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Act Breaks?

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This is a little exercise I've been wanting to start here: Think of movies you love, or movies you've seen recently and see if you can identify the act breaks!  Maybe this isn't your idea of fun, but it is mine! (though I actually suck at it).  For even more fun, see if you can identify how trilogies can form macro Acts.

I started the question for the OT over here: http://originaltrilogy.com/forum/topic.cfm/Original-Trilogy-Times-Chart/post/412779/#TopicPost412779

 

IT'S MY TRILOGY, AND I WANT IT NOW!

"[George Lucas] rebooted the franchise in 1997 without telling anyone." -skyjedi2005

"Yeah, well, George says a lot of things..." a young 1997 xhonzi on RASSM

"They're my movies." -George Lucas. 19 people won oscars for their work on Star Wars (1977) and George Lucas wasn't one of them.

Rewrite the Prequels!

 

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The most obvious one is after Luke observes the binary sunset, finds Artoo has run away and goes to bed.  The film fades to black.

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I dont look for exactly where they break (that's usually debatable) but for discussion sake it's usually not hard to identify certain actions as in the first act (set up) second act (rising action) and third act (climax and resoltion).

In college I took my share of film classes, and there was this one dude, my age (early 20s in the late 90s) who always referred to "reels." He was not a projectionist or anything, but he insisted on referreing to parts of movies (that we always saw on DVD or Laserdisc) as taking part in this "reel" or that "reel.'

I hated that guy.

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 (Edited)

TheBoost said:

I dont look for exactly where they break (that's usually debatable) but for discussion sake it's usually not hard to identify certain actions as in the first act (set up) second act (rising action) and third act (climax and resoltion).

No wonder you guys took film class.  That's hot!

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TheBoost said:


In college I took my share of film classes, and there was this one dude, my age (early 20s in the late 90s) who always referred to "reels." He was not a projectionist or anything, but he insisted on referreing to parts of movies (that we always saw on DVD or Laserdisc) as taking part in this "reel" or that "reel.'

I hated that guy.

I hate that too, but to be fair, they weren't really "film" classes, now were they? ;-)

“005 is super hep” - dahmage

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Now that I've asked the question, I'm trying to think of Act breaks for ANH.

Act 1 ends when Luke goes to bed the night he gets the droids?  This is before Obi-Wan and Han have been introduced... so I'm tempted to say it can't be then.  By that logic, it seems that the break has to be after they leave Tatooine?  All of the Characters are introduced and it seems that it's a short trip to Alderaan to end Luke's story.  Obviously that won't help Princess Leia much...

Act 2 would then contain the destruction of Alderaan, the capture of the Millennium Falcon and all aboard, the rescue of Leia and the near death of almost all in the trash compactor, and ends, more or less with the death of Ben.

Not sure if the TIE attack is the end of 2 or the start of 3.

Act 3 is pretty short.  But it involves the threat of the Death Star taking out the whole Rebellion and the battle at the end leading to the ultimate conclusion.

Does that sound about right? 

One of the amazing things about the first movie to me, which I elaborated on here a bit, http://originaltrilogy.com/forum/topic.cfm/A-New-Hope-Trading-on-Promises-or-Trailer-for-the-SW-Universe/topic/11379/ , is that ANH introduces the SW galaxy and conflict at large, but the narrative of the movie somehow convincingly focuses on the threat of the Death Star... so that when the movie ends and the only real resolution it offers is that the DS threat has been conquered...  It's really an excellent example, and perhaps the definition, of a movie having the 3 Act structure internally while also serving as a macro Act 1 in a trilogy.  It's really quite well done.

IT'S MY TRILOGY, AND I WANT IT NOW!

"[George Lucas] rebooted the franchise in 1997 without telling anyone." -skyjedi2005

"Yeah, well, George says a lot of things..." a young 1997 xhonzi on RASSM

"They're my movies." -George Lucas. 19 people won oscars for their work on Star Wars (1977) and George Lucas wasn't one of them.

Rewrite the Prequels!

 

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What, no takers?  I know most of you don't agree with me... you're just ignoring me.

IT'S MY TRILOGY, AND I WANT IT NOW!

"[George Lucas] rebooted the franchise in 1997 without telling anyone." -skyjedi2005

"Yeah, well, George says a lot of things..." a young 1997 xhonzi on RASSM

"They're my movies." -George Lucas. 19 people won oscars for their work on Star Wars (1977) and George Lucas wasn't one of them.

Rewrite the Prequels!

 

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xhonzi said:

 

Not sure if the TIE attack is the end of 2 or the start of 3.

 

I think it is best in act 2.

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 (Edited)

Yeah, I think it's the finale of act 2.

And I'd argue that act 2 begins after Luke finds Owen and Beru's charred remains or right after he says, "I want to learn the ways of the force and become a Jedi like my father."  That's really the point where it becomes less character introduction and more "accepted the call, let the plot move forward."

There is no lingerie in space...

C3PX said: Gaffer is like that hot girl in high school that you think you have a chance with even though she is way out of your league because she is sweet and not a stuck up bitch who pretends you don't exist... then one day you spot her making out with some skinny twerp, only on second glance you realize it is the goth girl who always sits in the back of class; at that moment it dawns on you why she is never seen hanging off the arm of any of the jocks... and you realize, damn, she really is unobtainable after all. Not that that is going to stop you from dreaming... Only in this case, Gaffer is actually a guy.

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Gaffer Tape said:

And I'd argue that act 2 begins after Luke finds Owen and Beru's charred remains...

HEY!!! How 'bout a spoiler alert?

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The most 'rote' of all movie formulas, I think we can all agree, is the Romantic Comedy.  I read an article somewhere that defended this, saying that women liked the comfort of knowing the formula and didn't really want any surprises or unexpected twists and turns.

At any rate, the Acts usually break down like this:

Act 1: The two romatic characters meet, often under some sort of a false pretense.  The threat of the false pretense, or other force working against the couple, is also introduced, but is not a serious threat in this act.

Act 2: The couple come together, at least momentarily, and every thing is going well.  The underlying threat of the false pretense being revealed culmiantes until the end of the second act, when the couple splits.

Act 3: As soon as they are broken up, you know the third act has started.  Whatever the damage was that ended the 2nd act, must now be quickly resolved- possibly through a montage of some kind.

Epilogue/Act 4 - The Wedding or equivalent.  Often in slow motion, or with just light piano music in place of dialogue.  Roll credits.

IT'S MY TRILOGY, AND I WANT IT NOW!

"[George Lucas] rebooted the franchise in 1997 without telling anyone." -skyjedi2005

"Yeah, well, George says a lot of things..." a young 1997 xhonzi on RASSM

"They're my movies." -George Lucas. 19 people won oscars for their work on Star Wars (1977) and George Lucas wasn't one of them.

Rewrite the Prequels!

 

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TV's Frink said:

Gaffer Tape said:

And I'd argue that act 2 begins after Luke finds Owen and Beru's charred remains...

HEY!!! How 'bout a spoiler alert?

Maybe an alert spoiler?

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xhonzi said:

  I read an article somewhere that defended this, saying that women liked the comfort of knowing the formula and didn't really want any surprises or unexpected twists and turns.

This is my experience as well.  The gal I was with last weekend really got unnerved when the movie we were watching seemed to be veering off of the formula (t was almost as if Fink was the director), but things got back to normal after a while.

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Sluggo said:

TV's Frink said:

Gaffer Tape said:

And I'd argue that act 2 begins after Luke finds Owen and Beru's charred remains...

HEY!!! How 'bout a spoiler alert?

Maybe an alert spoiler?

How about a NSFW warning?

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Really?  You get in trouble at work if someone sees you looking at a picture of a big spoiler?

There is no lingerie in space...

C3PX said: Gaffer is like that hot girl in high school that you think you have a chance with even though she is way out of your league because she is sweet and not a stuck up bitch who pretends you don't exist... then one day you spot her making out with some skinny twerp, only on second glance you realize it is the goth girl who always sits in the back of class; at that moment it dawns on you why she is never seen hanging off the arm of any of the jocks... and you realize, damn, she really is unobtainable after all. Not that that is going to stop you from dreaming... Only in this case, Gaffer is actually a guy.

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xhonzi said:

The most 'rote' of all movie formulas, I think we can all agree, is the Romantic Comedy.  I read an article somewhere that defended this, saying that women liked the comfort of knowing the formula and didn't really want any surprises or unexpected twists and turns.
My wife actually complained that I spoiled some RomCom we were watching by calling out what was going to happen. She assumed it was because I'd read about it online, but it was only because it was so cliched. I think it may have actually been "27 Dresses", coincidentally enough.

A friend of mine wrote a script years ago about what would be equivalent to your Act 5: the girl dumps the guy for good, he moves back in with his parents, tries to get the girl back, fails. It wasn't a comedy really, kind of dark, but I loved it when I read it.

“005 is super hep” - dahmage

Star Wars Revisited Wordpress / Facebook / Twitter

005’s List of List & Comparisons

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Did you see (500) Days of Summer?

IT'S MY TRILOGY, AND I WANT IT NOW!

"[George Lucas] rebooted the franchise in 1997 without telling anyone." -skyjedi2005

"Yeah, well, George says a lot of things..." a young 1997 xhonzi on RASSM

"They're my movies." -George Lucas. 19 people won oscars for their work on Star Wars (1977) and George Lucas wasn't one of them.

Rewrite the Prequels!

 

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1. You should see (500) Days of Summer.

2. I listened to the Creative Screenwriting Podcast (heavily recommended) where they interviewed the screenwriter.  I guess the movie is heavily based on his having that kind of relationship.  Twice.

3.  He might have written his script as far back as then.  Can't remember.

IT'S MY TRILOGY, AND I WANT IT NOW!

"[George Lucas] rebooted the franchise in 1997 without telling anyone." -skyjedi2005

"Yeah, well, George says a lot of things..." a young 1997 xhonzi on RASSM

"They're my movies." -George Lucas. 19 people won oscars for their work on Star Wars (1977) and George Lucas wasn't one of them.

Rewrite the Prequels!

 

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http://www.writerswrite.com/screenwriting/lecture4.htm

This is a pretty decent write up on 3 act structure.  Someone on these boards might have sent that to me, but I was just re-reading it.

IT'S MY TRILOGY, AND I WANT IT NOW!

"[George Lucas] rebooted the franchise in 1997 without telling anyone." -skyjedi2005

"Yeah, well, George says a lot of things..." a young 1997 xhonzi on RASSM

"They're my movies." -George Lucas. 19 people won oscars for their work on Star Wars (1977) and George Lucas wasn't one of them.

Rewrite the Prequels!

 

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doubleofive said:

I'm fairly certain my friend did not write (500) Days of Summer.

Fairly.

http://www.thursdayschild.org/images/newt.jpg