Tuesday, October 31, 2017

SocietyMassCom: Writing a Screenplay - Plot Structure (W11-P3) Fa17

We covered compose video or how to compose a short, but what about how to compose a screenplay or script?

How do you write a story for a Hollywood 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.

Syd 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 dramatic structure as shown below.

According to Field, there should be three acts in a screenplay and there should be a plot point between Act 1 and Act 2 and another plot point between Act 2 and Act 3.

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: 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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