This week has been a good reminder about the basics of structuring a screenplay using the three-act structure, including where particular plot points / beats are “expected” to go. I have studied this particular aspect of screenwriting multiple times, but it’s amazing how many different takes there are on what you would expect to be quite a simple topic. It shows just how important structure is in a screenplay, that there are so many guides on how it “should” be done. There are many detractors for the notion of formally structuring a screenplay, but I do find it useful, personally, as it at least gets me to think about the main events that I would like to occur within the story and roughly where they should occur within the plot. Of course, once those points have been suggested within the structure, they can easily be moved, removed or changed completely.
The idea of writing a step outline is also not something new to me, but it’s also not something that I have actually sat down to formally do before today. I have often written brief summaries of scenes as I’m writing a script, more as a reminder to myself, or a placeholder for when I feel better placed to write the whole scene “properly”. This is essentially the same thing, but used for plotting out the whole script before anything is written. It’s been a useful exercise for developing my script for this module, as the basic shell of the script is now in place and ready to be written.
Although I found the reading this week, from Movies That Move Us, a bit of a slog, it was worth the reminder that a script should focus on both the internal (emotion) journey and the external (physical) journey of characters, especially the protagonist, and the two should be closely linked – action should breed emotion should breed action.