Acting Out - 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

August 2014

September 2014

October 2014

 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Q. Should there be visible act outs in a feature script?
No. Only TV scripts have actual act outs. TV has real acts, broken up by commercials. Features only have nominal acts -- they're something for writers and development executives to talk about, but where the act ends is often arguable. Moreover "three act" screenplays often really have four acts, some screenplays seem to have seven or more, and many perfectly good movies don't really have meaningful acts.

Often when people talk about three act screenplays, they are talking about a 120 page beast where the first quarter is act one, the last quarter is act three, and the middle is about 60 pages. But of course there is some sort of turning point or flex point in the middle of act two. So arguably that is four act structure, except that messes up the nice correlation of act one with "beginning," act two with "middle" and act three with "end."

Meanwhile a movie like THE INCREDIBLES really breaks down much more neatly into seven acts than three. And you could probably find stories that really work in five acts. I don't think it's meaningful to talk about THE DARK KNIGHT in terms of three acts; there are clearly more than four identifiable sections.

And what about HARD DAYS NIGHT? And FORREST GUMP? What is even the point of talking about these movies in terms of three acts? Sure, you can make claims for the acts starting at various points, but how does that help you understand them?

How many acts does MEMENTO have? Isn't each progressive flashback essentially an act?

This is why I don't really hold with three act structure. I think it's more important to tell your story out loud and get rid of any parts that are boring. While TV really does need to have a certain number of acts -- ask your broadcaster how many -- movies don't.

2 Comments:

Great post! Thanks Alex.

By OpenID scriptwrecked, at 4:59 PM  

I now structure each new script in 7 acts and find it makes the process way easier and the scripts way tighter. But I'm always prepared to talk about the story in 3 act terms so as not to scare producers and directors. They don't want to hear that you're doing something 'different'.

By Blogger Patrick, at 12:25 PM  

Post a Comment

Back to Complications Ensue main blog page.



This page is powered by Blogger.