First Draft: 14 Screenwriting Books Every Screenwriter Should Read

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Four Screenplays (Syd Field)

The Hollywood Reporter once called the late Syd Field “the most sought-after screenwriting teacher in the world.”

In the 1980s and 1990s, his internationally acclaimed best-selling books Screenplay, The Screenwriter’s Workbook, and The Screenwriter’s Problem Solver once established themselves as the “bibles” of the film industry. Screenplay and The Screenwriter’s Workbook in particular are in their fortieth printing and are used in more than 400 colleges and universities across the country and have been translated and published in 29 languages.

But it was during the screenwriting boom of the 1990s that this book, Four Screenplays, stood out most. Thelma & Louise, Terminator 2, The Silence of the Lambs, and Dances with Wolves were pinnacle movies from the 1990s and it was a thrill to see the guru behind Screenplay and The Screenwriter’s Workbook examine the scripts of those popular films and break them down for screenwriters to learn from.

While some of the information might be a little dated, the analysis of these four classic films and their screenplays should be studied by all. It will help you take what you learned from those films and their scripts, and teach you how to analyze other films as well as you continue to hone your craft.

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3 Comments

  1. C Baron

    December 10, 2017 at 11:50 am

    A huge omission: ON FILM-MAKING by Alexander Mackendrick

  2. Robert Herrick

    November 30, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    Missed one –
    The Complete Book of Scriptwriting
    by J. Michael Straczynski

  3. Candice Levine

    November 29, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    I would add Secrets of theScreen Trade by Allen B Ury. My projects started getting more attention after I absorbed the knowledge contained in this book.

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