FIVE ACTS??? - Complications Ensue
Complications Ensue:
The Crafty TV and Screenwriting Blog




Baby Name Voyager graphs baby name frequency by decade.

Social Security Administration: Most popular names by year.

Name Trends: Uniquely popular names by year.

Reverse Dictionary Search: "What's that word that means....?"

Facebook Name Trees Match first names with last names.


Archives

April 2004

May 2004

June 2004

July 2004

August 2004

September 2004

October 2004

November 2004

December 2004

January 2005

February 2005

March 2005

April 2005

May 2005

June 2005

July 2005

August 2005

September 2005

October 2005

November 2005

December 2005

January 2006

February 2006

March 2006

April 2006

May 2006

June 2006

July 2006

August 2006

September 2006

October 2006

November 2006

December 2006

January 2007

February 2007

March 2007

April 2007

May 2007

June 2007

July 2007

August 2007

September 2007

October 2007

November 2007

December 2007

January 2008

February 2008

March 2008

April 2008

May 2008

June 2008

July 2008

August 2008

September 2008

October 2008

November 2008

December 2008

January 2009

February 2009

March 2009

April 2009

May 2009

June 2009

July 2009

August 2009

September 2009

October 2009

November 2009

December 2009

January 2010

February 2010

March 2010

April 2010

May 2010

June 2010

July 2010

August 2010

September 2010

October 2010

November 2010

December 2010

January 2011

February 2011

March 2011

April 2011

May 2011

June 2011

July 2011

August 2011

September 2011

October 2011

November 2011

December 2011

January 2012

February 2012

March 2012

April 2012

May 2012

June 2012

July 2012

August 2012

September 2012

October 2012

November 2012

December 2012

January 2013

February 2013

March 2013

April 2013

May 2013

June 2013

July 2013

August 2013

September 2013

October 2013

November 2013

December 2013

January 2014

February 2014

March 2014

April 2014

May 2014

June 2014

July 2014

 

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

DMc has noticed that shows like Lost are going to five acts. It certainly feels that way sometimes. But maybe what we're seeing is just metastasizing teasers?

As for comedy, yes, I think it's all three acts now. Not so much to squeeze in another commercial, but to accommodate more story. Three acts just feels more natural. The old two act shows really drag when you watch them now.

UPDATE: Several readers write in to say, yes, some shows are going to five and even six acts. YIKES. I guess I'm going to have to change some language in my book, aren't I?

I wonder what this does the "flavor" of the act outs? Where is your "moment of greatest jeopardy" (normally act three out)? When do you upend the plot (normally act two out)?

I have to say, the script we're writing now works rather well in five acts, as the tag has gotten a little bit long. Four acts with teaser and tag don't have to be much different than six acts without teaser or tag.

This may seem fairly petty or arcane to you if you're new at this, but a lot of learning to write TV is learning to write within a specific structure of acts -- four for hour drama, three for half hour comedy. (Used to be two for half hour comedy.) If this five act thing catches on, it will require some retraining.

6 Comments:

There was a discussion of this over at WriterAction. A couple of showrunners reported that, yes, there is a deliberate choice at some networks to change the act structure. The idea is to get rid of the ads at the end of a show, so that people don't change channels before the next show starts.

Of course, those ads have to go somewhere. And where they go is into a newly created act break.

Best,
Jacob Sager Weinstein

By Blogger Jacob Sager Weinstein, at 12:40 PM  

There's definitely a move to five acts. ABC insists on it now from what I understand, and other networks have pushed for it, though some showrunners of longrunning series have managed to avoid making the change. Desperate Housewives has a teaser and six acts.

By Blogger Jeff, at 12:55 PM  

Jacob Sager Weinstein: This is slightly off topic, but I've often wondered about it.

How can the Writer Action BBS work?

1. It isn't run by the WGA.
2. The privacy policy of the WGA is to NOT give out information that can identify members.

So how can they validate that those applying for membership are WGA members? (4 digits of SSN & Date of Birth)

So how can the validation method work? Any validation method relies on comparing 'identifying information' ! (Even if the WGA just confirms that someone with those digits in the SSN & date of birth is a member, that is still identifying information)

I guess that means that someone in the WGA is leaking confidential information on the side (with a nod and a wink from WGA management)?

It just doesn't make any sense!

Mac
(No - I'm not a WGA member. I'm from another country, and since they don't recognise their sister organisations like the AWG ...)

By Blogger Mac, at 8:52 AM  

I know, they don't recognize the WGC either.
Y'know, solidarity forever and all that.
Wonder if they have cocoa and complain about runaway production a lot.

By Blogger DMc, at 10:09 AM  

Someone ought to use a fake WGA number -- or a real WGA number with the wrong name -- and see if it gets through. Then we'd know if the WGA is giving out info or not.

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 10:16 AM  

Re: "How can the WriterAction BBS work?

1. It isn't run by the WGA
2. The privacy policy of the WGA is to NOT give out information that can identify members."

Hold on...as a Guild member and WA member, I have to tell you that you're over-analyzing this in the extreme.

WA simply gets confirmation from the Guild that a given writer is a member. End of story.

This fantasy about the Guild not giving out info is out of whack.

By Blogger Gary, at 6:05 PM  

Post a Comment

Back to Complications Ensue main blog page.



This page is powered by Blogger.