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Structure


#1

Got some feedback from a contest I entered. They said my lowest scores were on STRUCTURE. So I lack in the basics. Any advice beyond the $500+ screenwriting courses out there where I can learn the basics or screenwriting. I’ve got character and story down, they say.



Any great books?


#2

Try The Complete Book of Scriptwriting by J. Michael Straczynski.


#3

You’d be surprised how many people have structure problems.



Unfortunately I don’t have a scanner.



So I’ll just copy word for word the notes I have in my binder from school. Here’s the film-school run down:



STRUCTURE



SCREENPLAYS IS ALL STRUCTURE



What is structure?



Academic definition

  • The linear arrangment of related incidents, episodes and events, that lead toward a dramatic resolution.



    Our definition
  • Structure is the way that you arrange the events that will maximize the story for dramatic impact.



    * Design of films, etc. - 3 Act Design



    ACT I - Get a man up a tree / Beginning

    ACT II - Throw rocks at him / Middle

    ACT III - Get him down / End



    ACT I ELEMENTS

    the setup, you’re setting up the story


  • Introduce your protagonist
  • Present the protagonist with conflict
  • Introduce the antagonist
  • What is at stake?



    ACT II ELEMNTS

    The Confrontation


  • Complicate the problem – rising dificulties
  • The problems culminate resulting in a CRISIS.



    ACT III ELEMENTS

    The resolution


  • Answer to the central question, which was asked in ACT I, “What is at stake?” THROUGH the climax of the film.
  • Conclusion



    * Turning Points


  • There are four turning points in a screenplay.
    • Two of them are in ACT I
      • One of them is in ACT II
        • The final one is in ACT III (which is the climax)



          see diagram below (Sorry if it’s messy, I just drew up a real quick diagram in paint)





          Point of Attack!


  • The point of attack (POA) occurs within the inciting incident
  • It presents the character with a problem
  • It triggers VISUAL MOTIVATION (your character’s goal).
  • Raises the cue / question



    TURNING POINTS - Sends the protagonist in a new direction.



    CLIMAX - Answers the question



    SIDENOTE: character determines the plot

#4

Sorry, I got a bit lazy at the end there and decided that that sufficient enough for you to get the gist of structure and how it works.



Now before you all start yelling at me, saying stuff like, “HOW CAN YOU PUT A FORMULA ON MY CREATIVITY!!” And no, not ALL screenplays follow this formula, though 95% of them do. Quentin Tarantino is infamous for not following this formula, which seems to work for him.



HOWEVER. We’re not Quentin Tarantino. Learn how to write a screenplay following the rules, well. Learn the rules and master them first, before you break them.



Hope this helped.


#5

Thanks for the advise. I’ve gone over your notes with my two screenplays and I’ve got direction on one and can see where I can improve on the other. Reading a book or two I’ve searched out will help too. Screenwriting is work man, whew. But it’s something I love to do.



Thanks for the help, you guys are great.


#6

Try this place: http://www.exposure.co.uk/eejit/



They have some information on structure.


#7

Please never take this page down. It’s a great waay for people to understand the more ‘technical’ sides of writing a movie!


#8

there are FOUR MAJOR POINTS OF STRUCTURE…AND THROUGH THESE POINTS IT SHOULD HOLD YOUR SCRIPT from beginning to end. BEGINNING,ENDING,PLOT POINT 1 , AND PLOT POINT 2


#9

^^ lol.


#10

WHAT? These points are key to structuring a story…its what makes the paradigm of a screenplay…Syd Field himself noted that structure can be both linear and non-linear as long as it has a beginnig,middle,and end,though not necessarily in that order.Structure is the gravity of a story…structure is like a tree in the wind that bends and dosen’t break. Structure is what we see when we recieve all that information in every scene…its story that makes structure


#11

wow, what happend to just sitting down and writing? i doubt screenwriters write a film with a manual next to them, fuck this complicated bullshit doing it by the rules obsession, just write, ignore the giberish, ignore the classes, the books

im all into an anarchy style of writing and directing, maybe thats just me but it works perfectly



if its structure that you lack, its structure that youll learn, keep writing, the pieces WILL fall into place eventually, repeation is the only way youll learn


#12

[quote=“Johny_Exhale”]
wow, what happend to just sitting down and writing? i doubt screenwriters write a film with a manual next to them, fuck this complicated bullshit doing it by the rules obsession, just write, ignore the giberish, ignore the classes,[/quote]

i kinda agree but you still have to have some sort of knowledge about the three act structure or your writing will be just silly.



i also think there should be a change as i am getting sick and tired of the same old 3 act structure, it’s like you knida already no when thing’s will happen.


#13

Syd Field is coming out with a totally revised version of his book in November. Maybe that will offer us something new.


#14

[quote]You’d be surprised how many people have structure problems.



Unfortunately I don’t have a scanner.



So I’ll just copy word for word the notes I have in my binder from school. Here’s the film-school run down:



STRUCTURE



SCREENPLAYS IS ALL STRUCTURE



What is structure?



Academic definition

  • The linear arrangment of related incidents, episodes and events, that lead toward a dramatic resolution.



    Our definition
  • Structure is the way that you arrange the events that will maximize the story for dramatic impact.


  • Design of films, etc. - 3 Act Design



    ACT I - Get a man up a tree / Beginning

    ACT II - Throw rocks at him / Middle

    ACT III - Get him down / End



    ACT I ELEMENTS

    the setup, you’re setting up the story


  • Introduce your protagonist
  • Present the protagonist with conflict
  • Introduce the antagonist
  • What is at stake?



    ACT II ELEMNTS

    The Confrontation


  • Complicate the problem – rising dificulties
  • The problems culminate resulting in a CRISIS.



    ACT III ELEMENTS

    The resolution


  • Answer to the central question, which was asked in ACT I, “What is at stake?” THROUGH the climax of the film.
  • Conclusion


  • Turning Points


  • There are four turning points in a screenplay.
    • Two of them are in ACT I
      • One of them is in ACT II
        • The final one is in ACT III (which is the climax)



          see diagram below (Sorry if it’s messy, I just drew up a real quick diagram in paint)





          Point of Attack!


  • The point of attack (POA) occurs within the inciting incident
  • It presents the character with a problem
  • It triggers VISUAL MOTIVATION (your character’s goal).
  • Raises the cue / question



    TURNING POINTS - Sends the protagonist in a new direction.



    CLIMAX - Answers the question



    SIDENOTE: character determines the plot[/quote]

i know this might sound like a silly question , but what if you dont have any protagonist in your screenplay? what do you do?

#15

Movies can have more than one protagonist, I don’t think you can have a story without at least one protagonist. It has to be about someone or something, or it’s not a story.


#16

[quote=“deliveryman”]
Movies can have more than one protagonist, I don’t think you can have a story without at least one protagonist. It has to be about someone or something, or it’s not a story.
[/quote]I disagree with that, in Pulp Fiction you have an ensemble of antagonist moving the story forward with dialogue. I don’t recall seeing a protagonist in Pulp, do you?


#17

They’re all criminals but that doesn’t make them all antagonists.


#18

[quote=“Wookie Tarantino”]
I disagree with that, in Pulp Fiction you have an ensemble of antagonist moving the story forward with dialogue. I don’t recall seeing a protagonist in Pulp, do you?
[/quote]

I recall seeing a lot of protagonists in Pulp. Perhaps, you should re-read the defintiion of a protagonist.


#19

A hero or heroine in a story. But in Pulp all these characters are corrupt and wicked.


#20

Wasn’t Vince Agnostic?