7 Point Screenplay Structure To Keep You On Track

There is no single way to write a film script. There are so many screenplay templates, screenwriting bibles and “writing a screenplay step by step” guides out there. What’s a screenwriter to do?

Ultimately you need to follow your gut. Your story will show you the way. Here’s a simple paradigm to outline your script in 7 (yes 7) easy steps. Now I sound like an infomercial for screenwriters!

A 7 point screenplay outline will help you identify the key structural elements of your film script before you start to write. All of them are required in a commercial movie script.

The main point is that the page numbers are approximate and must be organic to your story. You will notice story rhythms in your screenplay, so a first plot point at the end of act 1 at page 40 might “feel” a little late. If you can justify a turning point at page 40, then stick with it by all means.

Also, if you want to be “artistic” you can deviate from a traditional closed resolution. An open-ended resolution occurs when a film abruptly ends and the audience speculates a resolution and story ending.

Screenwriters are entitled to individual artistic expression. However, these 7 plot points are natural story beats that audiences expect. If you skip a beat, the film will appear off.

  • Line 1 Introduce the protagonist and their world (first 10 pages)
  • Line 2  Inciting Incident (around page 10)
  • Line 3  First plot point, end of Act 1 (around page 25-30)
  • Line 4  Mid point (around page 45-55)
  • Line 5  Second turning point, end of Act 2 (around page 75-80)
  • Line 6  Third turning point, end of Act 3  (around page 95-100)
  • Line 7 Resolution (page 100-110)

Also, notice how I’ve ended the screenplay page count at page 110 rather than the traditional 120? Brevity is gold to Hollywood readers these days. A 120 page film script is considered too long. White space is your friend.

scriptfirm final logo colour
Get in depth Film & TV script feedback at Script Firm.


3 Comments Add yours

  1. Lorita OLeay says:

    Thank you for this information. I’m going to try it out.

    1. JG Sarantinos says:

      Good Luck. Keep writing!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s