Three-act plots: are they really necessary? : LUSENET : The Art of Film : One Thread

We are constantly being told that the way to write a good film is to include three acts: a setup, conflict, & resolution. But going back and looking at some of my favorite films, I don't see a lot of conventional, three-act structures. I see more archplot and multiplot than: setup, conflict, resolution, and these films are all the better for it. Is it just that unconventional films require more thought put into them, or is the "three-act" structure as antiquated as it sounds? Your thoughts?

-- Inukko (, February 13, 2001


When I attempt writing films, I always work from more self-expressive perspective, and I think more about getting my point out there in a way that just "feels right" than confining it to a rigid structure (unless it's called for). Accordingly, I tend not to think about structure while viewing a film, unless the film's framework becomes so obvious as to require it (such as in "Tide" or "War", from Aeon Flux).

-- Matthew Rebholz (, March 20, 2001.

Sounds good to me... I've become interested in non-linear storytelling lately, through watching films like "Ciao, Manhattan" and "Galaxies Are Colliding". I think that with a strong overarching theme, you can pretty much get away with anything; whether you want to, well, that's a personal judgment.

-- Inukko (, April 03, 2001.

Matthew, when will we be able to see some of your work?

-- Inukko (, April 03, 2001.

Hmmm... that I don't know. These films I've been writing have been a sort of "slow-drip" project for years now, if that makes sense, and I'm still writing and refining them. Visually, I have a few paintings and books full of developing character designs. Hopefully, I'll soon have some stuff up on a website. Once I do, I'll post the info here.

-- Mat Rebholz (, April 04, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ