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Classical Storytelling and Contemporary Screenwriting by Brian Price

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Thirty-FourFirst Draft

And You’re Finally Done

“These then are the rules the poet should observe.”

(Poetics, Part XV)

As I’ve previously bemoaned, students are constantly asking me, “On what page should the Inciting Incident happen?” The Point of No Return? The Beat of Achievement? Big Gloom? Etc.

To them I answer, “If you want a formula, take up calculus.” While that’s usually not what they want to hear, that we can’t simply plug our beats into a successful template, it doesn’t mean there aren’t observable patterns that we can learn from.

If you look at the screenplays for the movies I’ve listed on my Recommended Movie List (see Appendix), a nice cross section of movies that have or will stand the test of time, you will see these patterns. ...

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