Noel Coward was both a great playwright and a great screenwriter. He said, “The structure of a play is as important as the structure of a house. Everything else is just decoration.”
However many people get stuck with structure. They either get fixated on plot points and arcs in a mechanical way and fail to bring the script to life, or they do the opposite and believe that the only way to breathe life into their script is to have no structure at all. Sadly, neither works. Believe me, I’ve tried both.
So, here’s today’s life-saving tip: Good Structure is Good Storytelling.
Don’t get hung up on the Acts and Pinch Points, and don’t ignore them either. The structure of your script is how you tell your story in the most enthralling way – how you make your audience laugh, cry, scream, whatever, in all the right places.
We’ve all sat through stories that rambled so much we gave up the will to live. And stories that held us captivated from soup to nuts. Which do you want for your script? You see, it’s not about the script being at the service of the Three Act template or whatever structure you choose for your story. It’s the tools and techniques of good structure that hold your audience.
Yes, this takes skill and technique. And, yes, it can be learned. It’s like a muscle you exercise, or a language you can become fluent in.
Read scripts, read books and best of all find teachers who have been there, used the techniques and can tell you how it works from personal practical experience. They will save you hundreds (maybe thousands) of wasted pounds sterling and years of toil and give you the short cuts and tools they took years to develop.
If you want to learn more, I’ve got a workshop on structure coming up on April 10 – and there’s a few places still left. We talk about and practise using structure in practical and meaningful ways. I’d love to see you there – find out more at http://www.euroscript.co.uk/structure.html