THE FOUNDATIONS OF SCREENWRITING PDF
SYD FIELD SCREENPLAY THE FOUNDATIONS OF SCREENWRITING A STEP- BY-STEP GUIDE FROM CONCEPT TO FINISHED SCRIPT DOWNLOAD PDF. Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting. A step-by-step guide from concept to finished script. By Syd Field. Summary by Kim Hartman. This is a summary. Editorial Reviews. From Library Journal. Screenplay is one of the bibles of the film trade and has launched many a would-be screenwriter on the road to.
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Read Screenplay PDF - The Foundations of Screenwriting by Syd Field Virtuonica | A generation of screenwriters has used Syd Field's. PDF Drive is your search engine for PDF files. As of today we have 78,, eBooks for you to download for free. No annoying ads, no download limits, enjoy . Syd Field's Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting revolutionized the screenwriting industry and helped many new screenwriters since its publication.
Occasionally, there would be unforgettable moments—like watching Bogart and Bacall in To Have and Have Not, or Walter Huston's mad dance as he discovered gold in the mountains in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, or watching Brando stagger up the gangplank at the end of On the Waterfront.
I attended Hollywood High School and was invited to join the Athenians, one of the many clubs whose members hung out together during high school. A short time after graduation, one of my best friends, Frank Mazzola, also a member of the Athenians, met James Dean and formed a strong relationship with him.
Frank introduced Dean to what a high school "club" was like during this period by today's standards it would probably be referred to as a gang. Occasionally Dean would come with us when we strolled down Hollywood Boulevard on a Saturday night looking for trouble. We were the so-called tough kids, never backing down from anything, whether it was a dare or a fight.
We managed to get into a lot of trouble. Dean loved hearing about our "adventures" and would continually pump us for details. When we pulled some wild stunt, whatever it was, he wanted to know how it started, what we were thinking, how it felt. Actors' questions. It was only after Rebel Without a Cause was released and stormed the world that I became aware of how significant our contribution to the movie had been.
The irony of Dean's having hung out with us during that period had no real effect on me until after he died; only then, when he became an icon of our generation, did I begin to grasp the significance of what we had contributed. My family—aunts and uncles my parents had died several years earlier —wanted me to be a "professional person," meaning a doctor, lawyer, or dentist. I had been working parttime at Mount Sinai Hospital and I liked the drama and pace of emergency room medicine, so I entertained thoughts about becoming a doctor.
I enrolled at the University of California, packed up the few belongings I had, and drove to Berkeley. It was August Berkeley at the dawn of the '60s was an active crucible of revolt and unrest; banners, slogans, and leaflets were everywhere. Protest rallies were held almost every day, and when I'd stop to listen, FBI agents, trying to be inconspicuous in their shirts and ties, would be taking pictures of everyone. It was a joke. It didn't take long for me to be swept up in the activities personifying the fervid issues of the time.
Inspired by their voices and their lives, I, too, wanted to ride the waves of change. It wasn't too long before the campus exploded into a political frenzy initiated by Mario Savio and the Free Speech Movement.
It was during my second semester at Berkeley that I auditioned for, and was cast as, Woyzeck in the German Expressionist drama Woyzeck, by Georg Buchner. My relationship with Renoir literally changed my life. I've learned there are two or three times during a lifetime when something happens that alters the course of that life.
We meet someone, go somewhere, or do something we've never done before, and those moments are the possibilities that guide us to where we're supposed to go and what we're supposed to do with our lives.
That's true. But over the years, I've learned not to believe too much in luck or accidents; I think everything happens for a reason. There's something to be learned from every moment, every experience we encounter during the brief time we spend on this planet. Call it fate, call it destiny, call it what you will; it really doesn't matter. I auditioned for the world premiere of Renoir's play Carola, and was cast in the third lead, playing the part of Campan, the stage manager of a theater in Paris during the Nazi occupation in the last days of World War II.
For almost a year, I sat at Renoir's feet, watching and learning about movies through his eyes. He was always commenting on film, his opinions vocal and fervent about everything he saw or wrote, either as an artist, a person, or a humanitarian. And he was all of these.
Being in his presence was an inspiration, a major life lesson, a joy, a privilege, as well as a great learning experience. Though movies had always been a major part of my life, it was only during the time I spent with Renoir that I turned my focus to film, the same way a plant turns toward the sun.
Suddenly, I saw movies in a whole new light, as an art form to study and learn, seeking in the story and images an expression and understanding of life.
My love for the movies has fed and nourished me ever since. He was a man like any other, but what separated him, at least in my mind, was his great heart; he was open, friendly, a man of great intelligence, wisdom, and wit who seemed to influence the lives of everyone he touched. The son of the great Impressionistic painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Jean, too, had the great gift of sight. Renoir taught me about film, mentored me in the art of visually telling a story, and imparted the gift of insight.
He showed me the door, then held it open as I walked through. I've never looked back. He would quote his father about bringing an idea into existence.
No two leaves are exactly the same. The artist who paints only what is in his mind must very soon repeat himself. No two leaves, no two flowers, no two people are ever painted in the same way. It's the same with his son's films: Grand Illusion, Rules of the Game considered two of the greatest films ever made , The Golden Coach, Picnic on the Grass, and many more.
Renoir told me he "painted with light," the same way his father painted with oils. Jean Renoir was an artist who discovered the cinema in the same way his father "discovered" Impressionism. Thousands of years and the evolution of humankind condensed into the poetry of two pieces of film; it is a moment of magic and wonder, mystery and awe.
Such is the power of film. For the past few decades, as I've traveled and lectured around the world on the art and craft of screenwriting, I have watched the style of screenwriting evolve into a more visual medium. As I mentioned, we're seeing certain techniques of the novel, like stream of consciousness and chapter headings, beginning to seep into the modern screenplay.
It's clear that a whole new computer-savvy generation, who grew up with interactive software, digital storytelling, and editing applications sees things in a more visual way and is thus able to express it in a more cinematic style.
opposition confront each other at a peak of physical or emotional action.
Great films are timeless—they embody and capture the times in which they were made; the human condition is the same now as it was then. My purpose in writing Screenplay was to explore the craft of screenwriting and illustrate the foundations of dramatic structure. When you want to write a screenplay, there are two aspects you have to deal with.
One is the preparation required to write it: the research, thinking time, character work, and laying out of the structural dynamic. The other is the execution, the actual writing of it, laying out the visual images and capturing the dialogue.
The hardest thing about writing is knowing what to write. That was true when I first wrote the book, and it is now. This is not a "how-to" book; I can't teach anybody how to write a screenplay. People teach themselves the craft of screenwriting. All I can do is show them what they have to do to write a successful screenplay.
So, I call this a what-to book, meaning if you have an idea for a screenplay, and you don't know what to do or how to do it, I can show you.
As a writer-producer for David L. Wolper Productions, a freelance screenwriter, and head of the story department at Cinemobile Systems, I have spent years writing and reading screenplays. At Cinemobile alone, I read and synopsized more than two thousand screenplays in a little over two years. And of all those two thousand screenplays, I only found forty to submit to our financial partners for possible film production.
Why so few? Because ninety-nine out of a hundred screenplays I read weren't good enough to invest millions of dollars in. Put another way, only one out of a hundred screenplays I read was good enough to consider for film production.
And at Cinemobile, our job was making movies. At that time, in the early '70s, Cinemobile was a portable location facility that literally revolutionized film production. Basically, the Cinemobile was a Greyhound bus with an eight-wheel-drive, so we could store equipment in the luggage area, then transport cast and crew to the top of a mountain, shoot three to eight pages of script each day, and return home.
My boss, Fouad Said, the creator of the Cinemobile, became so successful that he decided to make his own movies, so he went out and raised several million dollars in a few weeks, with a revolving fund of many million more, if needed.
Pretty soon everybody in Hollywood was sending him screenplays. Thousands of scripts came in, from stars and directors, from studios and producers, from the known and the unknown.
That's when I was given the opportunity to read the submitted screenplays and evaluate them in terms of cost, quality, and probable budget. My job, as I was constantly reminded, was to "find material" for our three financial partners: the United Artists Theatre Group; the Hemdale Film Distribution Company, headquartered in London; and the Taft Broadcasting Company, parent company of Cinemobile. So I began reading screenplays.
As a screenwriter taking a much-needed break from more than seven years of freelance writing I had written nine screenplays: two were produced, four were optioned, and three nothing ever happened with , my job at Cinemobile gave me a totally new perspective on writing a screenplay.
It was a tremendous opportunity, a formidable challenge, and a dynamic learning experience. I kept asking myself what made the screenplays I recommended better than the others. At first I didn't have any answers, but I held it in my consciousness and thought about it a long time. Every morning, when I arrived at work, there would be a stack of screenplays on my desk, waiting. No matter what I did, no matter how fast I read or how many scripts I skimmed, skipped, or tossed, one solid fact always remained: The size of the pile never changed.
I knew I could never get through the pile. Reading a screenplay is a unique experience. It's not like reading a novel, play, or article in the Sunday paper. But that didn't work for me. I found it too easy to get caught up in the writer's words and style. I learned that most of the scripts that read well—meaning they featured lovely sentences, stylish and literate prose, and beautiful dialogue—usually didn't work.
While they might read like liquid honey flowing across the page, the overall feeling was that of reading a short story or a strong journalistic piece in a magazine like Vanity Fair or Esquire. But that's not what makes a good screenplay. I started out wanting to read and "do coverage" on—synopsize— three screenplays a day.
I found I could read two scripts without a problem, but when I got to the third, the words, characters, and actions all seemed to congeal into some kind of amorphous goo of plotlines concerning the FBI and CIA, punctuated with bank heists, murders, and car chases, with a lot of wet kisses and naked flesh thrown in for local color.
At two or three in the afternoon, after a heavy lunch and maybe a little too much wine, it was difficult to keep my attention focused on the action or nuances of character and story. So, after a few months on the job, I usually found myself closing my office door, propping my feet up on the desk, turning off the phones, leaning back in the chair with a script on my chest, and taking a catnap.
I must have read more than a hundred screenplays before I realized that I didn't know what I was doing. What was I looking for?
What made a screenplay good or bad? I could tell whether I liked it or not, yes, but what were the elements that made it a good screenplay? It had to be more than a string of clever bits and smart dialogue laced together in a series of beautiful pictures. Was it the plot, the characters, or the visual arena where the action took place that made it a good screenplay?
Was it the visual style of writing or the cleverness of the dialogue? If I didn't know the answers to that, then how could I answer the question I was repeatedly being asked by agents, writers, producers, and directors: What was I looking for? That's when I understood that the real question for me was, How do I read a screenplay? I knew how to write a screenplay, and I certainly knew what I liked or disliked when I went to the movies, but how did I apply that to the reading of a screenplay?
What I was looking for, I soon realized, was a style that exploded off the page, exhibiting the kind of raw energy found in scripts like Chinatown, Taxi Driver, The Godfather, and American Graffiti. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel. At the end of the book, Nick, the narrator, recalls how Gatsby used to stand looking out over the water at the image of the green light, beckoning him to past memories of unrequited love.
Gatsby was a man who believed in the past, a man who believed that if he had enough wealth and power, he could turn back time and recreate it. It was that dream that spurred him as a young man to cross over the tracks, searching for love and wealth, searching for the expectations and desires of the past that he hoped would become the future.
The green light. I thought a lot about Gatsby and the green light as I struggled through those piles of screenplays searching for "the good read," that special and unique screenplay that would be "the one" to make it through the gauntlet of studios, executives, stars,financialwizards, and egos and finally end up on that monster screen in a darkened theater.
It was just about that time that I was given the opportunity to teach a screenwriting class at the Sherwood Oaks Experimental College in Hollywood. At that time in the '70s, Sherwood Oaks was a professional school taught by professionals. It was the kind of school where Paul Newman, Dustin Hoffman, and Lucille Ball gave acting seminars; where Tony Bill taught a producing seminar; where Martin Scorsese, Robert Altman, and Alan Pakula gave directing seminars; where John Alonzo and Vilmos Zsigmond, two of the finest cinematographers in the world, taught classes in cinematography.
It was a school where producers, professional production managers, cameramen, film editors, writers, directors, and script supervisors all came to teach their craft.
It was the most unique film school in the country. I had never taught a screenwriting class before, so I had to delve into my own writing and reading experience to evolve my basic material. I kept asking myself.
And pretty soon I started getting some answers. When you read a good screenplay, you know it—it's evident from page one, word one. The style, the way the words are laid out on the page, the way the story is set up, the grasp of dramatic situation, the introduction of the main character, the basic premise or problem of the screenplay—it's all set up in the first few pages of the script: Chinatown, Five Easy Pieces, The Godfather, The French Connection, Shampoo, and All the President's Men are all perfect examples.
A screenplay, I soon realized, is a story told with pictures. It's like a noun; it has a subject, and is usually about a person, or persons, in a place, or places, doing his, or her, or their "thing.
Out of that understanding, I saw that any good screenplay has certain conceptual components common to the screenplay form. These elements are expressed dramatically within a structure that has a definite beginning, middle, and end, though not necessarily in that order. When I reexamined the forty screenplays submitted to our financial partners—including The Godfather, American Graffiti, The Wind and the Lion, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, and others—I realized they all contained these basic concepts, regardless of how they were cinematically executed.
I began teaching this conceptual approach to writing the screenplay.
If the aspiring writer knows what a screenplay is, what it looks like, I reasoned, it can be used as a guide or blueprint to point out the path through the forest. I've now been teaching this approach to screenwriting for over twenty-five years. It's an effective and comprehensive approach to the writing of a screenplay and the art of visual storytelling. My material has evolved and been applied by thousands and thousands of students all over the world. The principles in this book have been totally embraced by the film industry.
It's not uncommon for major film studios and production companies to contractually stipulate that a delivered screenplay must have a definite three-act structure and be no longer than 2 hours and 8 minutes, or pages, in length.
There are always exceptions, of course. At this writing, Screenplay has been reprinted nearly 40 times, gone through several editions, and been translated into some 22 languages, along with several black market editions: first in Iran, then in China, then Russia. When I began thinking about revising this book, I quickly realized that most of the films I had written about were from the '70s and that I wanted to use more contemporary examples, movies people might be more familiar with.
But as I went back into the book and saw the film examples I had originally used, I realized that most of them are now considered classics of the American cinema—films like Chinatown, Harold and Maude, Network, Three Days of the Condor, and others.
These films still hold up, on both an entertainment and a teaching level. In most cases, the films are as valid today as they were when they were made. Despite having some dated attitudes, they continue to capture a particular moment in time, a time of unrest, social revolution, and violence that mirrors some of the antiwar sentiments prevalent today.
The nightmare in Iraq is very similar to the nightmare in Vietnam. What I see and understand now, in hindsight, is that the principles of screenwriting that I delineated at the dawn of the '80s are just as relevant now as they were then. Only the expression has changed. This material is designed for everyone.
They're the only two books you'll ever need.
For a two hour movie, Act I would last approximately 30 minutes. Open with a bang and make the audience want to keep watching. This is the person in the story who has a need or an objective to fulfill, whose actions and development drive the story forward. It occurs approximately halfway through the first act 15 - 20 minute mark. It's usually the moment when the hero takes on the problem.
For a two hour movie, Act II would last approximately 60 minutes. Confrontation happens in Act II.
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Obstacles - In the second act, the main character encounters obstacle after obstacle that prevent him from achieving his or her dramatic need. Then, everything falls apart, leading to the midpoint. For a two hour movie, Act III would be the final 30 minutes. Resolution happens in Act III. A screenwriting template forged from the lessons taught by Syd Field in his book, "Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting. Flag for inappropriate content. Related titles. Writing in Pictures: Screenwriting] - J.
Theory and Technique of Playwriting and Screenwriting. Jump to Page. Search inside document.
Historical background. Voice over. Hand out t-shirts! Sergi Revolt. David Hohl. Bayram Yurdakurban. GAby Yepes.And who is it about? You're building the interior life of your character, the emotional life, on a firm foundation so that your character can move and evolve in a definite character arc through the story, can change and grow through certain emotional stages of the action.
A few years after leaving Hollywood High and roaming around the country, I enrolled at the University of California , Berkeley , packed the few belongings I had and drove to Berkeley. So try to phrase any questions using the word what: Continue you are this d somewhere? Where Discover the bisnis Items? Think about the first day of a new job, or a new school, or a new house or apartment; you'll meet new people, assume new responsibilities, create new friendships.