Unlike screenplay formatting, there is no official standard. Generally, an outline provides a breakdown of how a story will play out. Outlines can take different forms based on many different factors including purpose, level of detail, method of creation, and writer preference. Some are incredibly detailed, listing every beat. Others give only very broad strokes. […]
What is Save the Cat?
[Save the Cat!](http://www.amazon.com/dp/1932907009/?tag=johnaugustcom-20) is a popular screenwriting book (and [book series](http://www.amazon.com/dp/1932907351/?tag=johnaugustcom-20)) by Blake Snyder, which breaks down screenplays into 15 beats (and further into 40) that all screenplays should contain. The title comes from the idea that a film’s hero should do something nice the first time we meet him — ie save a cat […]
Who is Syd Field?
Syd Field was a screenwriting guru, most famous for his articulation of the typical three-act structure. He is the author of [Screenplay (1979)](http://www.amazon.com/dp/0385339038/?tag=johnaugustcom-20), among other books on screenwriting. In Field’s structure, the first act, which takes approximately one quarter of the film’s runtime, sets up the conflict. A plot point thrusts the main character into […]
How many acts are in a Broadway musical?
Typically, Broadway musicals have two acts. These acts are more distinct and defined than film acts, since musicals often have an act break between the two. ### More from johnaugust.com * [Big Fish, the musical](http://johnaugust.com/2011/big-fish-the-musical “Big Fish, the musical”) * [Two things I liked about Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark](http://johnaugust.com/2011/watch-out-websinger “Two things I liked about […]
How many acts does a TV show have?
As of 2011, the typical hour-long drama has an open, plus six acts. This is up from just a few years ago, where the norm was four acts. Half-hour multicamera comedies typically have an open, two acts, and a tag, while single-camera half-hour comedies can have either two or three acts sandwiched between the open […]
How many acts does a movie have?
A typical movie is said to have three acts, but this is not a steadfast rule. Film acts are not defined as strictly as play or TV show acts, which are set off with act breaks. The [johnaugust.com glossary](http://johnaugust.com/glossary) explains that “Since screenplays never show act breaks, an ‘act’ is really a theoretical concept. Screenwriters […]