Three act structure and screenplay writing

By Rahul Nair
In Screenplay
Jun 16th, 2013

If you are planning to write a script for your film three act structure is the basics to start with. It consists of Act I; II & III all these elements helps a screenplay writer to move the story forward. Let’s dig deeper into these phenomena’s of screenplay writing process.

Act I

Act I is the beginning of a story where we introduces the characters and their problems. It is the stage where you setup the entry of your protagonist. Then the protagonist faces problems in his life. The problems that he faces are the Inciting elements or a catalyst.

Act II

Act II is the rising action when the protagonist faces problems. In this stage he tries to find out solution to his problems and on his way he faces obstacles. This is where the conflict of interest arises and the introduction of the Antagonist. As a result the Protagonist tries to evolve himself out of it and finds new paths to solve the problems.


In Act III is a culmination of events where the conflict or problems are finally resolved.


A sequence of inter related sequence of events arranged in a logical pattern, to get the desired effect from the viewers.

Plot Structure

It has the following stages.

three act structure

1. Exposition

Beginning of the film, this is to do with setting of the movie/mood of the movie or introduction o characters or all the three factors combined together.

2. Plot Point – Conflict

A development that changes the life of the protagonist.

Conflict: The plot point can start with the central characters. The conflict arises  between the characters due to the opposition of needs, values and interest.

3. Pinch

A reminder scene that brings up the central point of the story.

4. Mid Point

A revelation hat changes the track of the story. In a regular Indian commercial film, this is an interval point and Indian films are generally divided for valuation by the viewer as first half and second half.So that is why Indian films generally have a plot point.2 and pinch.2.

5. Rising Action

The developments from exposition up to climax.

6. Climax

The culmination of events.

7. Falling Action

The effect of the climax.

8. Resolution

The end of the film.

This is the basic structure of making a script or screenplay for the screen.

How to Start Writing?

Follow these steps and note down your points.

  • 1. The Protagonist (Who is he?)
  • 2. Protagonist’s Goals Internal & External (What does he want?)
  • 3. Conflict of interest (What will he do?)
  • 4. The theme or the story (How will he resolve his conflict?)
  • 5. Conflict with the Antagonist (Where is the final battle set?)
  • 6. Faces his problem and ending (How will he end it?)

These are some simple point which could help you out in writing your story. Star developing your script with these six points.

After the story is created, you can divide the action into any number of parts that you like. The three act structure is to evaluate a story or script with proper elements in it and writers should not be bothered about the act structure to lay out or create the story.

Please note that the three act structure is not applicable in non-fiction & documentary film making.


Rahul Nair loves everything about Cinema, Photography, Cinematography and likes Journalism.