Syd Field was a renowned American screenwriter who won an Academy Award, an Emmy and a Golden Globe.
His screenplays have been made into two feature films, “The Killing” and “The Handmaid’s Tale”.
Field was born in Detroit on March 8, 1916. He received his BA degree in English from the University of Michigan in 1938.
After graduating, he worked as a substitute teacher while attending American University in Washington D.C., where he earned his MA degree in English literature in 1940.
Field worked as an editor for MGM Studios from 1946 to 1949 before becoming a writer. His first script was produced by RKO Radio Pictures and released in 1949 as “The Blue Veil”.
His second produced script was for Columbia Pictures’ 1951 film “Desire Me”. It starred Marlene Dietrich and David Niven with Charles Boyer and Olivia de Havilland in supporting roles.
Syd Field Screenplay Structure
Syd Field’s Screenplay Structure is a six-step process that guides writers from prewriting to rewriting. It is built on the premise that there are no unique rules for writing a screenplay or any other type of narrative.
But there are some universal principles that apply to all types of stories and situations, and these principles can be used to structure a screenplay based on the elements of story and character that you choose to focus on.
Step 1: The Audience
The audience is the primary element of your story and determines what kind of story you will tell. If you want to write an action movie, your audience will be men who like action movies; if you want to write an animated movie, your audience will be children.
The audience also tells you which elements of the story are most important: setting, characters and conflict.
Step 2: The Point Of View (POV)
The second element of your story is point of view (POV). A POV is the perspective from which a scene is told—whether it’s first-person (“I”), third-person (“he”) or omniscient (“she”). In
Screenplay Book By Syd Field
For screenwriters, the most important part of a screenplay is structure. The structure is the skeleton that holds everything together and gives it life.
A good story can have any number of things going on, but if the writer doesn’t have a strong understanding of structure, then those things will fall apart.
Screenwriting Structure: An Introduction to Storytelling Structure by Syd Field is an excellent book for understanding and applying the basics of screenplay structure. It’s kind of like taking a course in writing, but instead of being taught by a professor it’s being taught by someone who knows what he’s talking about.
Field spent over 30 years teaching screenwriting at UCLA and USC Film School. In addition to his many books on writing (The Screenwriter’s Workbook being one of his best) he also teaches at NYU Tisch School of the Arts as well as at UCLA Extension where he teaches film classes online through their program Veritas University.
Syd Field Paradigm
The Syd Field Paradigm is a style of scriptwriting that can be applied to any type of writing. It is a method of structuring the story, and it is a way of expressing your ideas in an organized way.
The Syd Field Paradigm consists of four pillars: Plot, Character, Moment and Theme. These four pillars are interdependent; one cannot exist without the others.
Each pillar supports the others, each contributes to the strength of the overall structure.
The Syd Field Paradigm is best used when you work with someone else on a project you are both working on together. Because this is a collaborative effort, there must be a clear understanding between both parties as to what each person’s role will be in producing the final product.
Syd Field’s Top Screenwriting Tips
- Write only what you know.
- Show, don’t tell.
- Begin every scene with a problem and end it with a solution.
- Focus on the character rather than the plot or theme of the story.
- Avoid beginning your story with exposition or flashbacks, which will only confuse readers and distract them from what you want to say about your character and his or her world.
- Make dialogue as simple as possible by using active verbs instead of passive ones; this will bring out the underlying meaning in your characters’ speech, making them seem more real and true-to-life than if they were just talking about objects or events that happened to them without participating in those events themselves (like when someone talks about someone else’s actions).
- Don’t describe people; show them! Describing physical characteristics is inexpensive but boring; showing someone how they look makes them come alive on the page and makes their actions believable because they feel like they’re living, breathing people instead of characters created by an author’s imagination who happen to be described as “tall
Why Was Syd Field Important For Screenwriting
Syd Field was a literary agent who specialized in literary agency, and he worked with many of the great writers of his time. He taught classes at UCLA, Stanford, and UC Berkeley.
Field’s writing advice was based on the principles of the 4-Act model, which is a common framework used by screenwriters in their work. In his book Syd Field’s Screenplay (1985), Field describes how the four acts of a screenplay can be broken down into different sections:
Act I – Description: This section is where you introduce your characters and establish the setting for your story. It also includes information about what’s going on in your character’s life that may affect their behavior later on in the film.
Act II – Inciting Incident: This section is where you set up conflict between your characters and give them something to fight about that will make them act out in their own unique ways from here on out.
Act III – Climax: This is where things get exciting as our protagonists solve their problems and overcome whatever obstacle stood in their way before now being overcome themselves! They finally reach their goal or reveal some new information about themselves or others around them that helps move things forward
Who Is Syd Field – Wrap Up
Syd Field is not only a bestselling author, but also a renowned and award-winning coach. He has been teaching writing for over 40 years and has helped countless writers get their work published.
In this interview with writer/author David Farley, Syd Field shares some of his secrets for getting your book written and published.
Syd Field is the author of 11 best-selling books on writing and publishing. His latest book, Write Like a Pro, was released in July 2017 by Writer’s Digest Books.
He has given over 200 seminars on writing across the country, including those at the White House and Harvard University. He has been an instructor at Stanford University since 1980.
Field has been teaching writing since 1970, when he co-founded The Screenplay Workshop in New York City. His other books include: How to Write a Screenplay (with Noel Sheppard); Or Write Anything: A Manual of Style;
The Elements of Screenwriting; The Elements of Fiction Writing; The Art of Fiction Writing; How To Write More Powerfully: A Guide For Parents And Teachers; How To Write A Life Story (with Nancy Kress); How To Write A Memoir: A Simple Guide For Writers