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Syd Field tells his own remarkable story, sharing the insight and experience gleaned from an extraordinary career. Using classic movies from the past and present — from Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane to Andy and Larry Wachowski’s The Matrix — Field provides a guided tour of the basic elements common to all great films.
Fiedl explains what makes La Grande Illusion a groundbreaking, timeless classic ... how Casablanca teaches one of the most important elements of creating memorable characters for the screen ... why Pulp Fiction might be one of the most influential films of our time.
"Watching a movie is easy. But [often it can be difficult] to figure out how its structure, images, acting, camera work and scripts can make us respond so powerfully. Writing in a chatty, informal manner, the author of several popular screenplay-writing manuals (including Screenplay)…to autobiography to meditate on what makes a movie great. Whether he is addressing his friendship with the great French director Jean Renoir, whose masterpiece La Grande Illusion Field considers one of the foundations of modern cinema, or about his classes with the great feminist film director Dorothy Arzner, Field conveys an enormous amount of technical and practical knowledge….[and] centers his theoretical ideas on specific films and actors."–Publishers Weekly
“A true Hollywood character…no one sees films quite the way Field does. An engineer’s report on film construction and the view of an original thinker worth appreciating.” –Kirkus Reviews
"...he conducts us on his journey from confused college student, majoring in literature before finding his true love for the movies, to Hollywood professional and friend to such luminaries as directors Jean Renoir and Sam Peckinpah. En route, he lets us glimpse the less glamorous 9-to-5 side of Hollywood: in his days as a script reader, he estimates that he slogged through thousands of scripts, most hopelessly flawed, to find the 50 or so he eventually passed on to his bosses. Interesting reading for students - formal or informal - of film." -Jack Helbig, Booklist
“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, Like Water for Chocolate
Also by Syd Field:
The Screenwriter’s Workbook
Selling a Screenplay
The Screenwriter’s Problem Solver