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The Screenwriter's Workbook

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  1,127 ratings  ·  58 reviews
extremely rare - excellent condition - ships daily via USPS First Class with Tracking
Paperback, 211 pages
Published August 1st 1988 by Dell Publishing Company (first published 1984)
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Steev Hise
Oct 15, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: filmmaking, own-it
This is one of many "how to write a script the Hollywood way so you can sell it and make tons o' money" books. It's full of really boring standard rules about how stories and scripts work and what you're supposed to do and they're just all very unconvincing. It was good to read just to kind of get a grasp of what this famous guru thought, but i was pretty skeptical the whole way through.

I think with a lot of books like this, it's for people who really aren't that creative or don't think they ar
Jason Koivu
Nov 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: how-to, writing
Quintessential screenwriter's how-to book. I read this a few times and reference it now and then as well. It was a tremendous help in getting me off the ground when I first started writing scripts, especially since I'd never even taken a class in it or had any study on the subject whatsoever.
May 04, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: writers, screenwriters, anyone who loves making up stories
Recommended to Bryan by: A screenwriting teacher
This book has some great, basic knowledge about what happens in our minds whenever we sit to read, watch, or write a story. I think the author did a great job of simplifying the content and keeping it in line with Aristotle's "Poetics" (upon which this book and all other books about stories are based).

The only thing I don't like about a lot of these books is that they often times put dissolute content in without giving the reader a good warning of when it's coming. Still, on the whole it's a rea
Oct 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing, 2010, nonfiction
I thought it was a great analysis of how movies are put together. I ended up watching DIE HARD after reading it, and I was shocked at how more in-tune I was with the movie. Even if you're not interested in writing, I'd recommend this book.
This Workbook explains only one screenplay structure and all of its standard rules step by step. Field is basically going through a play which Hollywood loves and which would actually "make money" or smth like that. It ends up being really boring and mechanical, especially if you end up writing more than one screenplay.

There's many other structures in screenwriting as well, as for example episodes, biographical etc., but none of them are even mentioned. I really would have hoped he would have a
Jul 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
I admit that I didn't read this book in its entirety. I could tell just by flipping through it that it was a bit repetitive, but that doesn't mean that Field doesn't impart useful knowledge. He does! His approach has led to many a successful movie. And I appreciate that he points readers to Aristotle's Poetics in the end notes.
Adam Morgan
Feb 03, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfic
Some useful tips here, but Field just isn't a good writer (on the page). He rambles, digresses, and there isn't much structure to be found. Beginning screenwriters are much better off with McKee.
Jason Marinko
Mar 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
The newly revised and updated edition from 2006 uses an excellent array of examples from more modern films(than it's predecessor). The process is explained masterfully and helped me complete my first two complete scripts. From the first thoughts on paper exercise to the elusive middle plot to the resolution, Syd Field guides you to craft your own original script.
Even if you are not necessarily looking to craft a script the book will change the way you watch films. Soon you will find yourself bre
Sarah O'Toole
Mar 31, 2020 rated it liked it
I was thrown into the deep end with having to teach a screenwriting course and this was useful in terms of getting students kickstarted on their writing projects. There are a lot of useful exercises, and prompts to get you thinking a bit more deeply and I think it would be really helpful in preparing material for anything. I also like how he kind of takes you by the hand and guides you through the process.

Some of his examples are really enlightening, and I think that's what I enjoyed most about
Nora Aleksandra Tsahkna
May 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The best book for a starting screenwriter - I've learned a lot and the workbook exercises help with finishing your own story - way more useful than any of the novel writing books I've read. Work through it slowly and it does wonders to your writing!
Screenwriting is about the structure and knowing what you want to write to the detail. Knowing the structure helps you guide your story through the difficult scenes. Asking correct questions and noticing the rhythm. High praise for this book for the
Sharmili Priyadarsini
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I am in no means to judge this book, I picked this one up to gift a friend of mine. Yet I was so intrigued while browsing through the pages and got curious to know what does it take to be a screen writer. Though I did not do all the exercises from this book as recommend, I have tried some and I am hoping to strictly follow the workshop
approach during my re-read to complete my first screenplay. As Syd Field mentioned multiple times, perfection exist only in theory and I have started doing it inst
Korneel Snauwaert
Nov 09, 2019 rated it did not like it
So extremely badly written (typical American self-help style) that it became a stuggle to finish. Sometimes Field will literally write the same thing three times in consecutive sentences. Worst book I've ever held in my hands. Plus, it destroys screenwriting as an art form. That said, it has a couple useful ideas, as well as a certain motivational value.

It was recommended by Dan Harmon. He used it with Rob Schrab to write their first screenplay. But I feel like he gives Field too much credit.
Nov 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: budding script writers & writers into experimenting
Had to read this for my script writing class. It's a very good guide indeed! I also had to watch some of the movies in the book for context (and class). So for someone learning script writing for the first time (especially with an instructor), this was helpful.

I hope this will lead me to others like it.
Taher El Moataz Bellah
Mar 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant follow up after Syd Field's master piece: Screenplay. This book is more focused on the know how, on the application. Its a good refresher and has more practical tips and insights. Again, a must read book like for anyone interested in screenwriting like its predecessor.
Sep 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Provided a really clear and direct path to writing a screenplay that I found incredibly useful and enlightening.
Biswajit Mondal
Jan 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
It's better than the foundation of screenplay book. It gives you tools, keeps you on track while writing, gives you specific goals to achieve. I liked it
Jan 23, 2020 rated it liked it
Useful for beginner screenplay writers. Experts may want to research Robert Mckee.
Feb 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Good foundation for the aspiring screen writer.
Jan 15, 2016 rated it did not like it
I'll preface this by saying that I read a very old edition of this book. I had the opportunity to flip through the most recent edition, and it actually looked very different. The organization looked like it might have been improved and the text was different. So, if you do pick up this book, maybe go for the newer one and you'll have better luck?

As for the copy that I read, the writing was confusing. I felt that there was good information there, but I really had to sift for it. The examples of
Sean McElhiney
Jan 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Back in the late nineties I wrote eighty-plus pages of an aimless screenplay, carried it to a writers conference in San Luis Obispo, CA, where I expected to be showered with praise, but was instead introduced to this work by Syd Field. (I wish I could remember the name of the woman who taught the course there. She was a script doctor who did some uncredited work on The Santa Clause, I remember she said, kicking herself for declining credit when it was offered).

There are so many arguments out th
J.M.J. Williamson
Aug 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
Having read a number of books on writing and screen writing that have mentioned Syd Field and his approach to story structure, it is interesting to read his thoughts first hand. Much of the content of the book was familiar to me; but Syd Field has his own way of presenting it. The book is packed with practical ideas and guidance. He is very much a believer in the three-act structure. He advocates a four page outline featuring the main plot points in detail and the rest in broad terms to get thin ...more
Syd Field has some great pointers and guidelines. The problem is that all of the goo stuff is buried in the mounds and mounds of expository gunk and constant reiteration of the same phrases and anecdotes (sometimes word for word from this book as well as the two companion works). This would have benefited from a good editor, since he seemed to be afflicted with that same ailment a lot of famous writers get - editors are afraid to touch any word in the manuscript of their "cash cow" and so it lea ...more
Ken Riley
Nov 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Insightful, inspiring and informative, The Screenwriter's Workbook is an invaluable guide to writing and perfecting a screenplay. Finally, after having read half a dozen books on screenwriting, I've found an author who pats his readers (and potential writers) on the back, wishing them good will, rather than one with a stick up his ass too eager to tell them why they'll never make it in Hollywood.
Sep 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
This supplemented Syd Field's Screenplay, and it was a step-by-step tutorial in writing an actual screenplay.

You won't produce saleable material by following Field's guide. But you'll know HOW to do it if you practice and hone your craft. You have to start somewhere, and this is a great place -- AFTER you've read Screenplay.
Apr 01, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: writing
This book is literally the EXACT same thing as Field's other books just with more pomposity and self-serving rhetoric and maybe a different heading here and there. Just read his first book, he wrote this (in my opinion) to make money on people who think it will make them better writers, which personally makes me hate it.
Mar 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
This worbook is full of good information for anyone who writes. It is a book that focuses on screenwriting, but really the tools found here can be used for any genre of writing. It is definitely worth a read.
Joshua Stephen
Mar 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is THE text for aspiring screenplay writers. If one wants to write a screenplay, not just stare at a blank page this is his/her book. I formed my 'system' as informed by the likes of Stanislavski, Meyerhold, Ibsen, Chekhov, Pudovkin, Hitchcock and this book.
Luke Stine
Jun 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very repetitive and somewhat drawn out but I have definitely stained the pages with my highlighter. Read once through not doing the exercises and plan on going back now doing the end chapter exercises in succession. Overall a good tool for beginners.
Natasha Marie
Jan 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is invaluable! Not only for screenwriters but to writer's in general. With Syd Field's guidance the reader is able to see how to get the meat from their story. How to take a singular, small, unorganized idea and turn it into a mountain. I can't wait to read his other books!
Mike MacConnell
Feb 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is THE book for screenwriting. It totally helped me along and has dramatically improved my screenwriting skills. It's a must have for anyone interested in writing a screenplay
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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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