Four Screenplays: Studies in the American Screenplay

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Random House Publishing Group, Sep 30, 2009 - Performing Arts - 336 pages
Yes, you can write a great screenplay. Let Syd Field show you how.

“I based Like Water for Chocolate on what I learned in Syd's books. Before, I always felt structure imprisoned me, but what I learned was structure really freed me to focus on the story.”—Laura Esquivel

Technology is transforming the art and craft of screenwriting. How does the writer find new ways to tell a story with pictures, to create a truly outstanding film? Syd Field shows what works, why, and how in four extraordinary films: Thelma & Louise, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, The Silence of the Lambs, and Dances with Wolves.

Learn how:

Callie Khouri, in her first movie script, Thelma & Louise, rewrote the rules for good road movies and played against type to create a new American classic.
James Cameron, writer/director of Terminator 2: Judgement Day, created a sequel integrating spectacular special effects and a story line that transformed the Terminator, the quintessential killing machine, into a sympathetic character. This is how an action film is written.
Ted Tally adapted Thomas Harris's chilling 350-page novel, The Silence of the Lambs, into a riveting 120-page script—a lesson in the art and craft of adapting novels into film.
Michael Blake, author of Dances with Wolves, achieved every writer's dream as he translated his novel into an uncompromising film. Learn how he used transformation as a spiritual dynamic in this work of mythic sweep.

Informative and utterly engrossing, Four Screenplays belongs in every writer's library, next to Syn Field's highly acclaimed companion volumes, Screenplay, The Screenwriter's Workbook, and Selling a Screenplay.

“If I were writing screenplays . . . I would carry Syd Field around in my back pocket wherever I went.”—Steven Bochco, writer/producer/director, L.A. Law, Hill Street Blues

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Four screenplays: studies in the American screenplay

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What does it take to write a great script? You'll find the answer here, in the latest of Field's critically acclaimed books on the subject of screenwriting (e.g., Selling a Screenplay, LJ 10/1/89 ... Read full review


Callie Khouri
The First Ten Pages
The Second Ten Pages
The First Half of Act II
The Second Half of Act II 48
Judgment Day
Terminator 2 judgment Day
Where the Writer Begins
The Bilenee of the Lambs 188
From Book to Film
Plot Point and Beyond
Questions and Answers
First Principles
Dances with Wolves 887
Dances With Wolves 239

Writing the Screenplay
Setting Up the Story
The First Half of Act II
The MidPoint and Beyond
The Tin Man Gets a Heart
A New Life
The Trail of a True Human Being
The Passing of the Way
Casts and Production Credits 509

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About the author (2009)

Syd Field (1935–2013), the internationally renowned “guru of screenwriting,” was the author of eight bestselling books on the subject, including Screenplay, published in twenty-three languages and used in hundreds of colleges and universities nationwide and around the world. He was inducted into the Final Draft Hall of Fame in 2006 and was the first inductee into the Screenwriting Hall of Fame of the American Screenwriting Association. He was also a special consultant to the Film Preservation Project for the Getty Center.

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