Act One: The Set-Up in 10 Steps

Act One: The Set-Up in 10 Steps


Usually the story really begins at the moment when the first character faces the difficulty that he or she has to solve, and it better be a clear difficulty, and he better realize that he must do something. Dramatic form means action, and action brings tension. So the awareness of the tension, and the clarification of what the nature of your tension is, helps to build the whole script. 

ACT ONE: ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS

TONE: Very quickly you want to establish the tone of the script: is it a serious film, a comedy, a fantasy, a spoof? Let people know right away that it is okay to laugh, to cry, to dream, etc. 

THEME: You will also want to establish the theme of the film - what message are you trying to convey: “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover”, “The underdog triumphs”, “Good versus evil”.

WORLD OF THE STORY: As the story begins, you will introduce the world of the story - where does it take place? What is different and interesting to this world? What are the rules of this place?

CHARACTER INTRODUCTIONS: At the same time, you will introduce the principle characters to the audience. Be specific and original. Let us know their age, how they dress, walk, talk. Give them a scene in which they stand out from the others. Let the audience know these people are special. 

PROTAGONIST WEAKNESS: The main character’s weakness(s) must be clear so that the later obstacles can attack that weakness in the second act.

Read the full article on TheScriptLab.com

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