Capa Screenwriting


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A workshop on 3 Act Story Structure I gave for sophomores and juniors at Philadelphia\'s Creative and Performing Arts Highschool Cinema Class.

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Capa Screenwriting

  1. 1. The Screenwriter’s storytelling art A presentation to Mr. Kaufman’s Film Class By Rick Weiss Trident Productions, Inc
  2. 3. “ You have to ask yourself Do you feel lucky punk? …” <ul><li>The life of a screenwriter </li></ul><ul><li>The art/work of screenwriting </li></ul><ul><li>Three act structure </li></ul><ul><li>Class exercise </li></ul><ul><li>Other important elements </li></ul>“ Do you…”
  3. 4. Let me tell you a story <ul><li>Stories in life </li></ul><ul><li>Stories on paper </li></ul><ul><li>Stories on film </li></ul>
  4. 5. The story formula The Three Act Structure <ul><li>Aristotle </li></ul><ul><li>The Hollywood Formula: 120 page script~1 min./page 2 hrs. screentime </li></ul><ul><li>Act I = 1 st ¼ = 30 minutes </li></ul><ul><li>Act II = 2 nd ½ = 60 minutes </li></ul><ul><li>Act III = 4 th ¼ = 30 minutes </li></ul><ul><li>The formula—Why it works </li></ul><ul><li>plot (mythos) </li></ul><ul><li>character (ethos) </li></ul><ul><li>theme (dianoia) </li></ul><ul><li>performance (lexis) </li></ul><ul><li>melody (melos) </li></ul><ul><li>setting (opsis) </li></ul>
  5. 6. The Three Act Structure Resolution Conflict Setup End Middle Beginning Act 3 Act 2 Act 1
  6. 7. Rising Action <ul><li>Characters are not plot driven. </li></ul><ul><li>Plot is character driven. </li></ul>Character development drives conflict!!! Bs ??? Action is the mirror of character. 120 min. 30 min. 60 min. 30 min. Dante
  7. 8. Heroes <ul><li>The person or team we root for </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Why we root for them </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Making good heroes </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The hero’s journey </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Myth of the hero </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The hero’s tragic flaw/ghosts/backstory </li></ul><ul><li>The flaws in a hero are always more interesting than the strengths. </li></ul>
  8. 9. Villains <ul><li>Yin to the Hero’s Yang </li></ul><ul><li>Believability </li></ul><ul><li>Human motivation </li></ul><ul><li>The strengths in a villain are always more interesting than the flaws. </li></ul>
  9. 10. Character Arc in Story Structure <ul><li>Act 1 Beginning—Establishes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Exposition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Main character </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dramatic premise </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dramatic situation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inciting Incident </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hero will resist change (inner conflict). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Plot Point 1 Something happens to throw everything off balance. </li></ul></ul>
  10. 11. Character Arc in Story Structure <ul><li>Act 2 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Begins character’s emotional journey </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gives characters challenges to overcome </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make them struggle </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The key to Act Two is conflict-- Midpoint </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Continually raise the stakes of your character’s emotional journey. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Simultaneous inner and outer conflicts .    </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Reversals of fortune and unexpected setbacks </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Black Moment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>All is lost / the hero appears beaten </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Plot Point 2 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Thrusts the story in another unexpected direction. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The hero's goal becomes reachable but she must draw on new strengths. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Act Two ends </li></ul></ul></ul>
  11. 12. Character Arc in Story Structure <ul><li>Act 3 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Shows how the character is able to succeed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Climax </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>outcome of the main character’s decision at the climax. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Resolution/denouement ties together the loose ends of the story </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Character arc </li></ul>
  12. 13. Exercise <ul><li>Watch and discover </li></ul>
  13. 14. Exercise <ul><li>Rewatch and Analyze for: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Act 1  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Setup </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inciting incident </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Plot Point 1 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Act 2 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Midpoint </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Black Moment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Plot Point 2 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Act 3 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Climax </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Resolution </li></ul></ul>
  14. 15. Dialogue <ul><li>Naturalistic vs. Natural </li></ul><ul><li>Compression </li></ul><ul><li>Research  Authenticity </li></ul><ul><li>Listening for: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>cadence, tones, inflections, slang, beats, the music of language </li></ul></ul>
  15. 16. On scripts and script formats Two column , news, documentary, TV script format Film/studio / Hollywood screenplay format What we see. What we hear.
  16. 17. Go West young wo/man? <ul><li>Hollywood </li></ul><ul><li>Independent </li></ul><ul><li>New York </li></ul><ul><li>Corporate work </li></ul>
  17. 18. Game Changers <ul><li>In the business of making and distributing media </li></ul><ul><li>In the storytelling arts </li></ul>1976 2004 2009
  18. 19. FADE IN: … FADE OUT It’s a wrap <ul><li>Nothing in a good story is left to chance </li></ul><ul><li>Scripts are highly specialized documents </li></ul><ul><li>The first step to creating a movie </li></ul><ul><li>Collaboration – Deal with it! </li></ul><ul><li>The Song remains the same </li></ul><ul><li>Final thoughts </li></ul>&quot;I like a good story well told. That is the reason I am sometimes forced to tell them myself.&quot; —Mark Twain
  19. 20. Questions?
  20. 21. Thank you and good luck! Thanks also to: Mr. Kaufman Dan Wisniewski Isaiah Price