The first act in storytelling introduces the protagonist, setting, and type of movie, with the goal of hooking the audience. It also shows the world and the inciting incident, which sets the story in motion. The antagonist acts as a force that blocks the protagonist's goals.
Want to join the conversation?
- This is a great lesson. But how can i use this to creat a book not so much a movie? I am not ready to make a movie and these exercises are usefull but i don't know how to center it towards books.(38 votes)
- For a start, you could think about books you've read that fit into the story spine structure, and what the writer did to make the character and the world seem real.(37 votes)
- I am currently working on a story, and my story takes place in London, but i don't live in London and I have no idea about that place. How do i describe the where my main character lives?(12 votes)
- Well, firstly, most of your readers won't live in London either. The beauty of writing is that you can come up with things (people, surroundings, etc.) that aren't real. But there is of course a difference between fantasy stories and realistic stories. So if you want your description to be realistic, you will have to do some research.
You can read books about London, use google or google maps, find different pictures, watch movies or documentaries, you can even try to contact an expert (in this case, someone who lives in London or knows a lot about London).
Try to use a lot of different sources and gather all the information you think fits your story. Then combine the elements you like best to describe for example his house or his street. You can of course use real places, but the house of your main character can be totally fictional. Throughout the story you can let your main character visit certain well-known places in London, but for other scenes you can just come up with something (a park, a church, a street), as long as it stays within realistic limits (so no skyscraper or lake or something really big that isn't really there).(34 votes)
- Is it okay to have a antagonist that's not a person, like a personification?(9 votes)
- Its more than ok, is excelent.
You can consider something like The Book Thief, in where the antagonist is Death itself and also do the crusial narrative.(13 votes)
- What would only one act be like in a story?(6 votes)
- A well framed story is very unlikely to have one act. Even with a short story, you have multiple acts - rising action, conflict, resolution. Everything is just scaled down. If a story only has one act, it likely doesn't have a resolution and so will leave the reader unfulfilled.(6 votes)
- What is the difference between Antagonist and Obstacles (introduced in Characters)?(2 votes)
- When I think of antagonists in stories, I always remind myself that in every story there is a "villian" (a person or being that is in the way of the main characters goal, usually bad) or a "problem" (an object in the main characters way, a mountain, a rule, or even the main characters flaws).(4 votes)
- what if stories didn't need protagonists?(2 votes)
- Stories always have a protagonist. If the protagonist doesn't appear to be the hero of the story, you can refer the protagonist as the main character. But theoretically, there's always a protagonist.(4 votes)
- how do you make the drawings move(3 votes)
- In the last two videos, we talked about our theme and how to break your story into beats using the story spine. The next step is to divide your story spine into larger sections, which we call acts. Throughout history, storytellers have experimented with everything from one act to eight acts or more, but the most common structure for film is the three act structure. Act one consists of the first three steps of our story spine, "Once upon a time." This is where we meet our main character, known as the protagonist, and we find out when and where the story takes place. For example, in Finding Nemo, we're introduced to Marlin and Nemo who live in the safety of the reef, and we learn why Marlin worries about the dangers lurking in the open ocean. The first act also tells the audience what type of movie they're about to see. Is it a science fiction, a romantic comedy, a historical drama, or something else? Every day. This is where we learn more about how the world works. For example, in Finding Nemo, we learn about the other creatures who inhabit the reef and what life is like there every day. Until one day. This is often called the inciting incident. It's an event which leads to a key obstacle your protagonist faces and sets the rest of the story in motion. In Finding Nemo, Nemo ignores his father's instructions, swims out to touch the boat, and is captured by a scuba diver. In order to save him, Marlin is forced to face his biggest fear, the open ocean. The first act can also introduce something called the antagonist. You probably know this as a character we sometimes call the villain, but it can take many forms. Generally, the antagonist is a force that gets in the way of your character's wants and needs. Marlin's antagonist is something, something that stands in his way, the ocean and his fear of it. Getting this first act figured out is critical, so let's ask our storytellers for some more information. - In act one, we want to introduce our characters, introduce the story, and get a landscape of where the story is trying to go. - What's essential in the first act is that you meet the main character in her or his world and you understand their place in the world and you understand their problem in the world. - You learn enough about this character that you like this character and you want to go on this journey with the filmmaker and the character. It's very important to hook your audience in act one. - For our movies, I think Wall-E has one of strongest first acts. The world is set up. I mean, it's a trash planet and it's an abandoned dystopia, and yet you have an idealist, you have Wall-E, who believes as a robot that love is possible in an environment where he's meant to clean up the remnants of the opposite world view, and it's beautiful that he doesn't, he has almost no evidence other than a little green leaf that what he believes and feels is real, and then Eve comes in and confirms to him his idealistic tendencies that we can rise above our programming and that we can be more than we're told and we can be more than what's around us. - Sometimes the inciting incident will introduce a conflict that will launch the main character into a journey that will take place throughout the film. - In most cases I can think of, the inciting incident comes toward the end of the first act. You spent the first act setting up who the characters are, what's important, what the status quo is in the world, and the inciting incident that's gonna pull the rug out from under that status quo is gonna launch you into act two. - In Wall-E, the inciting incident is when Eve is taken off of earth into the axiom, and Wall-E follows her up to the axiom on the rocket 'cause he now has a goal which is to get Eve back. Even though he's a robot and he cannot be further from me, I completely empathize with him and I want for him connection and love and the things that he aspires to. To me, it's an elegant, beautiful, heartbreaking first act. - And I think a successful first act gets you to invest in your character, care about your character, care about what they care about, so when the thing they care about is threatened or the rug is pulled out from under them in some way, you're rooting for them to launch into the second act and solve that problem. - Ultimately, the first act is the setup for the story. It's where we learn everything we need to know about our main characters and the world, and we find something out which gets us invested in the journey which follows. In the next exercise, you'll have a chance to identify the first act in your favorite films, as well as start developing the first act for the story you want to create.