Screenwriting can be divided into two basic parts: the actual writing and the dramaturgy.
The writing itself is for the artist to do; there are no rules, no magic recipes to apply, no golden ticket. The way one screenwriter might execute a particular piece of action or dialogue subtext can be vastly different from another screenwriter.
But what is the second part of screenwriting: the dramaturgy? It’s the theoretical, cerebral, rational, and scientific part. The screenwriter uses practical strategies and time-tested models to help develop and design a solid blueprint for the composition of the screenplay.
“In the first act, it’s who are the people and what is the situation of this whole story. The second act is the progression of that situation to a high point of conflict and great problems. And the third act is how the conflicts and problems are resolved." - Ernest Lehman
Lehman is quite succinct in his broad stroke framework of the whole structured screenplay. There is, of course, much more to the final structural design, and in this section, you’ll learn the necessary tools to flesh out your acts and sequences and pin point your major plot points: the inciting incident, the lock-in, the first culmination, the resolution, etc. Understanding these elements are a great help in outlining a solid story foundation to build a great screenplay upon.
Additional Information on Structure
- Hawke, Delpy & Linklater talk Before Midnight
- What Maisie Knew: Directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel
- PJ Boudousque: Coldwater, Little Rock Film Fest
- Writer/Director Vincent Grashaw: Little Rock Film Fest
- Top 10 Best Gangster Films
- Top 10 Family Friendly Not-So-Scary Movies
- Frances Ha: Writer / Director Noah Baumbach
Get Free Screenwriting Tips from TSL
Five Plot Point Breakdowns
Write for the The Script Lab
Want to write for The Script Lab reviewing of discussing TV, Film, Books or Software?. Send a writing sample and what you're interested in covering to email@example.com