By Prince Gomolvilas & Brighde Mullins
Courtesy of USC Syd Field
We visited Syd Field in his storybook house near Coldwater Canyon just four days before he passed away on Sunday. Syd was very aware that he would die soon, but he seemed to be at peace about it -- there were no tears shed over his debilitating illness (hemolytic anemia), no self-pity over the inevitability of what was to come. His halcyon demeanor made sense, given his longtime spiritual practice of Siddha Yoga Meditation under its founder, Baba Muktananda.
He did get emotional once during our visit. We gave him a card that was signed by his current students in USC's Master of Professional Writing (MPW) program, where he had been teaching since 2001. The students expressed what so many before them had felt -- that they learned so much about dramatic structure from him, that his scope of knowledge about film and the screenplay form was inspiring. Syd began to cry but stopped himself, setting the card aside so that he could appreciate it later by himself. He seemed humbled by the sentiments -- was it possible that he didn't quite know how deeply he impacted not only those who studied under him but also an entire industry? Is there anybody working in film today who hasn't read Screenplay, one of the seminal books that led outlets like CNN to name Syd the "guru of all screenwriters"?More »