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These pages have been designed to teach you all about film structure. You can
read about narrative structure and complete interactive arcs for the films 'what's
eating gilbert grape' and 'hairspray'; once you've got the hang of creating
arcs for these two films you can go on to make your own interactive arc for
A narrative arc is a broad sketch of the high and low points
of the dramatic developments, including key turning points
and moments of tension within the film.
example: suspense - the shoot out at the end of a thriller
turning point - hero faces a major set back
The classic structure of a Hollywood film follows Todorovian principles: equilibrium - disruption - identification of obstacle - pursuit of goal - struggle - resolution of narrative as a positive outcome, to equilibrium.
In script writing terms there is a formula you can learn. For example, one page of script equals one minute of screen time, and for purely economic reasons, most features run at 90 to 110 minutes. You can break down the basic structure of the vast majority of films into three acts. The acts are further reduced to scenes, each of which needs to be prefaced with information indicating time and place.
Scenes are set up with the minimum of description, placed on the page flush-left. Dialogue
sits centre-page. Words used to describe camera placement amount to code phrases
such as Angle On (favouring one actor) And Wider Angle. First comes the Set-Up
(pages 1 to 30), then the Confrontation (pages 31 to 90), then the Confrontation
(pages (31 to 90), and finally the Resolution (pages 91 to 120). Between pages
10 and 15, you need some ?inciting event? that upsets the opening sequence?s
order - an event that irrevocably sets the protagonist on his/her quest.
Source: Quality Improvement Agency
You can find this page and download any referenced resources from the Excellence Gateway at http://www.excellencegateway.org.uk/ferl.aclearn.resource.id4329.
© Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) 2012