A step this way: Structure

Continuing from the last post, now that I’ve got a few potential loglines, I can begin developing one logline further by injecting it into a basic 3-Act structure to flesh out the story.

The 3-Act structure method I’m using I first read about from Charles Deemer over at http://www.filmunderground.com.  It’s common to most films and more information can be found on it here, here, and here.  Note though that I’ve made changes to the sub-sections within each act based on the teachings found in STORY by Robert McKee.  It’s as follows:

ACT 1:
The Hook: The thing that first grabs our attention. 
The Complication: The problem holding back our protagonist. 
The Call to Action: The call our protagonist cannot refuse. 
Plot Point to extra-ordinary world: Where we now know the end goal and the movie really starts. 

ACT 2:
Part One – Training: Learning about the plot, training, etc. 
Midpoint: Something massive to turn the tide or escalate the story. 
Part Two – Escalation / Downward spiral: More escalation, lots of tension, loss (you kn0w, that sad part of the movie). 

ACT 3:
Hero’s Recovery: Protagonist is back on track! 
The Ticking Clock: This only appears in some movies, it’s like our protag has 8min to get back to the church and stop the love of his life from marrying the wrong guy. 
The Big Showdown: The final confrontation between protagonist and opponent. 
The Hero’s Growth: The resolution, closure, growth, etc. of the protagonist. 
Fade out.

So, these were the loglines I came up with from looking at some random pictures and then lateral thinking:

  • A porn nerd and a haunted vigilante must reclaim a magic gun from an elusive magician before he uses it to kill the King of England.
  • A sexless prince and a starfighter’s ghost must develop an A.I. to trick a genius space-jockey into the marrying the Queen.
  • An alien painter meets an enthusiastic cosmonaut who teaches him to become a sniper in order to stop a master assassin from killing his lover.
  • A sexless prince defends his sanity from an alien A.I. with the help of a porn assassin while on a journey to paint the King.

Yep… the last one sounds good; even though it’s too weird for film, more suited to comics, let’s see what I come up with.  Now, forgetting about genre, this is what comes through:

ACT 1:
The Hook: The bizarre world of a sexless prince who’s requested by an A.I. to come paint the neighbouring king in all his glory.  
The Complication: But he cannot for if he leaves he will miss out on painting the woman of his dreams.
The Call to Action: However, the A.I. coaxes him into coming by offering a life-changing surgery that will endow him with a penis.
Plot Point to extra-ordinary world: He leaves his kingdom and enters the strange lands between him and his goal, bringing the A.I. along with him by downloading it to his smart-watch.

ACT 2:
Part One – Training: The prince meets a porn assassin who tries to kill him, but instead joins the team, lured in the A.I.  The prince practices painting portraits with a detachable penis, at the request of the A.I., and with the help of his new ally. (This is getting weird.)
Midpoint: The prince meets a beautiful woman he falls in love with and joins the team, but she fancies the well-endowed assassin.
Part Two – Escalation / Downward spiral: The prince battles for her love, forgetting his other dream girl, but fails in all his attempts.

ACT 3:
Hero’s Recovery: The prince arrives at the kingdom, goes back to the A.I. for guidance.
The Ticking Clock: The A.I. gives the prince some bad advice that somehow relates to winning the girl by painting the nude king in under ten minutes!
The Big Showdown: The prince fails his task, discovers the A.I. set him up with the girl, sent the assassin after him and did all this other bad stuff because he hated the prince for trying to gain a sex, as the A.I. itself is sexless and finds this to be a perfect state, which the royalty, perfect of themselves, should also maintain to be.
The Hero’s Growth: However, the wise, nude, king explains the prince had it inside him all along, which is why he had feelings for two girls, wanted a penis so he could have sex with each, and why he’s considered a he and a prince, because his dick is so small it’s just hidden!  He’s not sexless, nor a eunuch, just really dumb!  The prince takes a magic pill and his dick grows!
Fade out.

Wow!  Alejandro Jodorowsky eat your heart out, this movie is all kinds of poetic fucked up.  It’s kind of like Wizard of Oz meets Her under the skies of Dune.  *Shudder*

Yeah, so, it’s that easy.  Looking over it again, the opponent, our Game n Watch A.I., seems to lose some meaning and gravitas from Acts 2-3 as he doesn’t really seem to be driving the protag insane, as the logline promises; unless it’s some form of subtle manipulation.  Maybe that could be solved in a do over or when beginning the next step, the treatment, which I will not be covering because this idea is too bat-shit crazy.

Of course, that doesn’t matter too much because even though applying a structure like this may work better when the logline is a little more simple, testing yourself with this kind of crazy is always a good exercise.


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