Why is Syd Field much maligned?



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  • #31
    Re: Seger

    Sparky: I most definately agree. The have-tos and the musts and the need-tos and the gottas are just unnecessary.

    As for Seger: I find her writing abysmally boring, but I guess that really has nothing to do withthe advice she gives, just the way in which she gives it. Which makes me snore.



    • #32
      Re: Seger


      perhaps in another thread, if you have the time, could you briefly summarize your experience in the 6 week writing course, perhaps how much it cost, and what you feel you got out of it?


      • #33
        Re: Seger

        I'll see if I can pull something together and post it. It was a free course that Milch allowed anyone to come to (of course it filled up very quickly once word got out). I don't know if I can really summarize what he said but if I get some time I'll try.


        • #34
          Re: Seger

          much obliged, steve, and if you don't end up with the time, no sweat - i know it was a rather tall request on my part. just that i think real working writers have certain insights into the craft that you don't get from others.

          cheers. and btw, i think a free <!--EZCODE ITALIC START--> 6 WEEK<!--EZCODE ITALIC END--> course is beyond belief. this guy is something.


          • #35
            Re: Seger

            I think this excerpt from a review of Syd Field's "FOUR SCREENPLAYS" is how I would best describe my feelings towards reading Field, McKee and Seger.

            "Field handles the subject of screen writing visually. His book "Screenplay" was immensely helpful to me, even if I did have to get darned serious with it and plow through it several times. But, describing the elements of good screen writing is, after all, much more complex than explaining in words how to make a tasty stew.

            The stew recipe could be followed by most anybody and the result would likely be okay, but Field's subject is much more complex and subjective. Nevertheless, anyone who pays attention and will apply themselves can benefit from this book, and from "Screenplay" as well."

            Gleam what you can from these books. Don't absorb them as "musts" or absolutes. Learn to balance what these books have to say (and why they are or were revered and respected) and your own taste and style.

            That's just me.


            • #36
              Syd Field, Trottier, Lew Hunter, etc. are not screenwriting messiahs. They are interpreters, experts in the field of screenpLAYMAN's terms.

              They took Aristotle's Poetics and Lajos Egris' The Art of Dramatic Writing, diluted it, dumbed it, and disguised it as their very own stream-lined writing ethic.

              Burried within the page number stops, character archs, reveals, subplotting mechanics... can be found a solitary truth. Screenplays aren't algorithims.

              They are talented storyteller extract.


              • #37
                Syd talks about adding depth or dimension to a character through use of a flashback to an important or traumatic event when younger.

                IMO this is referenced or satirized in Being John Malkovich, when the pet chimp has a flashback to the trauma of being captured and seeing his parents taken away.

                I wish I could Charlie Kaufman if I'm right about this.


                • #38
                  Charlie Kaufman's screenplay ADAPTATION rips on
                  all that, especially another guru - Robert McKee.


                  • #39
                    I don't think I learned anything about writing when I read Seger. "Making a good script great" was the first "how to" I read and I finished and wondered if I was even capable of being a writer because I fell asleep more often then I was taking notes on the text. I learned mroe about writing from Capra's autobiograhy then I did from Seger. And Capra issn't trying to teach you anything.

                    Mckee was when it started to click for me, and after I read 3 of Field's books, I was completely confused because it seemed like Mckee and Field should be going at it in an MTV claymation boxing match.

                    But I'm sticking with Mckee. Someone said before that he was quite the poetic writer, and I agree. I was insipred my McKee and I think thats all that matters when you are reading these books.

                    I write treatments first like Syd would say but I don't follow the formula. I leave room for brain farts, but I'm critical of them. Its like Mckee says in his book. He quotes Hemingway I think when he says, "Writing without limitations is like playing tennis with no net." I use my treatment to tell me were I'm supposed to be headed, but I let the characters and the story tell me what all the details are along the way.

                    Field would burst his bubble if his students would write the way I am, but hey, we can't all be brilliant.

                    I'm hoping that some time soon William Goldman will write a "how to". If there's anybody who "can do and probably can teach" in our field its probably him.