So, we now taking a serious look at idea of story. We are studying story. There is a word for that.
Narratology is "both the theory and the study of narrative and narrative structure and the ways that these affect our perception" (Wikipedia).
Previously, we covered the key components of a story and key things to keep in mind to strengthen a story.
In an earlier post we covered: "Plot – story should start with exposition, then conflict, escalating conflict, leading to final climax and then to resolution."
Now, let's look closer at plot. The could be the plot of a novel or the plot of a film.
When it comes to Hollywood films, one of the key experts on how to tell a story and how to construct a plot is Syd Field.
Field defines a screenplay as “a story told with pictures, in dialogue and description, and placed within the context of dramatic structure."
Field promotes his version of a the three act structure as shown below.
Setup (Act I): Let the audience know who the main character is and what the story is about. Identify the need of the main character.
Confrontation (Act II): The main character needs something and there will be people/things that stop him/her.
Resolution (Act III): How does the story end? What happens to the main character? Need met or not?
Plot Point: “an incident, or event, that hooks into the story and spins it around into another direction” (Field).
What the following trailer of Die Hard and look for the acts. Do you spot Plot Point 1 at the end of Act I? What happens at the Christmas party?
Now, think about your favorite films. Do you see this same structure?
Developing a full or even partial screenplay is beyond the scope of things here, but it is now possible given the what we've covered, to develop a film treatment.
A film or screenplay treatment is a one page synopsis of a film yet to be produced. It is typically written before the full script.
Could you write a treatment for the next big film written by you?
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See more about me at my web site WilliamHartPhD.com.