#6 My First Screenplay: Basics: Structure

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Before I begin this section, I’m writing about the subject from a personal point view, and only hope to give you a step-up, to follow through  on other publications, seminars etc., I wish I had done my homework before I started this project, it would have saved a lot of time, but if this encourages you to start writing, I will be very happy indeed.

The 100-page screenplay, follow’s  the general rule of one page equals approximately one minute of screen time, and you have a film that runs a little less than two hours. There is three acts, the first and third acts, each 25 pages, and the second act, 50 pages.

Act I- – – the beginning .      Act II- – -the middle.        Act III- – – the end.

We must have a protagonist, who will be the main character in the story, who  also has the primary dramatic need, this drives the action in the film. All of your characters have a need, but the need of the protagonist is the one that gives the film its shape. Everything that occurs in the film is somehow related to the pursuit of that need.

Okay so you have the good guy, sorry, I mean protagonist, then we must have our antagonist. He/She, is trying to stop the protagonist, and keep him from attaining his need, or goal.  And then there are lesser antagonists, sometimes called deflectors who deliberately or unintentionally try to deflect the protagonist away from his goal.

The struggle against these antagonists is called conflict, which is the bread and butter of drama.  My protagonist is a military conscript and the antagonist is his commanding officer.

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