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