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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.
If you’ve ever seen an episode of Bill Moyers’ show Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth from 1988, where…