblings ab
Kurt Santana
Mar 08, 2017 Kurt Santana rated it it was amazing
If this is your first time reading a "manual" of this sort, you might get annoyed at how many times he repeats many of the same concepts. However, those ideas need to be absorbed in order to become part of the creative process. Field, here, is lending you a method. A story in three acts can be finished in six months. If one wants to approach methodically.
J.D. Buchmiller
Feb 21, 2017 J.D. Buchmiller rated it it was amazing
This is the most helpful book that I've read about Screenwriting. Even more so than my textbooks. This guy knows what he's talking about; I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about Screenwriting and the process of showing it to directors/producers.
John Fredrick
Feb 24, 2017 John Fredrick rated it it was amazing
Great book. Learned so much about screen writing.
Becky Woodall
Feb 16, 2017 Becky Woodall rated it really liked it
This is a great beginning book for fledgling screenwriters. It's really a nuts and bolts approach with examples to clarify the tips that Field gives. The examples that are used to illustrate Field's assertions are taken from pretty old screenplays so that's a consideration if you are a younger reader, but I don't think knowing or not knowing the films that are cited is that important. The book is readable and short so reading it cover to cover is probably my recommendation. I found it a helpful ...more
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Sydney Alvin Field was an American screenwriting guru who wrote several books on the subject of screenwriting. He also conducted workshops and seminars on the subject of producing salable screenplays. Hollywood film producers have increasingly used his ideas on structure as a guideline to a proposed screenplay's potential.
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