Okay, do any other TV writers feel that all the acts are getting ridiculous? Or, am I the only one?
Grey’s is doing 6 acts, Vampire diaries, How I Met Your Mother is doing 4, and a teaser and a cap?
WTF? Seriously, that show is 28 minutes long, with commercials?
What ever happened to old fashion 3 acts. Beginning, middle and end? I mean, is it that hard?
Does something exciting or plot twisting have to happen before every commercial break?
When I was new to TV writing about 3 years ago, I wrote a spec episode of a popular ABC show, and had no idea about the 4 Act structure and so I wrote 3 acts, a solid 3 acts, and they liked it, it lead to some work and tons of connections. They did say to me, “you need to learn TV structure” and pointed me in the right direction and after feeling like an idiot, because it never even crossed my mind that there would be more than 3, I understand 4 acts. In screenwriting, there are 3, but really there are 4. (Thankfully, my storylines, characters, plots and arcs all worked within the rules of that show.)
Let’s break it down. In screenwriting, you have act one, which is usually 19-25 pages long, then you have act two, which is usually 45-60 pages long and then you have the final act, act 3, somewhere between what? 15-20 ish? So one could say that act two is really two acts, hence a 4 act structure.
What is with 6 acts? Why? Can someone explain it to me? I don’t like it, I don’t get it. It seems silly to me. Will I do it? Sure, but to me it just seems like it is still a 3 act structure just broken up more for commercials.
In sitcoms, 4 acts? Really? In a show that is so short. There seems to be no fast rule on that as well. I took a class with one of the masters in television today and he said that for me the sitcom should be, a teaser and and end cap with two acts in between. That made sense, but I have seen even episodes of his show going into 4 acts with the teaser and the end cap. It is so confusing.
How many acts???
I have decided that I am going to write a new show with 9 acts just to be silly. I am not kidding. Stephanie’s 9 act structure changed sitcoms forever. Look the commercials will get all there air time and my sitcom will run the full hour. Every 4 minutes there will be a 2 minute commercial break. It will revolutionize television and the way we watch. For dramas, I am going to do a 12 act show…
Seriously you all just wait.
Jonathan Ball said:
“it just seems like it is still a 3 act structure just broken up more for commercials.”
That’s right. You’ve hit the nail on the head. This is exactly what the six-act structure is. Unfortunately, since each “act” has to end with a bang, this structure is unwieldy and doesn’t normally allow for certain types of character and plot development.