The Wisdom of Syd Field

Legendary screenwriting guru Syd Field has passed away at the age of 77. He popularized the idea of the three-act structure in feature film scripts and taught at the University of Southern California. His bestselling books inspired many people to take a stab and writing their own screenplays.

As an undergraduate, and then when I went for my Master's Degree, Mr. Field's books were required reading.  Here's a list:

The Definitive Guide to Screen Writing
Four Screenplays: Studies in the American Screenplay
Going to the Movies: A Personal Journey through Four Decades of Modern Film
Screenplay: The Basics of Film Writing
Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting
The Screenwriter's Problem Solver
The Screenwriter's Workbook
Selling a Screenplay: The Screenwriter's Guide to Hollywood

In the old days, everyone wanted to write the "Great American Novel." Now it seems that everybody has an original screenplay up their sleeve, or at least an idea for one (or more) in the cobwebbed recesses of our minds. Syd Field taught us how to get it done.  May he rest in peace.