Online_Lecture_Screenwriting_1_Week_7

Online_Lecture_Screenwriting_1_Week_7 - UCLA Extension -...

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UCLA Extension - Screenwriting 1 L. Saber 1 ACT STRUCTURE (Week 7 Lecture) As we know, a three act screenplay is made up of three sections each with a specific purpose and each, in its own way, contributes to the advancement of the storyline and the arc of the central character. It is important to remember that each act, just like every scene has a beginning, middle and end . Act 1, as we’ve discussed previously, serves as an introduction exposing the characters we’re about to meet. It starts by introducing us to the protagonist and exposing this person’s everyday life. Keep in mind that we don’t necessarily have to see the protagonist in the very first scene of the movie; however the protagonist should be introduced shortly after the first or second scene. Here we discover where this person lives (SETTING), we discover what this person does for a living, and we discover the characters that populate his or her world, some of which will serve as supporting characters. We discover certain personality traits about our central character – good, bad or indifferent – doesn’t much matter just as long as these character traits make our character likable or interesting enough to keep us around for the duration of the film.
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UCLA Extension - Screenwriting 1 L. Saber 2 Another exception to the rule – keep in mind that your protagonist doesn’t always have to be likeable, but this person should show potential for improvement. One character that comes to mind as I’m writing this is Jim Carrey’s character in “Liar, Liar.” He’s not your typical “good-doer,” but yet he comes across as someone who can be changed. Lo and behold he does change by the end of the film. Once we’ve established or exposed our central character and perhaps a few characters with which he interacts, we can move on to the inciting incident. As you should recall, this is the event that takes place at the end of act one and it sets things in motion for the central character. The central character may have an average life and goes about his own business as usual, he’s content until something rocks his world. Something turns his life upside down and shakes him up. This “something” is the inciting incident. The inciting incident sends the character’s life into a different direction. Now!! It’s important to know that not all central characters have average mundane lives, not all are good natured people. Just like in “Liar, Liar” you can certainly create a central character that’s a little rough around the edges, maybe has a drinking problem, maybe a gambling habit, maybe this person doesn’t have an ordinary life. He/she could be the President of the United States or royalty, a King, a Princess or maybe a thief or a murder, but whatever this person may be the life they lead is usual to them and the inciting incident must be unusual.
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UCLA Extension - Screenwriting 1 L. Saber 3 Let’s clarify that point – instead of a father of three who lives in a house
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This note was uploaded on 12/23/2011 for the course EXTEN SCNWRT at UCLA.

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Online_Lecture_Screenwriting_1_Week_7 - UCLA Extension -...

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