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Eejit's shark theory of a film

 Eejit's shark model of a film
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A film has to have a beginning, middle and the end. This basic structure can be identified by many conceptual tools. It is very common to divide a film into three acts. This division comes from the theater and in its foundation one can see the structure of three-act or five-act play (cf. Freytag's formula).

The structure is a tool of expression, not a value in itself. For the makers mastering the structure is part of being professional. The viewer senses a functional structure as satisfaction. Robert McKee observes, justifiably, that the story is about principles, not rules. "A well-made film" is made respecting the principles of cinematography (and not the rules!), form and content are an entity. The inexperienced follow imaginary or learned rules. The rebels and the ignorant break these very rules. The artists master the form. They have "cinema sense".

The structure can also be outlined as follows:

The outline of drama structure by German researcher Gustav Freytag dates back to 1863, but it also applies to film:

  • exposition or presentation
  • conflict or the appearance of conflict
  • complication or development
  • crisis or climax
  • final resolution

According to the Swedish film dramaturgist Ola Olsson, the drama structure of a fiction film has six parts:

  • start-up sequence
  • presentation
  • amplifying
  • culmination of conflicts (acceleration, heating up, clashing)
  • resolution (solution)
  • fade out (vanishing)

Both Olsson's and Freytag's models are meant for analyzing films (drama). Just as well, films could be divided into three or nine acts. The essential thing is to realize that understanding the structure (form) helps in telling the story in a dramatically pleasant way.


David Siegel: The Nine-Act Structure Home Page. [www.dsiegel.com/film/Film_home.html]

Phillip Noyce: Dead Calm [us.imdb.com/Title?0097162]


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