Syd Field Dies

Self-styled screenwriting guru was 77

While his name might not be instantly recognizable to the masses, he’s well known to anyone who has tried their hand at scriptwriting or follows writing in any fashion. Syd Field, one of the leading lights of screenwriting technique, has died at the age of 77.

Field, the author of eight best-selling books on screenwriting, including the original, iconic Screenplay in 1979, was a Hollywood native born in 1935. Following his stint at UC Berkley, he got a job at Wolper Productions, starting in the shipping department before working his way up to a research / writing job on the Biography TV series and other Wolper shows.

He would go on to work in both academia and the filmmaking industry, lecturing at USC and the American Film Institute and acting as a special script consultant to most of the major studios including Fox, Universal, Sony and Disney.

Though not everyone agreed with his methods, his three-act structure style ended up taught in hundreds of colleges and universities around the world, with his books published in 23 languages. “I’ve gone from reading his books, to being taught by him in courses. I think one of us must have done something right,” Frank Darabont once said about Field. “I thank him all the time for inspiring me.” He’s survived by his wife and daughter.