The 3-Act Structure rules Hollywood even though some think the 3-Act structure actually kills scripts. And as the cartoon demonstrates below in amusing and sarcastic fashion, the 3-Act structure is made up of elements that engage and entertain us while also being repetitive and derivative. So here's a challenge to all filmmakers, from indie newbies to hollywood bigshots, do you dare tell stories outside of the 3-Act structure?
Ok, you say, I'm down but what else is there outside of the 3-Act structure?
Well, my friend, that's where your creativity as a writer, director, producer and editor comes in. Plus the cojones to dare and even fail or get audience heads scratching. But if you want some suggestions for ideas well here are a few places to look:
- One way to start is by considering other options for narrative structures beyond just "linear narrative."
- Another suggestion for inspiration is to look to the East for non-Western dramatic structures such as Jo-ha-kyū and Kishōtenketsu.
- And finally be inspired by ideas and concepts we already have in the West such as what you find in experimental cinema, an African-American cyclical structure style as described in this academic paper, Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics and French actor/writer/dramatist Antonin Artaud's books.