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Kurtisso

The Anatomy of Story - John Truby

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Heyall, I am trying to become a better storyteller and recently I have stumbled across this book by John Truby called "The Anatomy of Story". Before I dive into it, does anyone here have any experience with this text? Also, if anyone has any good suggestions for other learning resources about filmmaking/storytelling I would love to hear! I'm refreshed, motivated and ready to dive deep into 1-a-day film watching (I will fail but try my best) and daily research. 

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Truby's Anatomy of Story is a good book. Truby is a great analyst of movies. A good primer for screenwriting is Screenplay by Syd Field. Another great, quick read is by American playwright, screenwriter and director David Mamet called Three Uses of the Knife. 

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This might not be the advice you want, but I really like the theory of not learning how to tell a story at all. Learn what others do, sure, like watch as many films as you can, behind the scenes type stuff all day, but mostly just do whatever you want, and then you've got something original. You make it "wrong", and it could be the best thing ever. A lot of great filmmakers have basically given that advice - Robert Rodriguez, Orson Welles - anyway, just a thought. I know a lot of filmmakers know the rules too, so it's not gospel. I'd still suggest a book if I could think of one, sorry, but good luck!

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hi @Kurtisso!

i like both the posts above, and I might expand on those comments, but first: what kind of "storytelling" are you pursuing? are you trying to write short films, maybe a feature? something else? if youre booking professional wrestling im going to give you some very different advice

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3 hours ago, Kurtisso said:

Heyall, I am trying to become a better storyteller and recently I have stumbled across this book by John Truby called "The Anatomy of Story". Before I dive into it, does anyone here have any experience with this text? Also, if anyone has any good suggestions for other learning resources about filmmaking/storytelling I would love to hear! I'm refreshed, motivated and ready to dive deep into 1-a-day film watching (I will fail but try my best) and daily research. 

There are 2 parts to the issue:

1. Your ability to tell a story.

2. Your ability to tell a story in the Screenplay Format. 

While the 1st bit will depend on many aspects of your personality and how you tell stories (,jokes, narrate incidents and other things) in general, the 2nd bit is more for how you play to the galeries (the film fraternity actually). Curiously the majority of people that want to see, read or hear your story won't have any freaking idea what a good or great story is, but they wanna hear it in the structure that is stereopically of a story. And, the narration style can be changed in Edit, if it is structured reasonably clearly (ala Momento). 

To be honest, it does refine a story a little. The rest is your own talent. And mostly what you're born with.

For where to find stories to tell and how to tell them ... newspapers and people around you are the biggest source of fresh and good information. Read newspaper stories and re-narrate them differently, and create chracters out of people you meet every day. Especially the ones with unique and unusual personalities (ones with OCDs, extremely slow reaction, over-curious people etc). 

Also study all the formats for Loglines, Synopsis and (Shooting) Screenplays. Those help everyone else on the team too. 

 

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7 hours ago, mercer said:

A good primer for screenwriting is Screenplay by Syd Field.

Imo, you can read this as primer and closer. Not, because it is so insightful or inspiring, but on the contrary, because it analyzes something that should be quite obvious for someone who wants to learn how to tell a story.

In recent years, it has become hip to refer to The Hero's Journey, deducting the roots for all narrations in mythology. Quite interesting read, but if Syd Fields "findings" actually repeat what Aristotle had found some 2300 years before about the nature of drama (completely with 3 to 5 acts and what have you), these books (i.e. The Hero With A Thousand Faces) don't help to understand story, let alone let you find your own narrational structure.

Reality proof: good stories don't fit those "receipts". Moby Dick, just for instance, would never have been approved by any lector infected by those dogmata.

There is a hereditary need for human beings to tell stories. In the office between colleagues, to your children, around the campfire. They may be personal, educational, reassuring, unsettling asf. But they have to be interesting. The content as well as the form. Someone offers you a formula? Fine, but someone wise once said the form should follow the content. Find something you find worth telling to the world, and the best way to tell it will be revealed to you by your muse.

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2 hours ago, Axel said:

Imo, you can read this as primer and closer. Not, because it is so insightful or inspiring, but on the contrary, because it analyzes something that should be quite obvious for someone who wants to learn how to tell a story.

In recent years, it has become hip to refer to The Hero's Journey, deducting the roots for all narrations in mythology. Quite interesting read, but if Syd Fields "findings" actually repeat what Aristotle had found some 2300 years before about the nature of drama (completely with 3 to 5 acts and what have you), these books (i.e. The Hero With A Thousand Faces) don't help to understand story, let alone let you find your own narrational structure.

Reality proof: good stories don't fit those "receipts". Moby Dick, just for instance, would never have been approved by any lector infected by those dogmata.

There is a hereditary need for human beings to tell stories. In the office between colleagues, to your children, around the campfire. They may be personal, educational, reassuring, unsettling asf. But they have to be interesting. The content as well as the form. Someone offers you a formula? Fine, but someone wise once said the form should follow the content. Find something you find worth telling to the world, and the best way to tell it will be revealed to you by your muse.

Well said. Syd Field was a little unpopular for awhile because a lot of writers thought his "paradigm" was to formulaic when in reality it was just a basic truth about screenplay structure. There are a million ways to tell a story, but if your screenplay is not structured properly, your narrative will fall apart. Of course, not all screenplays would benefit from that paradigm... Especially short screenplays, but all screenwriters will benefit from understanding structure. 

I also recommend reading some Carl Jung, his ideas on the "collective subconscious" and "archetypes" are extremely valuable for a storyteller.

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Thanks for the input everyone.

17 hours ago, mercer said:

Truby's Anatomy of Story is a good book. Truby is a great analyst of movies. A good primer for screenwriting is Screenplay by Syd Field. Another great, quick read is by American playwright, screenwriter and director David Mamet called Three Uses of the Knife. 

I will add Screenplay by Syd Field and David Mamet's Three Uses of the Knife to the list as well! I'm very interested in learning the pre-existing structure and language of screen writing, so that I can better articulate the nebulous ideas I have in my head, for myself to flesh out concepts and for clients when I pitch and the rest of the crew and talent to inspire better performances and spontaneity. I came across this interesting concept (I really wish I could credit this to where I found it) where you write a script with the intention that everything gets ad-libbed, but you use very evocative language to guide the spontaneity thus getting very natural performances but getting your direction without having to overbearingly direct.

 

6 hours ago, mercer said:

Well said. Syd Field was a little unpopular for awhile because a lot of writers thought his "paradigm" was to formulaic when in reality it was just a basic truth about screenplay structure. There are a million ways to tell a story, but if your screenplay is not structured properly, your narrative will fall apart. Of course, not all screenplays would benefit from that paradigm... Especially short screenplays, but all screenwriters will benefit from understanding structure. 

I also recommend reading some Carl Jung, his ideas on the "collective subconscious" and "archetypes" are extremely valuable for a storyteller.

Carl Jung sounds like a great idea, I have read derivatives of his work and found them to be really interesting so I will add that too! IMO Psychology, philosophy, sociology and the like are in my opinion incredibly important to understanding and then telling stories about people, their behaviours and decision paths.

 

9 hours ago, Axel said:

Imo, you can read this as primer and closer. Not, because it is so insightful or inspiring, but on the contrary, because it analyzes something that should be quite obvious for someone who wants to learn how to tell a story.

In recent years, it has become hip to refer to The Hero's Journey, deducting the roots for all narrations in mythology. Quite interesting read, but if Syd Fields "findings" actually repeat what Aristotle had found some 2300 years before about the nature of drama (completely with 3 to 5 acts and what have you), these books (i.e. The Hero With A Thousand Faces) don't help to understand story, let alone let you find your own narrational structure.

Reality proof: good stories don't fit those "receipts". Moby Dick, just for instance, would never have been approved by any lector infected by those dogmata.

There is a hereditary need for human beings to tell stories. In the office between colleagues, to your children, around the campfire. They may be personal, educational, reassuring, unsettling asf. But they have to be interesting. The content as well as the form. Someone offers you a formula? Fine, but someone wise once said the form should follow the content. Find something you find worth telling to the world, and the best way to tell it will be revealed to you by your muse.

There's so much to learn from Ancient Greek texts. It's too bad that Hollywood has bastardized many of the ancient myths. I have been trying over the last 2 years to revisit Plato's republic in its entirety, but it's pretty dense and often puts me in a sleepy trance. Which is great, because I used to have terrible insomnia.

I agree that form follows content big time. When I was studying interactive design in school, I hated the "designer" connotation that came with it thanks to fashion. Style over substance is a serious piss-off. 

That being said, learning doesn't stop with a sentence. Things aren't accidental, and studying and learning how to better do one's craft is a constant pursuit. The music that I compose now isn't classical, death metal, punk rock, hip-hop, downtempo, minimal tech-house etc... but I ingested all those things. I also studied music theory, composition and history when I was younger. I don't open any of those books or actively revisit any of that learning before I sit down to write music but it definitely has helped me a lot and I am glad I had that opportunity.

In the future here on EOSHD, I'd like to encourage more discussion on non-gear related things, is that something that you guys and gals would be interested in too? 

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I think what a lot of creative people, who are in the earlier stages of their pursuit, forget is that honing your craft is more important than absolute creative freedom. I have written 4 feature screenplays and a dozen incomplete scripts and it never gets easier. Each script brings on its own set of problems and if it wasn't for the time I spent learning the craft, I wouldn't know how to solve those problems, or even how to break the rules. And I am far from being a professional screenwriter. Writing a screenplay is probably the hardest thing I have ever done. 

Also, you should probably read Save the Cat, by Blake Snyder as well. Back in the 80s and 90s... And even early 00s Syd Field was the paradigm Hollywood used, but I have seen a recent uptick with Save the Cat and the structural moments he defined as a basis for "good" Hollywod film structure. Also, don't forget "Story" by Robert McKee.

Honestly, you can go to Wikipedia and search screenwriting and they will give a breakdown of the most famous books written about the craft. If one of them appeals to your sensibilities, give it a buy. 

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23 minutes ago, mercer said:

I think what a lot of creative people, who are in the earlier stages of their pursuit, forget is that honing your craft is more important than absolute creative freedom.

100% agree. It's a good thing to have constraints to work with. It really helps to ground my work.

Those two titles are added to the list, excited to dive right in!

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1 hour ago, Kurtisso said:

I came across this interesting concept (I really wish I could credit this to where I found it) where you write a script with the intention that everything gets ad-libbed, but you use very evocative language to guide the spontaneity thus getting very natural performances but getting your direction without having to overbearingly direct.

 

In the future here on EOSHD, I'd like to encourage more discussion on non-gear related things, is that something that you guys and gals would be interested in too? 

John Cassavetes, Joe Swanberg, Derek Cianfrance, and Jay and Mark Duplass are some of the big ones to use that style where it's basically entirely ad-libbed.  Shadows by Ray Carney gives a pretty great look into Cassavetes' style (and the film it's directly about is on hulu). that film was born out of actual improv, then some scenes scripted later, then Cassavetes just screwed with the actors.. didn't give one of the actors the script until the last minute so that she would stumble over her words, insulted another off camera to get him to yell in the scene, etc. a difficult style to perfect, but very cool - and if you can do it right, great performances out of total amateurs! It's beautiful. Joe Swanberg has talked about how he doesn't use a script at all, just like a three page treatment. Mark Duplass has given some tips on that style too (multi-camera, film chronologically, don't over rehearse, don't do takes over and over if you can help it, improvise a scene before beginning shooting which happens just before your first scene). though Cianfrance and Swanberg use one camera usually, and Cianfrance can do a hundred takes sometimes. most of that isn't to do with the scripting, but yeah, hope that helps. I can post more if you'd like (interviews etc), but I feel this post is getting long ;) . I just recently wrote a script I want to be mostly ad-libbed.. I kind of just wrote everything around the dialogue, still in script format. it became about 15 pages, but I think it would end up maybe 50 minutes.. less of a science with that route

i love this type of discussion. I think the "shooting" subforum was technically intended for posts like these as well as sharing your work, but it wouldn't have much discussion there, being a little buried, i think. I say post as much of this as you want, people can select which topics they want to participate in, no biggy

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4 minutes ago, Liam said:

John Cassavetes, Joe Swanberg, Derek Cianfrance, and Jay and Mark Duplass are some of the big ones to use that style where it's basically entirely ad-libbed.  Shadows by Ray Carney gives a pretty great look into Cassavetes' style (and the film it's directly about is on hulu). that film was born out of actual improv, then some scenes scripted later, then Cassavetes just screwed with the actors.. didn't give one of the actors the script until the last minute so that she would stumble over her words, insulted another off camera to get him to yell in the scene, etc. a difficult style to perfect, but very cool - and if you can do it right, great performances out of total amateurs! It's beautiful. Joe Swanberg has talked about how he doesn't use a script at all, just like a three page treatment. Mark Duplass has given some tips on that style too (multi-camera, film chronologically, don't over rehearse, don't do takes over and over if you can help it, improvise a scene before beginning shooting which happens just before your first scene). though Cianfrance and Swanberg use one camera usually, and Cianfrance can do a hundred takes sometimes. most of that isn't to do with the scripting, but yeah, hope that helps. I can post more if you'd like (interviews etc), but I feel this post is getting long ;) . I just recently wrote a script I want to be mostly ad-libbed.. I kind of just wrote everything around the dialogue, still in script format. it became about 15 pages, but I think it would end up maybe 50 minutes.. less of a science with that route

i love this type of discussion. I think the "shooting" subforum was technically intended for posts like these as well as sharing your work, but it wouldn't have much discussion there, being a little buried, i think. I say post as much of this as you want, people can select which topics they want to participate in, no biggy

Awesome! I ran out of likes for today so there's an IOU one for you. Good luck with the script! 

I'm definitely very interested in learning how to work better with amateur actors and how to write with the intention of walking the line of documentary and fiction. 

Yeah I check that "shooting" subforum from time to time but it seems to be more of just a screening room for people's work, which is cool and all! 

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I don't know... I wouldn't confuse the screenwriting process with the filmmaking process... In some ways they're symbiotic... Without a script there is no movie... Without a movie... A screenplay is just words on paper written in an illogical format. From the first word written on the first page, which isn't supposed to be numbered as page one, even though every subsequent page is supposed to be numbered, to the raising stakes in the beginning of act 2, to the midpoint turn that leads you to the emotional climax and resolution should be crafted in a way to evoke the most emotional response from the viewer. Knowing how to construct set ups and pay offs and that subplots should strengthen your theme and that often your resolution can be a circular event that mirrors your first scene are all valuable tools of the craft. Even a 3 page treatment is telling a story with narrative beats. 

I think my point was that people shouldn't confuse tools with rules. 

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17 minutes ago, mercer said:

I don't know... I wouldn't confuse the screenwriting process with the filmmaking process... In some ways they're symbiotic... Without a script there is no movie... Without a movie... A screenplay is just words on paper written in an illogical format. From the first word written on the first page, which isn't supposed to be numbered as page one, even though every subsequent page is supposed to be numbered, to the raising stakes in the beginning of act 2, to the midpoint turn that leads you to the emotional climax and resolution should be crafted in a way to evoke the most emotional response from the viewer. Knowing how to construct set ups and pay offs and that subplots should strengthen your theme and that often your resolution can be a circular event that mirrors your first scene are all valuable tools of the craft. Even a 3 page treatment is telling a story with narrative beats. 

I think my point was that people shouldn't confuse tools with rules. 

I just felt that was a little bit of a new topic, and the "answer" was less specific to screenwriting. one of them does a 3 page treatment; another scripts meticulously, even hundreds of scenes that get thrown out, and then opens it up entirely in filming; there's my whatever way, which may not work perfectly, but feels right for now. that style is just difficult, and those strategies could help cater to the story.

the story is definitely a separate thing, but personally I would never use story structure as a tool. And you are allowed to. my films will still have raising stakes and conclusions and inciting incidents and climaxes. or maybe they kind of won't, and it will be interesting in that way. as if to make my point, not numbering page one is totally irrelevant. it could be helpful to learn story structure, but "don't number page one!" seems to be taking it a little too far. some guy just came up with that, just like the rest of this

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1 hour ago, Liam said:

I just felt that was a little bit of a new topic, and the "answer" was less specific to screenwriting. one of them does a 3 page treatment; another scripts meticulously, even hundreds of scenes that get thrown out, and then opens it up entirely in filming; there's my whatever way, which may not work perfectly, but feels right for now. that style is just difficult, and those strategies could help cater to the story.

the story is definitely a separate thing, but personally I would never use story structure as a tool. And you are allowed to. my films will still have raising stakes and conclusions and inciting incidents and climaxes. or maybe they kind of won't, and it will be interesting in that way. as if to make my point, not numbering page one is totally irrelevant. it could be helpful to learn story structure, but "don't number page one!" seems to be taking it a little too far. some guy just came up with that, just like the rest of this

We have talked briefly about this stuff before and it wasn't my intention to call you out on anything. I just wanted the OP to have multiple sides to the debate. You are correct, nothing is keeping you from writing a script without following the "rules" and breaking these rules would have zero effect on the quality of the script... But like it or not, there are rules for the way a professional screenplay is formatted. There is craft and tools to help a writer tell a compelling story. And there are writers that break those rules and still manage to write a great script.

For instance, Shane Black wrote Lethal Weapon and broke nearly every "rule" of how a screenplay should read. He used asides and crazy description, almost in an editorial fashion and, at the time, it was the highest selling screenplay ever. So there are always exceptions to the rules.

But there is a reason why most colleges who have a film department graduate their students with a degree in communications. Stories and movies are communicative in nature and honestly I don't see the point in breaking the rules you abhor just to break the rules? Learning the craft of screenwriting and storytelling is actually about communicating your ideas to the viewer. The creativity is inside the ideas and the craft helps you explain those ideas to a viewer.

Again, I am not calling you out, I just enjoy the debate. Obviously, write the script you want to write, and how you want to write it. I'll be happy to read it and interject my ideas into it... ?, but more importantly I want to see this short of yours because in the end, the script is meaningless and the finished film is all that matters... That's why screenwriters are usually banned from the set. Of course, there's an old Hollywood story where a producer tells his director that the screenplay is the most important part of a movie... "Just don't tell the screenwriter I said that."

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1 hour ago, mercer said:

We have talked briefly about this stuff before and it wasn't my intention to call you out on anything. I just wanted the OP to have multiple sides to the debate. You are correct, nothing is keeping you from writing a script without following the "rules" and breaking these rules would have zero effect on the quality of the script... But like it or not, there are rules for the way a professional screenplay is formatted. There is craft and tools to help a writer tell a compelling story. And there are writers that break those rules and still manage to write a great script.

For instance, Shane Black wrote Lethal Weapon and broke nearly every "rule" of how a screenplay should read. He used asides and crazy description, almost in an editorial fashion and, at the time, it was the highest selling screenplay ever. So there are always exceptions to the rules.

But there is a reason why most colleges who have a film department graduate their students with a degree in communications. Stories and movies are communicative in nature and honestly I don't see the point in breaking the rules you abhor just to break the rules? Learning the craft of screenwriting and storytelling is actually about communicating your ideas to the viewer. The creativity is inside the ideas and the craft helps you explain those ideas to a viewer.

Again, I am not calling you out, I just enjoy the debate. Obviously, write the script you want to write, and how you want to write it. I'll be happy to read it and interject my ideas into it... ?, but more importantly I want to see this short of yours because in the end, the script is meaningless and the finished film is all that matters... That's why screenwriters are usually banned from the set. Of course, there's an old Hollywood story where a producer tells his director that the screenplay is the most important part of a movie... "Just don't tell the screenwriter I said that."

Wasn't trying to actually argue with you either. Just a different taste thing or what have you. All good, good discussion. Yeah my favorite filmmakers always write and direct haha. My short film is really close.. which I didn't expect so quickly. having some people give feedback. Eoshd is its next stop. Admittedly it's a little boring right now maybe, but that's kind of part of the joke, so we'll see! Haha

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Loving this discussion going on! I am very grateful to hear different perspectives especially if they meander too!

11 minutes ago, Liam said:

Wasn't trying to actually argue with you either. Just a different taste thing or what have you. All good, good discussion. Yeah my favorite filmmakers always write and direct haha. My short film is really close.. which I didn't expect so quickly. having some people give feedback. Eoshd is its next stop. Admittedly it's a little boring right now maybe, but that's kind of part of the joke, so we'll see! Haha

Off topic here but speaking of writer/director combo, I'm blown away at Richard Linklater's process for "Boyhood". To have a general structure of the story written for the 12 years, but then to pretty much produce a short episode each year and to have had pretty much full cooperation from cast and crew over the 12 years, pretty astounding stuff! They couldn't sign a 12-year contract either, as anything over 7 was illegal. He must have made an amazing pitch to IFC, getting them to commit to that process.

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43 minutes ago, Kurtisso said:

Loving this discussion going on! I am very grateful to hear different perspectives especially if they meander too!

Off topic here but speaking of writer/director combo, I'm blown away at Richard Linklater's process for "Boyhood". To have a general structure of the story written for the 12 years, but then to pretty much produce a short episode each year and to have had pretty much full cooperation from cast and crew over the 12 years, pretty astounding stuff! They couldn't sign a 12-year contract either, as anything over 7 was illegal. He must have made an amazing pitch to IFC, getting them to commit to that process.

Oh yeah, the making of that was crazy. Waking Life is by far my favorite of his though. Or just him in an interview.. he's so spacey and philosophical, i love it

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20 hours ago, mercer said:

Well said. Syd Field was a little unpopular for awhile because a lot of writers thought his "paradigm" was to formulaic when in reality it was just a basic truth about screenplay structure.

Yes, and we must distinguish between the formal conventions a screenplay has to have to meet the expectations of the professional buyers and things like "the arc of suspense", motivations, narrational economy asf. 

The first part is now facilitated by Word and some specialized screenwriting apps (Syd Fields book must me so old, he probably only knew white paper and a typewriter). As for the other stuff, it seems to be a basic truth if you analyze films or novels. Field kind of reverse-engineers the films, counting minutes and pages and how they correspond to the stages of the developing conflicts.

Now what his scholars can do is make check marks at the end of page ten, twenty asf to see if they established the conflict, reached the plot point at the right pace. 

If a conventional form is what you are after, you can of course do that, but imo you can NEVER invent something with a rigid structure in the back of the mind. This is simple psychology. If you are obsessed with formal criteria, you will never create something original.

20 hours ago, mercer said:

I also recommend reading some Carl Jung, his ideas on the "collective subconscious" and "archetypes" are extremely valuable for a storyteller.

This collective subconscious is what bad films, formalistic genre films, "movies" transport. You have (according to Jung) little worth as a human being if you move with the crowd, avoid painful individuation (a Jungian term) and always choose the blue pill. There are other valuable ideas, like the masks we wear (directors should exploit that with their actors) and our shadow. Stanley Kubrick cited the shadow in his Full Metal Jacket. A film, btw, Syd Field would have had a nice challenge in making the structure fit to his rules ...

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3 hours ago, Axel said:

Yes, and we must distinguish between the formal conventions a screenplay has to have to meet the expectations of the professional buyers and things like "the arc of suspense", motivations, narrational economy asf. 

The first part is now facilitated by Word and some specialized screenwriting apps (Syd Fields book must me so old, he probably only knew white paper and a typewriter). As for the other stuff, it seems to be a basic truth if you analyze films or novels. Field kind of reverse-engineers the films, counting minutes and pages and how they correspond to the stages of the developing conflicts.

Now what his scholars can do is make check marks at the end of page ten, twenty asf to see if they established the conflict, reached the plot point at the right pace. 

If a conventional form is what you are after, you can of course do that, but imo you can NEVER invent something with a rigid structure in the back of the mind. This is simple psychology. If you are obsessed with formal criteria, you will never create something original.

This collective subconscious is what bad films, formalistic genre films, "movies" transport. You have (according to Jung) little worth as a human being if you move with the crowd, avoid painful individuation (a Jungian term) and always choose the blue pill. There are other valuable ideas, like the masks we wear (directors should exploit that with their actors) and our shadow. Stanley Kubrick cited the shadow in his Full Metal Jacket. A film, btw, Syd Field would have had a nice challenge in making the structure fit to his rules ...

When Field cited exact page counts for the opening image and the inciting incident and plot point one and the midpoint and plot point two and the climax and the resolution, it was never meant to be rigid. It was only meant to be a guideline that showed what almost every successful and critically acclaimed film had done before. Even a strangely structured film like Memento or Pulp Fiction falls within this paradigm.

Now I don't subscribe to the notion that everything Field wrote has to be strictly followed, but for a beginner, his film breakdowns did hold a truth that every writer should at least know.

And without a doubt STRUCTURE is the most important part of any screenplay. It holds the story together and propels the plot forward... Regardless of the genre or the budget.

Where it becomes difficult, with every single screenplay written, is exactly how the writer will structure their screenplay. There are multiple forms, but the basic principles, or basic beats are the same... And they have been the same since Aristotle wrote "Poetics."

Which is why I highly recommend that beginner screenwriters read up on Jungian theories. He recognized this "collective subconscious" that was evident in every story and myth written. So, as a writer, if you believe that all humans inherently understand and feel how stories are supposed to progress and be told, to ignore that basic tool, to me, seems like an exercise in foolhardiness. And to understand his summaries of human characterization as he simplistically outlined with his archetypes is a perfect starting point to understanding character... Which is the second most important part of any screenplay.

Any beginning screenwriter could easily write an inventive and original screenplay, their first time out, by following the basic structure outlined by Field and the simple character summaries outlined by Jung. Then they can read up on David Mamet's dramatic theories which are really the most pragmatic concepts of all, especially since he is considered to be such a thoughtful, artistic writer, and those theories can be implemented into the tools in every writer's arsenal.

To not understand, or study, these basic principles equates to one of two things... The writer is too lazy to learn them, or they are too stubborn due to some preconception that they are creating art and they don't need rules or craft. It's like that old cliche... Success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. 

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