Basic Look ● Act One – The Situation ● Act Two – The Complications ● Act Three – The Conclusion
3 Act Basics ● The 3 – Act Structure was created by Aristotle ● And perfected by Joesph Campbell (Also did the Hero's Journey)
ACT I – Opening Balance The lives of the characters have achieved a certain equilibrium, which must be disturbed if there is to be a conflict, a story. Example: Catch Me If You Can Frank is with his family, they dance, celebrate his birthday.
ACT I – Opening Event An opening event is a unique moment in the character's life. Catch Me If You Can: ● His dad takes him to get a suit and act like a chauffeur ● Finds a man home with his mother.
ACT I - Disturbance It is supposedly the single event that sets the story in motion – Plot Point 1. It forces the main character to take action. Frank's parents are getting a divorce.
END OF ACT I ● The disturbance rolls into the end and plot point. ● The disturbance causes the basic situation to fall apart. ● The beginning of a formula screenplay ends with the protagonist (main character) makes a major decision to act, a decision that results in conflict. The decision also defines what the screenplay is about. ● It starts the main character's goal and the core action of the plot. Frank runs away!
M.D.Q ● At this point, the viewer (audience) should be hooked. ● This is what keeps them in the theater for two hours. ● They want to know the answers, the outcome. ● It's not the over theme of the screenplay but a question that arouses curiosity and suspense.
Major Dramatic Question What is going to happen to Frank? Will Dorothy be okay? LATER: Will Frank get caught? Will Dorothy make it home?
ACT II – conflicts extra... The middle of the 3-act screenplay is made of of roadblocks that ensure that the main character's course of action is not clear sailing, for clear sailing is the death of drama and a story.
ACT II – Rising Action ● Rising Action – The middle of the screenplay the world is not stable. This instablility is what makes conflict, obstacles, and complications more powerful, more dramatic, more important than the one before Frank goes deeper and deeper into his made-up personalities. He risks more. He steals more. He is constantly chased by the FBI because of it.
ACT – II – Dark Moment ● The end of Act II – the end of the middle – occurs when the hero totally fails, quest collapses, the main character's short comings have tripped him up. He falls in love and decides to get married.
ACT III ● The plot points contained in the end are: enlightenment, climax and catharsis Lets see how they work out
Enlightenment ● Enlightenment occurs when the main character understands how to defeat the protagonist. Frank outsmarts the FBI and goes to France.
ACT III - Enlightenment Good enlightenment involves several elements: ● It must be something the main character and audience could not have understood before enduring the conflicts. ● Second, the enlightenment must be delicately set up earlier in the screenplay.
Enlightenment Frank didn't think or have the ability to make counterfeit checks until he went through his trials and tribulations during the movie or conflicts. In other words, he got better as things went along. Next, the place in France was planted at the beginning of the movie. It is were his father met his mother. Discussed in one of the first scenes.
ACT-III Climax Armed with enlightenment, the main character is renewed and ready to defeat the antagonist. (Pan Am or FBI) Carl can't believe the amazing counterfeit he's making. Frank realizes where he is and goes to France.
ACT III - Catharsis This is a final purging of the character's emotions, restoring the world to balance and hinting at what the future might bring. ● One, it must not linger. ● Second, the ending must be consistent with the beginning.
Catharsis ● Flash forward to him on the plan with Carl and Frank's father has died ● Frank is captured. ● Runs to his mother's house and sees her life restored without him. ● He agrees to work with the FBI ● He tries to run one more time