The law of conservation of detail (and exceptions)

The first act sets up a script. It needs to be entertaining, efficient, and most of all focused. If a first act forces me to learn something, there’d better be a damn good reason for it. If there isn’t, the useless information crowds out the useful stuff. It punishes the audience for paying attention andContinue reading “The law of conservation of detail (and exceptions)”

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, IContinue reading “Three act structure may be bullshit, but it’s useful bullshit.”

Why people hate three act structure (and why I like it)

Here’s a quirk of human nature: we form opinions early, and then we cherry pick facts that support the notion we formed. Go visit /r/politics or any mac vs pc argument, and you’ll see this principle illustrated vividly. I learned 3 act structure early (Syd Field’s screenplay). It helped me, so I like it, soContinue reading “Why people hate three act structure (and why I like it)”

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’tContinue reading “In defense of three act structure.”