Everything to do with making a film starts with the script. Here’s why Indie filmmakers need to know the traditional structure of a dramatic script.

by Peter D. Marshall

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Well, after a marathon of several weeks and 14 hour days (sounds like a film set!) I am extremely happy to announce that I have finally finished the “Script Breakdown and Film Scheduling Online Course For Independent Filmmakers.”

The website is now live and you can be one of the first to get a look at this intensive Online Film Scheduling course. But before you go, here’s another section of this 137 page course you can read:

=======

“The Classic Three Act Script Structure”

In 2007, a Production Manager called me and asked me if I would interview as a 1st AD for a feature film. He told me the director wanted to bring in his own 1st AD, so these interviews were more about meeting the locals than hiring someone. Knowing that I probably wasn’t going to have a chance at the job, I said yes anyway. He emailed me the script.

Now I have read hundreds of scripts during my career, and after a while, you get a “gut feeling” about whether a script will make a good film or not.

Well, as I was reading this script, I sensed something different about it. The story grabbed my attention and wouldn’t let go. When I got to the end, I had a big grin on my face. I really enjoyed this funny and charming story.

What was the script? It was called “Juno” and we all know what happened a year later at the 2008 Academy Awards!

Why am I telling you this story?

It’s because everything to do with the making a film starts with the script. And every department on a movie has to take this script, read it, understand it and break it down to find all the elements they need to look after during the production.

Therefore, before we get into the 1st AD breakdown of the script, I think it is a good idea to discuss the actual structure of a dramatic script.

Traditionally, the basic structure of any movie script is divided into three (unseen) acts. Here’s how it breaks down:

1. ACT ONE (Set Up) (Boy meets girl)

a. Who is the main character?

b. What is the premise or theme?

c. What is the situation? (story)

d. What are the main character’s needs and goals?

2. ACT TWO (Confrontation) (Boy loses girl & fights against impossible odds to get her back)

a. What is the dramatic action?

b. What are the obstacles?

c. What is the conflict?

3, ACT THREE (Resolution) (Boy gets girl) OR (Boy dies – “Titanic”)

a. How does the story end (what is the solution)?

b. What happens to the main character?

c. What happens to the other characters?

=========

I am very excited about the quality of the content I’m going to share with you in the “Script Breakdown and Film Scheduling Online Course For Independent Filmmakers.”

I guarantee that when you have finished reading this 137 page manual, you will have gained in-depth industry knowledge of the entire pre-production stage of making an independent film or TV series.

And don’t forget, this course is not just for Assistant Directors and Production Managers. I also wrote this course for Directors, Producers, Location Managers and other filmmakers who need to know and understand the proper steps involved in breaking down a script and creating a realistic film shooting schedule.

Here’s the website link again so you can be one of the first to check out all the details about this online course including content list, support materials and free bonuses.

Previous post:

Next post: