The latest helpful guide to screenplay and teleplay writing from our friends at Script Reader Pro:

by Script Reader Pro

If there’s so much information out there on how to craft the perfect three-act structure, why is it so hard to put it into practice in your own script? Why is it so difficult to know how the hell to fill those 50-60 pages in Act Two?

With close to a million different theories on three-act structure out there, this confusion is easy to understand.

Should you structure your script using Christopher Vogler’s Hero’s Journey or John Truby’s 21 Steps? Or should you go for the Save the Cat Beat Sheet or maybe Syd Field’s classic three-act structure?

In today’s post, we’re going to show you why you should stop fretting over plot points, page numbers and all the different structure theories that are out there. And what to focus on instead.

We’re going to show you the pros and cons of three-act structure and the right way to approach it so it empowers your creativity rather than stifles it.

Here’s what’s coming up:

• What is three-act structure?
• Why three-act structure works
• The problem with this structure
• A better approach
• How to write a story by first forgetting three-act structure
• So, do you really need three-act structure or what?

So let’s dive on in.

First, just what is three-act structure?

As we’ve already mentioned, there are many different screenwriting structure theories out there. However, they all fall into and work in harmony with what’s known as “classic” or “traditional” three-act structure.

Here’s a quick breakdown of classic/traditional three-act structure in a movie screenplay:

A screenplay should be roughly 90-110 pages long.

A single page roughly equals one minute of screen time. So the sweet spot of a 110-page screenplay is about a one-hour-fifty-minute long movie.

Applying a three-act structure divides these pages/minutes up like so:

• Act One: First 25-30 pages/minutes
• Act Two: Second 50-60 pages/minutes
 Act Three: Third 25-30 pages/minutes

Or like this:

• Act One: Beginning/Set-Up
• Act Two: Middle/Confrontation
• Act Three: End/Resolution

Or, as the saying goes:

• Act One: Get your protagonist up a tree
• Act Two: Throw rocks at him or her
• Act Three: Get them down again

More detail on what classic three-act structure entails


BET’s ‘Twenties’ Takes Us on the Journey of an Aspiring TV Writer

Lena Waithe knows how to be the best possible Lena Waithe
Lena Waithe knows how to be the best possible Lena Waithe

Yes, it’s true. Another indie web series has moved upward and onward to the Big Time, this time via BET. Lena Waithe’s series the truth, the whole truth, and – almost (because our memories are fallible and great stories need more drama than we’d like to welcome into our actual lives) – nothing but the truth.

Here’s the cool trailer for Twenties.

And here’s a worthwhile article on the subject.

‘How to Publish a Book’

TVWriter™ favorite Nathan Bransford’s new book is out.

How to Publish a Book is a guide to something many of our visitors want to know more than just about anything else in the world (except perhaps how to get an agent), and accompanying it is Nathan’s explicit promise that if this volume doesn’t tell you everything you need to know, all you have to do is:

Reach out to me and I’ll do my best to help you out!

The eBook version is available at the following locations:

And you can get a genuine paperback here:

This TVWriter™ minion has read the entire book and recommends it highly. It even told me what to do to actually get the kind of hard-working, reliable, and not all that annoying to talk to agent we all want and need.

Go for it. Tell ’em TVWriter™ sent you! (Not, we don’t have any kind of financial interest in the sales of How to Publish a Book, nor do we even know Mr. Bransford. But a little self-promotion doesn’t hurt, yeah?)

Larry Brody: Live! From Paradise! #75 – “Come On and Take a Free Ride”

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THE USUAL NOTE FROM LB: From the summer of 2002 to  the spring of 2010, Gwen the Beautiful and I were the proud and often exhausted owners of a beautiful Ozarks property we called Cloud Creek Ranch.

In many ways, the ranch was paradise. But it was a paradise with a price that started going up before we even knew it existed. Here’s another Monday musing about our adventure and the lessons we learned.

Oh, and if y’all detect any irony, please believe me when I say it comes straight from the universe and not your kindly Uncle Larry B.

by Larry Brody

Burl Jr., Cloud Creek’s New Caretaker, has himself a new ride. He’s standing in the middle of the clearing now, hose in hand, washing it for the fifteenth time in the last four days.

New ride it may be, but not a new vehicle. Burl Jr. bought Sweet Jane’s sister Celia’s Chevy pickup. He’d been eyeing it for years, and she gave him a deal he couldn’t refuse.

“This is going to cut into your ‘leaving home to strike it rich in the music business’ money,” I pointed out as Burl Jr. demonstrated the adjustable shocks.

“It’s worth it,” he said. “I’ll hit the Big Time in style. Look here, we’re talking about chrome headers!”

How could I argue? After all, once upon a time ole Larry B didn’t just love cars, I defined myself by what I drove.

In college I was the guy with the old ’59 Corvette. The new Stingray had replaced this model in the showroom, but driving it still made me cool…and a little eccentric. A pretty solid description of whom I wanted to be.

When I first moved to Los Angeles I drove a Mustang. The color code said it was “bronze,” but parking lot attendants said, “Pull that brown car in over there.”

The color alone made me an outta tune in a city where cars are icons that identify their drivers just as the symbols painted on their shields I.D.’d medieval knights.

So, beginning a pattern that lasted for thirty years, as soon as I got a little money I traded in the Mustang for a brand new, bright red Alfa Romeo. The Alfa was rear-ended the second day I had it, and then had its front smashed in by someone demonstrating his new power garage door the day after the rear was fixed.

Someone was telling me something, but I didn’t listen. Driving such a rare and fragile Italian car didn’t just make me cool, it announced that I was a budding Fellini. A television auteur!

In the years that followed I drove a succession of foreign cars, showing off for every traffic cop in L.A., culminating in a brand new Porsche. This silver bullet was my ride for fifteen years.

Impatience was the hallmark of my career and my life, and the Porsche suited me so well that it showed up in all my dreams as a kind of stand-in for me.

When things went well, my dream Porsche roared down the road like thunder. When I had a heart attack I dreamed that a hole opened up on the street where the Porsche was parked and swallowed it whole.

And when the show business thing wore off and I grew heartsick and tired of my life of flash I finally sold it and bought a series of more practical vehicles. A Montero SUV. A GMC pick-up. A couple of Ford F150s. If you live anywhere near rural America you know the drill.

Even then, the only vehicle that made it into my dreams was the silver Porsche. Any time the dream LB went anywhere I did it in that car. The personality traits that had made the Porsche me and me the Porsche still ran my personal show.

Until I moved to Paradise and learned what life really was all about. Until I learned what it was like to work from sunrise to sunset just to survive. And how fine it felt to get through the year with my land still mine. And to have my neighbors wave and talk to me simply because I was one of the guys.

I stopped dreaming about the silver Porsche. About any car.

Until Burl Jr. proclaimed his love for that Chevy.

That night I dreamed I was in an underground parking structure. A middle-aged farmer in overalls walked me to the only vehicle there.

“She’s all fixed up,” he said. “Better than when it was new ‘cause I gave it the Paradise spin. Go on. Get in. Drive.”

In my dream, I got into the car—a better than new ’59 ‘Vette—and headed out to the world.

I was twenty-one again, cool but eccentric, beginning a new life that could go in any direction I chose.

Every night since then I’ve dreamed I’m in that car. Driving the blacktop and gravel of Paradise.

No side trips. No crashes.

I’m one lucky man.

How many people get to start all over again…on the right road?

LB: ‘Bags Groove’ and Other Memories

by Larry Brody

Last Thursday was my birthday. I’m not going to go into how old I am. Let’s put it this way – I’m older than I ever thought humanly possible.

I’m so old that time now passes twice as fast for me as it did back when I, erm, wasn’t so old. What I remember as happening last week in fact happened two years ago. What I remember happening five years ago actually occurred ten years in the past.

Actually, my time lapse sense is more subjective than that, which I didn’t realize until sitting down and writing the paragraphs above, and looking at a picture my wife, Gwen the Beautiful, just put up on Facebook.

Turns out that what I remember looking like – hell, make that the person I remember being this morning, as I woke up – in fact existed not two days or two years or even two decades ago but forty holy-crap-racing-like-the-wind! years ago.

Here I am, at the moment when, as head writer-producer (they didn’t call us showrunners then) of the critics’ darlin’ series Police Story, I reached the peak of my climb up life’s all-too-slippery slope.

Since then it’s been a slow but fascinatingly head-over-heels descent down the other side of said slope, and while I’m cool with everything that’s happened along the way, you’d better believe me when I say you’ll never see me shirtless in a photograph taken now!

Those of you who may be curious, however, are more than welcome to listen to the music I loved more than any other kind back in the day, music I listened to last Thursday while realizing it still stood at the top of my list, above even my all-time second fave, The Who’s Quadrophenia.

Here’s Bags Groove, a jazz album featuring Miles Davis, Milt Jackson, Thelonious Monk and a ton more great musicians. It seemed older than God – and maybe even older than I am now – when I first heard it in what then was called “Junior High,” but right now it reverbs through my head as brand new.