Monday, April 15, 2013

Story Structure - The 40 Dramatic Units

First see the Story Development Steps

Overview:
*Each step represents an equal portion of time and each can be longer or shorter depending on the overall length of the script. (Example for a 120 page script each beat is 3 pages, for a 20 page story each beat is a half a page)
*Each Dramatic Unit is a MAJOR scene (not including connection scenes) or a Major beat for shorter stories
Tension Graph:





40 Main Dramatic Units Template guide:
- Steps separated by commas are individual steps within a major beat they may have their own scene(s) or they may be in the same scene.
- Info in parentheses simply further explains the step.
- Some Major beats are a continuation of the previous.

_________The 40 Dramatic Units Template:_________

SEQ 1 PAGE #__________________________________________
1. Act 1: [Setup] Hook, Opening Image, Theme Stated
Hook:
Opening Image:
Theme stated:
-

__________________________________________
2. [Setup] home, At Work, At Play 
(Exposition: Rules of the World, Ordinary World, Thesis)

__________________________________________
3. Cont - [Setup] At home, At Work, At Play 
(Exposition: Rules of the World, Ordinary World, Thesis)

__________________________________________
4. Catalyst 
(Inciting Incident, irreversible Interest)


__________________________________________
5. Debate 
(Home and Work, Dilemma, Refusing the Call)

SEQ 2 PAGE #__________________________________________
6. Cont - Debate 
(Home and Work, Dilemma, Refusing the Call)

__________________________________________
7. Major Turning point 1 
(Debate Cont, Dramatic Question, introduce antagonist/ set up potential fight)

__________________________________________
8. Debate Cont 
(Meeting with the Mentor/Getting Help to go on the journey)

__________________________________________
9. Break Into Act 2 
(Crossing the Threshold)

__________________________________________
10. Cont - Break Into Act 2 
(Crossing the Threshold)

__________________________________________
SEQ 3 PAGE # __________________________________________
11. Act 2A: Enter B Story 
(exploring the theme, anti-thesis)

__________________________________________
12. Fun and Games 
(Tests, Allies and Enemies, Resolution Attempts, Approach, A story and B story alternate and mix)

__________________________________________
13. Cont - Fun and Games 
(Tests, Allies and Enemies, Resolution Attempts, Approach, A story and B story alternate and mix)

__________________________________________
14. Cont - Fun and Games 
(Tests, Allies and Enemies, Resolution Attempts, Approach, A story and B story alternate and mix)

__________________________________________
15. Cont - Fun and Games 
(Tests, Allies and Enemies, Resolution Attempts, Approach, A story and B story alternate and mix)

SEQ 4 PAGE # __________________________________________
16. Set Up Potential Fight 
(Fun and Games cont) (antagonist [or Representative of antagonist] and protagonist “cross swords” (first fight), Stakes Raised, tension increased)

__________________________________________
17. Progress 
(Fun and Games cont) (Conflict Increases, The Ordeal, A story and B story alternate and mix)

__________________________________________
18. Cont - Progress 
(Fun and Games cont) (Conflict Increases, The Ordeal, A story and B story alternate and mix)

__________________________________________
19. Cont - Progress 
(Fun and Games cont) (Conflict Increases, The Ordeal, A story and B story alternate and mix)

__________________________________________
20. Midpoint 
(False Victory, the reward)


__________________________________________
SEQ 5 PAGE # __________________________________________
21. Act 2B: Reversal of Fortune
(decent into the abyss) 

__________________________________________
22. Bad Guys Close in 
(the Road back, alternate External and Internal "Battle" Scenes)

__________________________________________
23. Cont - Bad Guys Close in 
(the Road back, alternate External and Internal "Battle" Scenes)

__________________________________________
24. Major Turning Point 2 
(cont Bad Guys Close in, bad guys false "win")

__________________________________________
25. Cont Bad Guys Close in

SEQ 6 PAGE #__________________________________________
26. Crisis 
(Dilemma Comes to a Head, Character has to choose sides) (cont Bad Guys Close in)

__________________________________________
27. All is Lost 
(False Defeat)

__________________________________________
28. Dark Night of the Soul

__________________________________________
29. Cont - Dark Night of the Soul

__________________________________________
30. Revelation, Decision, The resurrection
Revelation:

Decision:

Resurrection:

__________________________________________
SEQ 7 PAGE # __________________________________________
31. Act 3: Break into Three 
(Action, Synthesis)

__________________________________________
32. Five point Finale: Step 1. gathering the Team, Declaration of War (Facing the Exam)
gathering the team:

declaration of war:
__________________________________________
33. Finale step 2. Executing the plan 
(Storming the Castle)

__________________________________________
34. Cont - Finale step 2. Executing the plan 
(Storming the Castle)

__________________________________________
35. Finale step 3. High tower surprise, Trap, Stopped
Surprise:

Trapped:

Stuck: 

SEQ 8 PAGE # __________________________________________
36. Finale step 4. "Dig Deep Down"

__________________________________________
37. Finale step 4 cont - Calling Upon the Supernatural
-

__________________________________________
38. Finale Step 5. The Execution of the New Plan 
(Touch off the fight to the Finish), 
Leap of Faith, Climax (Fight to the Finish), Dramatic Answer
The Execution of the New Plan:

Leap of Faith:

Climax:

Dramatic Answer:
-

__________________________________________
39. Resolution, Return with the Elixir
Resolution:

Return:

__________________________________________
40. Final Image, Epilogue
Final image:

Epilogue (if applicable):

__________________________________________
Citation: 
Rozlynn Waltz complied this with inspirations from:
“Save the Cat - Blake Snyder
“Writing a Great Movie” - Jeff Kitchen
“Hero’s Journey” - Joseph Cambel


6 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for all the time you put into this invaluable tool. J. Nelson Eldridge

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  2. I write screenplays under the name Jimmy Hager. You can find me on IMBD under Four Blood Moons and The Ultimate Legacy. Great work you're doing.

    ReplyDelete
  3. J. Nelson Eldridge is the name I use for my published fiction. I write and act under the name Jimmy Hager. You can find me on IMBD. Keep up the good work. We need more people like you - Jimmy

    ReplyDelete
  4. J. Nelson Eldridge is the name I use for my published fiction. I write and act under the name Jimmy Hager. You can find me on IMBD. Keep up the good work. We need more people like you - Jimmy

    ReplyDelete
  5. I mostly have all this up for my own use and am actually surprised you found it because I have't been good at promoting it. But I'm glad that a professional has found my site useful. Thank you =)

    ReplyDelete