For continuity we will be using the classical Three Act Structure for study purposes.
In this module we'll be discussing:
The Three act structure and how it is designed to setup audience expectation
Plant and Pay off; How elements (guns, knives, clothes, words, characters...etc) are planted in story and re-introduced later to provide a dramatic pay off or aid in keeping the story cohesive.
As we saw in Module 1, Routine and Interruption, the audience is setup to EXPECT SOMETHING TO HAPPEN. As the character experiences an interruption to their routine (daily life, normal world...etc) the audience will ask the question:
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
The preceding module to this topic: Interruption of Routine, can be found here:
SYLLABIS FOR CLASS MODULES
Understand the concept of routine and interruption.
Understand and use the concept of plant and payoff.
Combining Routine and Interruption with Plant and Payoff
Identify and avoid the most common flaws when developing a story. Utilize the payoff by mining material that has been introduced into the story.
Practice the art of visual storytelling.
1. Assignment Outline for a Visual Movie Opening
1. When you think of great visual filmmakers, who comes to mind and why?
Understand the concept of the central question.
Central Question exercise: (What is the single most important goal of the protagonist and will he/she achieve it?)
Understand the different movie Genres and the concept of Genre.
Explore the art of adapting a story for a movie.
What are the benefits of adaptation?
Assignment: Adaptation Assignment
Talk about a movie that you liked which was adapted from a book that you have read. What was similar to the book? What was different?
Troubleshooting a Story
Troubleshoot a story.
Critically evaluate a story’s obstacles. Reconsider the central question. Brainstorm for obstacles.
Assignment Obstacle Brainstorm
1. Provide an example of a creative solution to obstacles faced by a character in a recent movie that you've seen.
The Hook, Through-Line and Place Markers
Understand the importance of the hook when telling a story.
Use a through-line in a narrative.
Understand what a cute meet is in screenwriting.
Utilize place markers when writing.
1. Discussion Exercise: Cute Meet
2. Assignment: Place Marker Sketch
1. Talk about any issues or problems you have had with identifying Through-Lines or using Place Markers.
Understand the pleasure and necessity of researching material for stories.
Learn about the importance of story drivers.
Explore how characters can be defined by their reactions.
Address the issue of moral choices that characters make.
1. Assignment: Distinct Reactions
Describe an example of a moral choice made by a character in a movie you've seen.
Understand how a message can drive what the characters do.
Understand the importance of the message in a movie.
Utilize a message that can lead to a premise.
Messages Assignment: Define what the message of your story is.
Discuss the last message you saw in a feature film. Did it resonate effectively?
Understand what goes into creating a memorable character.
Utilize different methods to sketch out a character.
Understand the importance of the character arc.
Write a Fictitious Character Profile
List a couple of examples of character arcs from films you've seen recently.
Identify the different types of endings for movies, including open- ended story and the story with a surprise ending.
Understand that loose ends are usually tied up in a good ending.
Write an opening scene and an ending scene for a movie.
Opening Scene and Ending scene for a movie
Post a story ending that did not work in a movie that you've seen recently. Explain why you feel it didn't work.
Understand some of the factors that influence a character’s voice.
Write in the voice of an invented character.
Understand the benefit to the screenwriter of having a broad base of knowledge.
1. Character Voice Monologue: Write a small scene were your character expresses an emotion or opinion…etc
2. Talk about one of your favorite movie characters with a unique and distinctive voice. What is it about the character and their voice that you like?
Supporting and Main Characters
Writing Log-lines and Synopsys for your story
Understand what goes into creating a complete story
Know how to formulate a pitch for a story for film Comprehend the use and importance of supporting characters.
Assignment: The Pitch Assignment; writing Log-line and synopsis
Discuss the most challenging aspects of putting together your pitch assignment.
Gathering Information for Your Story
Know how to gather and research material for writing a screenplay.
Explore use of the Internet for research.
Look at mimicking a character’s lifestyle and locale.
Understand the value of nurturing relationships for information and professional connections.
Understand the advantage of reading and relevant research.
The Pitch Assignment: Review your classmate's submissions from
Module 13 and share feedback with the class.
1. After reviewing your classmate's pitches, how would you change the presentation of your pitch? What about their work inspired you to make changes?
Module 15: Conclusion:
Subplots and Naming Your Film
Define different kinds of subplots, including romantic interests, inner demons and problems with family and friends.
Understand how to name a film and some of the sources for film titles.
No assignments in this module
Describe one of your favorite subplots from a film you've recently seen. Did it support the main plot line?