A sequence is a self-contained portion of the entire story, usually about 10 to 15 minutes (pages) in length. With a clear beginning, middle, and end, each sequence has its own short-term tension (not the main tension, but related in some way) along with a central conflict that gives shape to the entire 10 -15 minutes.

When breaking down a film’s structure, generally speaking, “The Eight Sequences” framework is the standard: two in Act One, four in Act Two, and two in Act Three.

But the number 8 is only part of the equation. If the sequences are what shape a screenplay’s three-act structure, then the five major plot points are the building blocks behind sequence construction: Inciting Incident, Lock-In, Midpoint, Main Culmination, and Third Act Twist. 

Each analysis of selected features will break the film down to the essential parts of each of the 8 separate sequences (9 in specific genres) and 5 major plot points. 

Midnight Run (1988)

Genre: Action/ Adventure/ Comedy Movie Time: 126:15 SYNOPSIS: Jack Walsh, a bounty hunter in L. A., has a mission to find an escaped suspect: “Duke” and take him back in five days. Duke was the accountant of Jimmy Serrano, who was the godfather of the Mafia. He stole Serrano's 15...
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Inception (2010)

Screenplay Genre: Action / Crime / Thriller Movie Time: 148 minutes Synopsis: A skilled extractor, Cobb, is employed by a very powerful man, to help break up his competitor’s company, by performing a job considered to be impossible – Inception. In order for this to be accomplished, the extractor must...
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Bridesmaids (2011)

Screenplay Genre: Comedy Movie Time: 125 Minutes Synopsis: Annie (Kristin Wiig) is the Maid of Honor in her best friend Lillian’s (Maya Rudolph) wedding. She’s having a hard enough time getting her own life together, but when Lillian’s presumed new best friend Helen (Rose Byrne) usurps her Maid of Honor...
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The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

Movie Genre: Comedy / Drama Screenplay Time: 110 Minutes Synopsis: The Tenenbaums are a family split apart by the actions of the family head, Royal Tenenbaum. When Royal’s estranged wife is engaged to a new man twenty two years after their separation, Royal Tenenbaum sets forth a devious plot to...
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The Sixth Sense (1999)

Genre: Drama / Mystery / Thriller Movie Time: 107 Minutes Synopsis: After having a life altering confrontation with a former patient, child psychiatrist Dr. Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) has a new patient, Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment) with an acute anxiety disorder: He see’s dead people. ACT I SEQUENCE ONE
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The Princess Bride (1987)

Screenplay Genre: Adventure / Comedy / Fantasy / Family Movie Time: 98 Minutes Synopsis: Narrated by a Grandfather (Peter Falk) to his sick Grandson (Fred Savage), The Princess Bride is the story of true love between poor stable boy Westley (Cary Elwes) and farmer’s daughter Buttercup (Robin Wright). Thinking Westley...
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Sideways (2004)

Screenplay Genre: Indie Comedy / Drama / Romance Movie Time: 126 minutes Synopsis: Depressed writer Miles (Paul Giamatti) and aging actor Jack (Thomas Haden Church) take a trip through the California Wine Country the week before Jack’s wedding with two very different agendas. Jack wants to have one last fling...
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Fight Club (1999)

Screenplay Genre: Crime / Drama / Thriller Movie Time: 139 minutes Synopsis: Jack (Edward Norton) is going through a quarter-life crisis in his over-materialized, cookie-cutter apartment and working his dead-end job. He meets Marla Singer (Helena Bonham Carter) and his world comes crashing down. Simultaneously, he meets Tyler Durden (Brad...
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The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Screenplay Genre: Adventure / Family / Fantasy Movie Time: 103 Synopsis: Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland) is a young woman from Kansas who feels unappreciated. She runs away from home, but quickly decides that life on the road isn’t for her if she’s hurting her family. She heads back, but a...
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