Do I Need to Know the Act Breaks in a Movie?

The Princess Bride

“I’m from Poland. Sorry, for my English. I read your article about Arrival after seeing the movie. I was wondering about three-act structure of this movie. Could you tell me in which minute – in your opinion – are the act breaks for act I, II and III? I’m have a trouble to do this. For me:

I act ends at 41 min – after Louise return from the spaceship – “kangaroo” scene

II act = 92 min – after they get in contact with aliens

III act is about stopping China from attack on aliens

What do you think?

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Story Structure and “Arrival”

The Story Structure of "Arrival" (2016)

William Goldman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting, Princess Bride) wrote in his classic book Adventures in the Screen Trade that “screenplays are structure.” Because Goldman is a writing god, people listened.

They listened, but they may not have heard well. Goldman was saying that structure was necessary to a screenplay, but he wasn’t saying it was sufficient.  Yet many took Goldman’s point, misunderstood, and ran with it, pitching structure-first as the key to writing film.  Luckily, it mostly worked anyway, because most film beginners– and many professionals– fail to focus on a hero and a … Read the rest

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