SYD FIELD AND THE SHERWOOD OAKS EXPERIMENTAL COLLEGE –PART 2 JULY 2020
Updated: Jul 20, 2020
If you haven't read PART 1 of this blog, please do so now.
An interesting coincidence occurred when I moved to Crested Butte, Colorado. I made a friend named David Rose. I don’t remember the exact conversation but somehow David (who grew up in Los Angeles) told me about his cousin who wrote a screenwriting book. Yes, his cousin is Syd Field.
I believe it was around the time I published my first novel Railway Avenue that I thought about getting in touch with Syd. I wanted to send him a copy of the book and thought that maybe he could write a blurb for my next book. So, I found his website and email address. I sent him an email, mentioned how I knew his cousin David Rose and that we lived in the same town.
It wasn’t too much later that I received a call from Syd’s cousin in Los Angeles. Syd had recently passed away. The cause of death was hemolytic anemia, a blood disorder. Syd was 77 years old. His cousin told me that he and the family had been trying to get in-touch with my friend David to let him know about Syd’s passing. I think David had already moved out of Crested Butte, but I was able to let him know about Syd. I felt so bad that I hadn’t kept in touch with Syd over the years.
Since that time, I spoke with Aviva Field, Syd’s widow. I was one of Syd’s students who they were in contact with. She planned to do a documentary about Syd and his work. I was told they would want to interview me for their movie. Eventually, they even flew David to Los Angeles to interview him about Syd. As far as I know, the documentary is still in the planning stages.
Syd taught more than just the paradigm. He also taught us to write an outline for the script, how to write biographies for our main characters, and lots of other useful techniques that apply to more than screenplays. I still use the techniques he taught us when I write novels. Another novelist friend told me he also wrote his novels using Syd’s paradigm.
Syd Field was one of those special people you meet on life’s road that leave an ever-lasting influence on you. I will be forever grateful to Syd for the writing skills he taught me. His books are still available everywhere.
In researching this blog, I found out the Sherwood Oaks Experimental College is still around with a new name, Sherwood Oaks Film School. Gary Shusett passed away in 2013 at the age of 72 after a long battle with cancer.
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