Three act structure

I like to shape principles not apply formulas, because if you understand the principles of story telling you can deal with most circumstances, and make informed decisions rather then following formulaic prescriptions.
So bare in mind that what follows is not a formula to work with, what follow is an example of how you could prep the story structure that suits your narrative to help your paper edit.
if for instance you decide to use a 3 act structure, then you could try this: Given the following “story moments” and looking at the actuality you have in your footage/transcripts you can decide where each event would fit within the following framework:

3 Act Structure : proportion

A 3 act structure where act 1 and 3 are 1/4 of the whole. ie for a 20min short doc, it would be 5 min each, and Act 2 about 1/2 of the whole, so a round 10min in our 20 min example.

Act 1 Needs to:

Introduce the character, and the problem and conflict Inciting the incident, the event that gets everything rolling although this event sometimes has already occurred when the story begins. First turning point, which is somewhat smaller than the turning point that ends the act. By the end of Act One, the audience knows who and what your story is about and, at least initially, what’s at stake. The first act drives to an emotional peak, the highest in the film so far, necessitating the action that launches the second act.

Act 2.

story’s pace increases as complications emerge unexpected twists and reversals take place You need your second act to continue to build as new information and new stakes are woven into your story. The second act drives to an emotional peak even greater than at the end of Act One, necessitating the action that launches the third act.

Act 3

As this act unfolds, the he or she will reach the darkest moment just as the third act comes to a close. It intensifies. That tension then pushes you into the resolution, those last moments where you resolve ties up loose ends as necessary and “let your hero out of the tree”.


3 Act Structure

Relevance for paper-edit

See two column script section for more on how to incorporate this into a paper-edit.