The three-act structure is an ancient storytelling technique found in many stories and plays. It divides a story into thirds, or acts.

The three-act structure is a term that refers to the pattern of exposition, rising action, and climax in a story.

The three-act structure is a basic storytelling technique in which the plot of a story is divided into three parts, usually with an act break at the end of each part.



What Is Three Act Structure in Film?

In screenwriting, the three-act structure is a narrative framework that divides a story into three parts.

The first act sets up the protagonist’s problem and makes it clear they have to take action.

The second act shows how they fail at solving their problem as more obstacles arise.

But in the third act, our hero finally overcomes all odds and achieves their goal (or not).



What Is The Three Act Structure?

The three-act structure is a tried and true method for storytellers to create an engaging narrative.

These three acts can be broken down into smaller units called scenes. Scenes usually include dialogue that advances the plot by revealing character intentions or motivations for actions taken in previous scenes.

Understanding the three-act structure is an important part of understanding your own story.

This format provides a clear foundation for a story and helps keep all parts in balance, which leads to an engaging experience for readers or viewers.

The three-act structure is a narrative framework that can be applied to stories, jokes, and speeches.

History Of The 3 Act Structure

Actors have been performing on stage for centuries, but the first recorded instance of an actor is in Ancient Greece. Greek theater was always a big deal with audiences and actors alike.

Theaters were built to hold large crowds and performances could be watched from multiple seats around the performance area.

Actors wore masks that represented their character’s identities so they couldn’t be identified by the audience members.

Three Act Structure in Film


For centuries, storytellers have been using the three-act structure to create dramatic and captivating stories.

Have you ever noticed how many movies follow the same basic story structure? Whether it’s a romantic comedy, an action blockbuster, or even a documentary, they all seem to follow three distinct acts.

Even though this concept has been around since Aristotle came up with it over 2,000 years ago, Hollywood still continues to use it as its backbone today because it works so well!

Three-Act Structure Template

Do you find yourself struggling to write an outline? Do you know how many acts there are in a three-act structure, but have trouble putting it into words? This template will help.

It is the most popular story structure used by professional screenwriters and novelists alike. The protagonist normally changes during this act and there’s always some kind of big change or revelation that sets up the climax for Act 3.

Act One – The introduction of the protagonist, their background, and setting.

Act Two – A series of events that leads to a turning point or complication.

Act Three – An ending where there is some type of resolution for the protagonist’s story arc.

Here are some benefits of using this template:

1. Your story will have a natural arc and climax.

2. You’ll know where each scene should go.

3. You’ll be able to plan out what needs to happen in each act.

How To Use The Three Act Structure

There are many different types of structures, but the three-act structure is one of the most popular and useful for storytelling.

It can be found in movies such as “Jaws” or “The Matrix.” The first act sets up your story and introduces characters.

Act 2 follows what happens to these characters in response to an event that takes place at the end of Act 1.

Finally, Act 3 shows how all the events have changed them and compels a conclusion.

What Does A 3 Act Story Structure Consist Of?

A three-act story structure has a beginning, middle, and end.

It consists of an exposition where the protagonist is introduced and their world is shown to us, the rising action that leads to a climax (the turning point in the story), and then it concludes with falling action or resolution.

Think about your favorite book, movie, or TV show. Now think about how the story was structured. Was there a beginning? A middle? And an end? If so, it follows the three-act structure that most stories use: Act 1 is where we meet our protagonists and learn who they are; Act 2 is when everything goes wrong for them, and Act 3 is where we find out what happens to them in the end.

Act One: The story begins with a problem that is introduced.

Act Two: The protagonist encounters new complications and struggles to overcome them, leading up to the climax of Act Three.

Act Three: This is the final act where the protagonist overcomes their problems in order to reach their goal.

Act One: Setup

The first act of any story is the most important. It’s what hooks your audience and helps them understand who you are as a writer.

What is Act I in a screenplay?

It’s the opening of your story. You want to tell the audience about what they’re going to see, and why they should stick around for more.

Act I is the first act of a play. It sets up the characters and their world, introduces us to the protagonist’s problem, and finally, it leads to a turning point that creates an emotional response in the audience.

Act I is all about establishing relationships between people, places, things, and ideas – in other words –establishing context for what will come later.

Act Two: Confrontation

Act II is the second act of a three-act play. It can be divided into two parts: Act IIa and Act IIb.

The first part, called Act IIa, starts with the protagonist’s reaction to their dilemma in Act I.

This includes how they react to what has happened so far and how they try to resolve it. The second part, called Act IIb, shows them trying again before failing or giving up hope.

There are many different components that should be included in Act II of a script. These include sub-plot, scenes with supporting characters, and the climax.

The climax is usually the most important event in Act II, so it is often where time should be spent on developing a strong plot point or conflict.

Whether you’re writing a screenplay, novel, or short story, the second act is about rising action.

You’ve written your first act and now you’re ready to move on to Act II. It’s time to introduce your protagonist, but there are a few things that need to happen before they can take center stage.

Act Three: Resolution

The third act of screenwriting is a time for the protagonist to change.

In Act 3, the protagonist’s world starts to crumble around them and they are forced to make decisions that will either help or hurt their chances at achieving their goal.

The protagonist must shift from being reactive in order to become proactive.

We can see this in a number of films where the antagonist takes control of the situation and tries to defeat our hero by making life as difficult as possible for him/her.

For example, look at what happens with Professor X who has been committed against his will since Act 1 but finally finds out he could free himself if he just asked someone for help in Act 2. He doesn’t act until it’s too late and then has no choice but

The act three resolution in screenwriting is the climax of the story. It’s when the protagonist strives to make things right and win out against their antagonist, as well as overcome any obstacles that stand in their way.

This creates an endearing moment for readers or viewers, leaving them feeling happy about how everything turned out.

The best example of this would be from Disney Pixar’s Toy Story 3 where Woody (the protagonist) reunites with his friends Andy and prepares to head off into the unknown future while at peace knowing he has completed his mission.

What To Include In Act III

The third act of a screenplay is often the most difficult. It can be hard to create an exciting climax and resolution that will satisfactorily bring the story to a close.

A good way to start Act III is by setting up what the protagonist must do in order for their goal to be achieved. Make sure this action has been set up throughout the first two acts, so it doesn’t seem like you are suddenly introducing something new or out of nowhere.

In addition, make sure that your protagonist’s actions remain true to his character; he should not change from someone who was timid earlier into someone courageous now just because he needs more courage at this point in time.

As Act III of your novel unfolds, it’s time to tie up all the loose ends and wrap things up. This can be tricky if you didn’t plan ahead, but there are some steps that will help ensure a satisfying conclusion.

In Act III, you will need to document the following:

  • The protagonist’s plan and how it changes.
  • What is revealed about the antagonist(s).
  • What happens to other characters in relation to the protagonist.

Common Problems Screenwriters Face In The Second Act

There are many common problems that screenwriters face in the second act. One of these is a lack of momentum.

This problem can be solved by adding a new character to the story who wants something and has an obstacle, or someone who will help them achieve their goal if they do one thing for him/her first.

The second act of a screenplay can be the most difficult part for many aspiring screenwriters.

This is because there are so many things that need to happen in order to set up the third act, including setting up new characters, introducing more conflict, and complicating existing plots. It can seem like an impossible task if you don’t know how to approach it right.

The second act of a screenplay is often the most difficult to write. There are many common problems screenwriters face in the second act, and it’s important to know what they are so that you can avoid them.