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Current time:0:00Total duration:4:59

Video transcript

in the last two videos we talked about our theme and how to break your story into beats using the story spine the next step is to divide your story spine into larger sections which we call acts throughout history storytellers have experimented with everything from one act to a tax or more but the most common structure for film is the three act structure Act one consists of the first three steps of our story spine once upon a time this is where we meet our main character known as the protagonist and we find out when and where the story takes place for example in Finding Nemo we're introduced to Marlin a Nemo who live in the safety of the reef and we learn why Marlin worries about the dangers lurking in the open ocean the first act also tells the audience what type of movie they're about to see is it a science fiction a romantic comedy a historical drama or something else everyday this is where we learn more about how the world works for example in Finding Nemo we learn about the other creatures who inhabit the reef and what life is like there everyday until one day this is often called the inciting incident it's an event which leads to a key obstacle your protagonist faces and sets the rest of the story in motion in Finding Nemo Nemo ignores his father's instructions swims out to touch the boat and is captured by a scuba diver in order to save him Marlin is forced to face his biggest fear the open ocean the first act can also introduce something called the antagonist you probably know this as a character we sometimes call the villain but it can take many forms generally the antagonist is a force that gets in the way of your characters wants and needs Marlon's antagonist is something something that stands in his way the ocean and his fear of it getting this first act figured out is critical so let's ask our storytellers for some more information in act 1 we want to introduce our characters introduce the story and get a landscape of where the story is trying to go what's essential in the first act is that you meet the main character in her or his world and you understand their place in the world and you understand their problem in the world you you learn enough about this character that you like this character and you want to go on this journey with the filmmaker and the character it's very important to to hook your audience in act 1 for our movies I think wall-e has one of the strongest first acts the world is set up it's a tragedy I mean it's a trash planet and it's an abandoned dystopia and yet you have an idealist he have wall-e who believes as a robot that love is possible in a in a environment where he's meant to clean up the remnants of the opposite world view and it's beautiful that he doesn't he has almost no evidence other than a little green leaf that what he believes in feels is real and then Eve comes in and and confirms to him his idealistic tendencies that we can rise above our programming and that we can be more than were we're told and we can be more than what's around us sometimes the inciting incident will introduce a conflict that will launch the main character into a journey that will take place throughout the film in most cases I can think of the inciting incident comes toward the end of the first act you've spent the first act setting up who the characters are what's important what the status quo is in the world and the inciting incident that's going to pull the rug out from under that status quo is going to launch you into act 2 when wall-e the inciting incident is when Eve is taken off of earth into the axiom and wall-e follows her up to the axiom on the right he has a goal which is to get Eve back even though he's a robot he could not be further from me I completely empathize with him and I want for him connection and love and the things that he aspires to to me it's one it's an elegant beautiful heartbreaking first act and I think a successful first act gets you to invest in your character care about your character care about what they care about so when the thing they care about is threatened or the rug is pulled out from under them in some way you're rooting for them to launch into the second act and solve that problem ultimately the first act is the setup for the story it's where we learn everything we need to know about our main characters and the world and we find something out which gets us invested in the journey which follows in the next exercise you'll have a chance to identify the first act in your favorite films as well as start developing a first act for the story you want to create