Story Telling — 3 Act Story Structure

Story telling has a 3 act structure. Act one, two, three- Beginning middle and end. The beginning is the set up, Middle is conflict and end is the resolution. The set up, you basically share your characters in the natural environments and they have to hit a plot point, the situation sets the move into motion (example, When the karate kid is busting up his bike and his mom says is what wrong, I need to learn karate, and he keeps getting his butt kicked and doesn’t know what to do and Mr. Miyagi saves his and he realizes Ms. Miyagi can teach him karate.)

Once the set up of act 1, figures out the goals are or plot point then that leads to act two which is the development stage where the hero starts to take steps toward the goal (robo cop is fighting all these villains trying to figure out who killed him, so he is going and fighting all the bad guys and throwing them in jail.)

In the second half, towards the end of the movie, there is a major low point. The hero fails,(lethal weapon- captured and tortured and robo cop is getting shot up by cops and he’s trying to roll down the parking garage trying to get away and Louis save him and they drive off.)

Once the hero gets out barely alive, which twists the audience mind a little bit. The movie slows down at that point. The hero needs to find himself (die hard- trying to pull the glass out of his foot and he’s talking to the guy downstairs and says I don’t know if I’m going to make it, tell my wife I love her.) the hero is trying to find his way, and if he can really do this cause he’s not sure (internal conflict). Hero gets motivated.

3rd act- the hero is more prepared, learning from his mistakes, and start to kick butt, kills a couple more bad guys (Terminator 2- they set off in their final motivation to get the arm and the chip and get rid of that). Then there is a bump or fork in the road, the hero’s , once again after the 2nd act getting their butts kicked not sure they can do it and find motivation in the 3rd act.

All of a sudden the s hits the fan, can they do it, last time they screwed up. They barely escaped alive and this time can they do it again. The hero will reach another low point in the 3rd act, same thing that happened in act 2 they are going to get the crap beat out of them again (rocky- rocky got beat the first time and he had to fight him again and he beats his at the end) .

The final fight can’t be the hero walks all over the villain, the villain has to do something sneaky to get the hero, and sometimes the hero is almost down for the count. (matrix- neo is dead at the end and he comes back alive, Robo Cop- they nail him with the steel polls that fall on him and you think he’s out and got shot up in the 2nd cop and about to get shot in the 3rd act, not looking like it’s going to happen then he realizes he can stab Boddicker in the neck and kills him, Sometimes you think it’s over and they do the final scare.(Alien- you think is over they get off the planet, nope not the end the mother alien comes on the ship wrecks havoc again). Somehow the hero finds a way to succeed after the bump in the road and wrap things up and take care of the loose ends.

In summary, in the first act you set up your character that throws off the happy world and they have to figure out there goal. In the middle act the character determines the goal and works towards it. He or she succeeds at first, but there is a low point and things start slowing down after the hero barely makes it out alive. In the 3rd act he figures things out goes for it. Then there is a final show down where the villain kick his butt again then he finds a way to succeed. When you have characters kick there butt in the 2nd act and kick their butts in the 3rd act make it harder on their characters to survive in these conflict. Don’t go easy on them since you have to make your viewer want to figure how they are going to get out of there situations.