The first act creates context

A first act creates the context: the facts a reader needs to understand the story going forward. It contextualizes a lot of things including: Character Who are we following and what's their deal? What’s their archetype? what are their distinct traits? What do they want? Take a movie like THE VERDICT. At no point does... Continue Reading →

Three act structure may be bullshit, but it’s useful bullshit.

Three act structure falls into a category I call “useful bullshit.” Typically arguments over three act structure become a tedious fight about whether it’s always the best or whether it even exists. It’s a mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain an idea without necessarily holding it to be true. Therefore, I... Continue Reading →

In defense of three act structure.

The three act structure is the Coca Cola of screenwriting theories.  It states that stories have a beginning, a middle and an end.  Its simple vagueness allows it to apply to pretty much any story.  When people say that the three act model has its flaws, they have a point; when people say that it doesn't... Continue Reading →

A Basic Three Act Structure

FEATURES: Single protagonist, clear-cut theme, strong character arc, a happy ending. CAUTIONS: It's not about the idea, it's about the execution. Any idiot can fill out a formula, the people who get hired are the ones who can fill out this formula in a way that is fresh and emotionally involving. ACT ONE: Setup the... Continue Reading →

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