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. 

Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Screenplay Genre: Indie Comedy Movie Time: 101 minutes Synopsis: A dysfunctional family struggles to overcome numerous setbacks on an 800-mile road trip from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Redondo Beach, CA in their yellow VW Microbus to get their seven-year-old daughter to the finals of the "Little Miss Sunshine" beauty pageant.
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Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Screenplay Genre: Action / Adventure Movie Time: 115 minutes Synopsis: The year is 1936, and Indiana Jones, a professor of archeological studies and adventuring tomb raider, is commissioned by the United States Military to obtain The Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis do. Aided by ex-lover Marion and long...
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Despicable Me (2010)

Screenplay Genre: Animation / Comedy / Family Movie Time: 95 minutes Synopsis: After the world's newly anointed #1 supervillain, Vector (Jason Segal), steals the Great Pyramid of Giza, the world's #2 supervillain, Gru (Steve Carrell), resolves to pull off the biggest heist in world history: stealing the moon. In order...
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