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Script Writing (screen writing) Spec script writing Feature assignment writing Rewriting and script doctoring Television writing Writing for daily series Writing for game shows Video game writing
1) Three-act structure
Act 1: The Setup The first act is where all the major characters of the story are introduced, plus the world where they live in, and the conflict that will move the story forward. In Act I, the writer has the freedom to create any setting and reality that he so wishes. It’s in the first pages of the script that he defines the reasoning and logic of the story. This early in the script, anything is possible. The story may happen in the distant future or long time ago in a galaxy far away. It may take place in a city or in an African jungle. The first act also establishes genre. It may be a drama about a widow that struggles to reencounter love, or a suspense about a young trainee summoned out of the FBI academy in a special assignment to interview a dangerous psychopath.
Act 2: Confrontation The second act is by far the longest, encompassing half of the movie and taking place between the first and third acts. For some screenwriters, Act II is the hardest one to squeeze out. This happens because after the initial boost of a new story, the writer is left without plot elements to introduce. The story, its characters and conflict are all established. At this point, the writer has created a solid frame for his narrative. Yet he’s still roughly sixty pages away from the ending. With so many blank pages remaining, the writer faces the challenge of keeping the story moving forward and not boring the audience. One device to accomplish this feat is the elaboration of subplot. The subplot is a minor story layered under the main narrative. It often adds a three-dimensionality aspect to the characters by allowing them to engage in a behavior that is not pertinent to the main plot, but still relevant in the overall narrative and often connected to a central theme.
Act 3: Resolution The last act, Act III presents the final confrontation of the movie. This act is usually the shortest in length because quickly after the second turning point of the script, the main character is face to face with the villain or just about. Showdown ensues and then conclusion. The resolution can also give extra information for a more elaborate character arc. Note: difference between climax and resolution is that climax is the point where the viewer finds out something which will lead it towards an ending, where as the resolution is the point at which action revolves to complete the story.
2) Syd Field's Paradigm Opening Image: The first image in the screenplay should summarize the entire film, especially its tone. Often, writers go back and redo this as the last thing before submitting the script. Exposition: Provides some background information to the audience about the plot, characters' histories, setting, and theme. Inciting Incident: Also called the catalyst, this is the point in the story when the Protagonist encounters the problem that will change their life. Plot Point 1: The last scene in Act One, Plot Point 1 is a surprising development that radically changes the Protagonist's life, and forces him to confront the Opponent. Pinch 1: A reminder scene at about 3/8 the way through the script (halfway through Act 2 a) that brings up the central conflict of the drama, reminding us of the overall conflict.
Midpoint: An important scene in the middle of the script, often a reversal of fortune or revelation that changes the direction of the story. Field suggests that driving the story towards the Midpoint keeps the second act from sagging. Pinch 2: Another reminder scene about 5/8 through the script (halfway through Act 2 b) that is somehow linked to Pinch 1 in reminding the audience about the central conflict. Plot Point 2: A dramatic reversal that ends Act 2 and begins Act 3, which is about confrontation and resolution. Sometimes Plot Point 2 is the moment when the Hero has had enough and is finally going to face the Opponent. Showdown: About midway through Act 3, the Protagonist will confront the Main Problem of the story and either overcome it, or come to a tragic end. Resolution: The issues of the story are resolved. Tag: An epilogue, tying up the loose ends of the story, giving the audience closure. This is also known as denouement.
Things to consider… Imagery Dialogue Plot