This is a template I made for writing a screenplay using the method Syd Field teaches in his book "Screenplay." In "Screenplay," Field describes the three act structure that most stories follow and the approximate points in a film which certain key events occur. Not all films follow this formula and it is, by no means, set in stone. It is, however, a useful tool for outlining and setting up your story to see what areas, if any, need further development. "Screenplay" is one of the definitive books on Screenwriting ever written. If you are a beginning Screenwriter, I recommend you buy a copy of Syd Field's "Screenplay" and a copy of "The Screenwriter's Bible" by David Trottier. They're the only two books you'll ever need. ACT I - SETUP Act I comprises the first quarter of the screenplay. (For a two hour movie, Act I would last approximately 30 minutes.)

PROLOGUE Prologue (If necessary) - Opening text crawl. Historical background. Voice over. Etc.

FIRST TEN PAGES Grab the viewer and draw them into the action! Open with a bang and make the audience want to keep watching.

SETUP Set up the main character, the dramatic premise, and the dramatic situation in your film. - Main Character - The hero or heroine. This is the person in the story who has a need or an objective to fulfill, whose actions and development drive the story forward. - Dramatic Premise - What the story is about. - Dramatic Situation - The circumstances surrounding the action.

INCITING INCIDENT Inciting Incident - An event that sets the plot of the film in motion. It occurs approximately halfway through the first act (15 - 20 minute mark).

PLOT POINT 1 Plot Point #1 - Leads the story into Act II. It's usually the moment when the hero takes on the problem.

ACT II - CONFRONTATION Act II comprises the next two quarters of the film. (For a two hour movie, Act II would last approximately 60 minutes. Confrontation happens in Act II.


Obstacles - In the second act, the main character encounters obstacle after obstacle that prevent him from achieving his or her dramatic need.

FIRST CULMINATION First Culmination - A point just before the halfway point of the film where the main character seems close to achieving his or her goal/objective. Then, everything falls apart, leading to the midpoint.

MIDPOINT Midpoint - A point approximately halfway through the film where the main character reaches his/her lowest point and seems farthest from fulfilling the dramatic need or objective.

PLOT POINT 2 Plot Point 2 thrusts the plot in a new direction, leading into the third act of the screenplay.

ACT III - RESOLUTION Act III comprises the final quarter of the film. (For a two hour movie, Act III would be the final 30 minutes.) Resolution happens in Act III.

CLIMAX (SECOND CULMINATION) The Climax (Second Culmination) is the point at which the plot reaches its maximum tension and the forces in

opposition confront each other at a peak of physical or emotional action.

DENOUEMENT Denouement - The brief period of calm at the end of a film where a state of equilibrium returns.

END CREDITS Roll 'em! Hand out t-shirts! Profit!

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