Screen writing narrative structure

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A presentation on screenwriting narrative structure; beginnings & endings, 3 act structure etc....

Transcript of Screen writing narrative structure

  • 1. Writers BlockOrHow I learnt to stop worrying &Love the plan

2. Ever felt like youve hit a 3. Spent a lot of time looking at 4. STOP! 5. Before you write a SINGLE WORD of your script you need to understand 2 things: 1) The basic structure of a story (script) 2) The importance of planning 6. StructureStories have a structure.Beginning, Middle, End.. Yes, but more thanthat.Scripts are made up of acts & plot points.An act is a .A plot point is a specific event in a film. 7. ActsYour story is divided into 3 actsACT 1ACT 2ACT 3 8. ACT 1SETUPIn the first third of your film you will introduceyour characters and setup your story.Whose it about? Where are they? Whatshappening? Whats the central premise? 9. Plot Point 1At the end of the first act SOMETHINGHAPPENS that spins the story around andsends it hurtling off in a new directionA revelation, a shock, a killing, a discovery,an ultimatumWe call this a Plot Point. 10. ACT 2 CONFLICTAt the heart of every good story is a struggle, a fight, a conflict.Not necessarily a physical conflict it couldbe a battle of the wills, battle of morals orethics, a battle of the sexes, a battle forequality.. 11. ACT 2 CONFLICTIn the second third of your film yourcharacters will be in conflict with others,trying to achieve whatever it is they need to,moving the story forward in their quest toachieve [you fill in the blank] 12. Plot Point 2At the end of the second act SOMETHINGELSE HAPPENS.A revelation, a shock, a killing, a discovery, anultimatum, the killer unmasked, the doubleagent revealed, the masked hero realizes hesgone to save the wrong person, vito keels overin the vineyard, the hitcher dismembers the girlWe call this Plot Point 2 and it leads into Act3. 13. ACT 3 ResolutionThe last third of your film is the resolution thestory begins wrapping itself up. We find theanswers, the revelations, as we get closer tothe end.Luke begins his attack on the Death Star,Michael returns to America to take over thefamily business, Max tries to escape from Vincent to save Annie. 14. ACT 3ResolutionAt the end of the third act we come to one ofthe most important elements of a screenplayThe Ending 15. The EndingYou have to know the ending before you can evendream about writing the story.What is the story really about? What are you tryingto talk about?Loss? Love? Redemption? Power? Corruption?Your ending should make sense to the story.It should PAYOFF everything thats come before 16. Oldboy 17. The EndingMany budding screen writers end theirstories with everyone killing each other. 18. Really? 19. The EndingIt might be dramatic but more often than not its because they hadnt figured out their story, let alone how to end it.For some films it is the natural conclusion, butthese are the exception & not the rule. Most of the time its lazy writing. Cant figure it out? Kill em. The End. Roll Credits. 20. The EndingDont pull any punches but at the same timeDont go all King Lear on everyone 21. Good EndingsAre the natural conclusion to the storyCome from the charactersAre believableDont have an unbelievable happy ending (seeHangover Part 2 for more details)Dont have an unbelievable everyone-dies ending& still can pack a gut punch 22. Never Compromise Not even in the face of Armageddon 23. GREAT ENDINGSFYI:30 days of nightOldboyDistrict 9The GreyThe Usual SuspectsCasablancaHeroMemento 24. Lets look at the structure againbeginningACT 1Setup Plot Point 1ACT 2 Conflict Plot Point 2ACT 3Resolutionending 25. Lets look at the structure againbeginning1 / 3 run timeACT 1Setup Plot Point 11 / 3 run timeACT 2 Conflict Plot Point 21 / 3 run timeACT 3Resolutionending 26. Is there a waywe can map our story out before writing word 1? 27. Narrative Structure Plan 28. Narrative Structure PlanIve put the narrative structure plan on therooms hard drive.Use it to bullet point your story. It will makeyour life much easier.Once youve sketched out the rough outlineyou can then begin fleshing out the details. 29. Narrative Structure PlanThe 3 act structure works!Plot points work!Good endings work!& now you can get to work!