|This spreadsheet contains two charts. The first is an amalgamation of dozens of film script plot outlines I found on the internet, mostly on Pinterest. Below that is a breakdown of nine famous movies. |
Looking at these charts next to each other, you can see patterns, it also becomes clear there's no single correct plot structure.
|ACT 1||ACT 2||ACT 3|
|ACT 1||ACT 2A||ACT 2B||ACT 3|
|ACT 1||ACT 2||ACT 3||ACT 4||ACT 5|
|BASIC ACT SUMMARIES|
|THE ORDINARY WORLD||THE SPECIAL WORLD||THE NEW NORMAL WORLD|
|INTRODUCE THE PROTAGONIST||INTRODUCE THE PROBLEM||SOLVE THE PROBLEM||ANSWER|
|MAKE ME CARE||BE INTENTIONAL||50%|
|LET ME LIKE YOU||DELIGHT ME||FINAL EMOTION|
|SETTING UP THE PROBLEM||RECOVERING FROM THE PROBLEM||DEEPENING THE PROBLEM||RESOLVING THE PROBLEM|
|DETAILED ACT SUMMARIES|
|LIVING FULLY WITHIN IDENTITY||GLIMPSING, LONGING||PROTAGONIST MOVES FORWARD WITHOUT LOSING IDENTITY||PROTAGONIST IS FULLY COMMITTED BUT AFRAID OF LETTING GO||LIVING ONE'S TRUTH WITH EVERYTHING TO LOSE|
|SETUP||NEW SITUATION||PROGRESS||COMPLICATIONS AND HIGHER STAKES||FINAL PUSH|
|INTRODUCTION||REFUSAL OF THE CALL||PROTAGONIST REACTS WITH UNCERTAINTY||PROTAGONIST PROACTIVELY ATTACKS THE GOAL||PROTAGONIST USES ENLIGHTENMENT TO ACHIEVE GOAL|
|PUSHED TO THE BREAKING POINT||COMPLICATIONS AND HIGHER STAKES||THE MAJOR ASSAULT|
|INCREASE HOPE||DECREASE HOPE||INCREASE HOPE||DECREASE HOPE AND INCREASE FEAR||INCREASE HOPE||DECREASE HOPE||FINAL EMOTION|
|LIMITED AWARENESS||SEPARATION||RISING ACTION AND OBSTACLES||RESISTANCE AND STRUGGLE|
|MEETING THE MENTOR||THE ROAD OF TRIALS||INTENSIFICATION, RISING ACTION, OBSTACLES||FINAL PREPARATION||THE FINAL PUSH||THE ROAD BACK HOME|
|THRESHOLD GUARDIAN||TESTS, ALLIES, AND ENEMIES||APPROACHING INNERMOST CAVE|
|PREMISE||DEBATE, DELIBERATE||SEARCHING AND ADAPTING||FINDING A SOLUTION||DISASTERS|
|CAPTURES ATTENTION WITH BOLD QUESTION||SETS HERO IN MOTION||PROTAGONIST AND ANTAGONIST MEET||PROTAGONIST REACTS||PROTAGONIST AND ANTAGONIST MEET AGAIN IN ESCALATED CONFLICT||PROTAGONIST GRASPS A REVELATION||PROTAGONIT AND ANTAGONIST MEET FOR EPIC BATTLE|
|SIEZE||LAUNCH||FACE TIME WITH ANTAGONIST||ILLUMINATION||FACE TIME WITH ANTAGONIST||STORY GOAL ENLIGHTENMENT||FACE TIME WITH ANTAGONIST APEX|
|INTRODUCE HERO||INTRODUCE PROBLEM||HERE IS DRIVEN TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM (1ST ATTEMPT)||HERO IS DRIVEN TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM (2ND ATTEMPT)||NEW COMPLICATION/ NEW PLAN||NEW COMPLICATION/ HIGHER STAKES||FINAL SOLUTION|
|OVERCOMING/ COMMITTING||EXPERIMENTING/ PREPARING||ATTEMPT AND FAIL||CONSEQUENCES OF FAILURE||REDEDICATION||MASTERY|
|CALL TO ADVENTURE/ REFUSAL OF THE CALL||MENTOR HELPS HERO CROSS THE THRESHOLD||ENTER NEW WORLD AND FIND A PROBLEM||DEFINE A GOAL AND CREATE A PLAN||PLANS FAIL/ NEW OBSTACLES INTRODUCED||HERO FINDS A SOLUTION||HERO APPLIES THE SOLUTION|
|RESISTANCE||STRUGGLE||CHALLENGES||TEMPTATIONS||THE FINAL PUSH|
|STATUS QUO/ INCITING INCIDENT||PREDICAMENT/ LOCK IN||FIRST OBSTACLE/ RAISING STAKES||RISING ACTION/ FIRST CULMINATIONS||SUBPLOT/ RISING ACTION||SETUP CULMINATION/ HIGHEST OBSTACLE/ LAST ALTERNATIVE||NEW TENSION||RESOLUTION||NEW STATUS QUO|
|OPENING IMAGE/ THEME STATED||SETUP/ CATALYST/ DEBATE||FUN AND GAMES||RAISE THE STAKES||BAD GUYS CLOSE IN||ALL IS LOST||PREPARE TO DIE||FIGHT TO THE DEATH||FINAL IMAGE|
|STASIS||TRIGGER||THE QUEST||SURPRISE||CRITICAL CHOICE||CLIMAX||REVERSAL||RESOLUTION||SALVATION|
|CREATE EMPATHY FOR HERO||SETUP DECISION||NEW SITUATION||CHANGE OF PLANS||OLD SELF VS NEW SELF ACHIEVING EXTERNAL GOAL||INTERNAL & EXTERNAL PROGRESS/ RETREAT||REBOUND||INTERNAL/ EXTERNAL CONFLICTS MEET||GLIIMPSE OF THE FUTURE|
|INTRODUCE PROTAGONIST||INTRODUCE ANTAGONIST||PROTAGONIST MOVES FORWARD||ANTAGONIST MOVES FORWARD||PROTAGONIST MOVES BACKWARD||ANTAGONIST MOVES FORWARD||PROTAGONIST MOVES FORWARD||ANTAGONIST MOVES FORWARD/ PROTAGONIST MOVES FORWARD||PRIZE/ REPERCUSSION/ SUNSET|
|INTRODUCE PROBLEM/ HERO REACTS TO PROBLEM||HERO FORCED TO ADDRESS PROBLEM||ATTEMPT TO RESOLVE PROBLEM||NEW CHARACTERS AND SUBPLOTS||CALM BEFORE THE STORM||INCREASINGLY HIGH STAKES||FIND SOLUTION TRIGGERED BY PLOT TWIST||APPLY SOLUTION|
|ANALYZE AND LOOK FOR SOLUTION||APPLY AN FAIL||ANALYZE AND LOOK FOR SOLUTION||APPLY AND FAIL||ANALYZE AND LOOK FOR SOLUTION/ APPLY AND FAIL||ANALYZE AND LOOK FOR SOLUTION/ FIND SOLUTION||PREPARE||APPLY SOLUTION AND WIN|
|WHO IS THE HERO? WHAT DOES HE WANT? WHY?||WHAT FORCES HERO TO MAKE A CHOICE?||WHAT'S THE FIRST THING HERO MUST DO?||WHAT EVENTS ADD MORE CONFLICT?||WHAT EVENTS ADD MORE CONFLICT?||WHAT STRIPS THE HERO OF HOPE?||WHAT PUSHES HERO TO CHANGE?||HOW HAS HERO CHANGED?|
|LEARN PROTAGONIST'S GOALS/ STAKES||SETUP CONFLICT||WANDERING RESPONSE BEGINS WITH REATION TO 1ST PLOT POINT||WANDERING RESPONSE CONTINUES WITH REALIZATIONS AND INFORMED REACTIONS||NEW UNDERSTANDING LEADS TO HEADWAY||PROTAGONIST QUESTIONS CHOICES|
|HOW I GOT THE PROBLEM||HOW I DEFINED THE PROBLEM||HOW I TRIED TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM||THE CONSEQUENCES OF FAILING||A WORSE PROBLEM||CREATE A NEW PLAN||THE FINAL SOLUTION|
|TURNING POINT #1||TURNING POINT #2||PINCH POINT #1||TURNING POINT #3||PINCH POINT #2||TURNING POINT #4||TURNING POINT #5||TURNING POINT #6|
|CATALYST||COMMITMENT POINT||ANTAGONIST ATTACKS||FLIP POINT||FORESHADOW NEXT PLOT POINT||DARK MOMENT||TWIST||THE GOAL IS MET|
|CONFLICT||POINT OF NO RETURN||MIDPOINT||REMINDER OF STAKES||CRISIS||THE FINAL BLOW|
|CALL TO ADVENTURE||DISASTER #1||MOMENT OF TRUTH||REVERSAL|
|INCITING INCIDENT||CROSSING THE THRESHOLD||MID ACT CLIMAX||ALL IS LOST||NEUTRALIZE THE ANTAGONIST|
|1ST TRIGGER EVENT||1ST TURNING POINT||2ND TRIGGER EVENT||2ND TURNING POINT||RESOLUTION|
|OPPORTUNITY||CHANGE THE PLANS||POINT OF NO RETURN||MAJOR SETBACK||CLIMAX|
|ACT 1 CLIMAX||MIDPOINT||ACT 2 CLIMAX||ACT 3 CLIMAX|
|COMMITMENT TO THE GOAL||MIND FUCK MOMENT||TIPPING POINT|
|AWAKENING||MOMENT OF ENLIGHTENMENT||DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL|
|CATALYST #1||DISASTER #2||DISASTER #3|
|CATALYST #2||CATALYST #3|
|BLADE RUNNER||ANTAGONIST||Antagonist attacks and fails, triggering calling Hero back to work.||Antag takes first step and finds clue that will allow him to create a plan.||Antagonist's forces are hunted and killed by Hero.||Antagonist's forces attack Hero and fail.||Antag takes next step to completing his goal.||Antagonist closes in on his goal.||Antagonist accomplishes his goal and then attacks Hero.||Denouement|
|HERO||Hero is called from retirement and given a mission he can't refuse to kill Antagonist.||Hero meets Lover whose goals and values directly conflict with Hero's goal and values.||Hero takes first step in his investigation as well as with his love story.||Hero follows clues to Antagonist's minion and kills him.||Hero is attacked by Antagonist's forces but kills them, causing more conflict with Antagonist and Lover.||Hero and Lover get closer, culminating in sex.||Hero closes in on Antagonist.||Hero storms Antagonist's castle and kills guardian enemies as well as Antagonist.|
A NEW HOP
|ANTAGONIST||Antagonist captures Princess and states goals.||Antagonist's forces attack Hero's home in pursuit of their goal.||Antagonist' attacks, dashing Hero's plan.||Antagonist's forces try to stop Hero's team from accomplishing their immediate goals.||Antagonist's forces attack Hero and his team as they flee. They also find clue to Hero's team's weakness.||Antagonist's team prepares and plans for final attack using clue to the Hero's team's weakness.||Defend the castle. Antagonist's forces on the defensive.||Defend the castle. Antagonist's forces winning, but lose at the last moment.||Denouement|
|HERO||Hero reluctantly attempts to complete the ordinary mission life has given him, until an opportunity for adventure presents itself.||Hero meets Mentor, refuses the call, and accepts when Antagonist dashes his plans for an ordinary life.||Hero gathers allies to accomplish step 1, but must make a new plan after Antangonist dashes step 2.||Heros storm the castle, rescue the princess, and gain the clue to defeating Antagonist, but lose an ally.||Hero's team flees while being chased/attacked by Antagonist's forces.||Hero's team prepares and plans for final attack using clue to the Antagonist's weakness.||Storm the castle. Hero's forces on the offensive.||Storm the castle. Hero's losing but win at last second.|
EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
|ANTAGONIST||Antagonist states his goal and follows a clue to the Hero's castle.||Storm the Castle and win, but Hero's team escapes at the last minute.||Antagonist chases Hero's sidekick and his lover (Step 1)||Antagonist chases Hero's sidekick and his lover (Step 2).||Antagonist prepares to trap Hero's team.||Antagonist traps Hero's sidekick and lover.||Defend the castle. Defensive.||Defend the castle. Offensive and win, but Hero escapes at last minute.||Denouement|
|HERO||Introduce Hero and his team with a conflict with a one-off Antagonist.||Defend the castle and lose, but escape at the last minute.||Hero's sidekick and lover flee the Antagonist's forces (Step 1) while falling in love (Step 1)||Hero's sidekick and lover flee the Antagonist's forces (Step 2) while falling in love (Step 2)|
Hero recieves training, gains strength, and discovers his purpose.
|Hero 's sidekick and his lover make a new plan and enact step 1.|
Hero makes a new plan.
|Hero enacts step 1 of his plan to save his team.||Storm the castle. Offensive.||Storm the castle. Defensive and lose, but Hero escapes at last minute.|
RETURN OF THE JEDI
|ANTAGONIST||Antagonist states his goal.||Antagonist states his plan and the stakes of his goal.||Antagonist's forces plan and prepare to defend their gates.||Antagonist's forces defend their gates and win.||Antagonist's forces prepare and plan for final attack.||Antagonist's forces defend the gates and lose.||Antagonist's forces defend the castle while the Antagonist attacks the Hero directly.||Antagonist's forces fail to defend the castle while Antagonist is killed by Hero.||Denouement|
|HERO||Storm the castle of a one-off Antagonist.Offensive plan fails.||Storm the castle of a one-off Antagonist. Offensive. One-off Antagonist loses. Hero wins allies.||Hero's plan and prepare to storm Antagonist's gates.||Hero's team storms the Antagonist's gates and lose but gain allies.||Hero's team prepare and plans for next step.||Hero's team storms the gates with new allies and win.||Hero's team attacks the castle while Hero is attacked by Antagonist.||Hero's team destroys the castle while the Hero kills the Antagonist.|
|AVATAR||ANTAGONIST||One-off Antagonist is defeated by Hero.||Hero meets the real Antagonist, who states his goals and values.||Antagonist states his goal.||Antagonist prepares for big attack.||Antagonist's forces attack twice.||Antagonist rallies his forces for final battle.||Storm the Castle|
Antagonist's forces winning.
|Storm the Castle|
Antagonist's forces lose.
|HERO||Hero fails his quest in life, but chance gives him another opportunity to accomplish his goal in a bigger, better way.||Hero arrives in new world, inprocesses with his team and passes the initiation test.||Hero goes on first mission, strays from the path, resulting in meeting Lover, who trains him in new external and internal skills.||Hero masters internal and external skills, is reborn, culminating in having sex with Lover.||Hero scrambles to survive Antagonist's first attack and then try and fail to prevent the second.||Hero's recover/escape from Antagonist's grip. Hero pulls sword from the stone and uses it to reunite his forces.||Defend the Castle|
Hero's forces losing.
|Defend the Castle|
Hero's forces win.
|THE AVENGERS||ANTAGONIST||Antagonist attacks Hero's castle and steals a valuable resource.||Antagonist flees with valuable resource and escapes.||Plan and prepare||Antagonist's forces attack while Hero's team is falling apart from their flaws.||Antagonist's forces storm the Hero's outpost Antagonist wins and gets a valuable resource.||Plan and prepare for final showdown.||Storm the Castle|
|Storm the castle|
Antagonist's forces lose, and Antagonist is neutralized.
|HERO||Hero's team defends their castle against attack by Antagonist.||Hero's team chases Antagonist but fails to catch him.||Assemble the team. Plan, find a clue, follow the clue to showdown with Antagonist.||Heros try to figure out Antagonist's plan while their flaws tear the team apart.||Heros team defends the outpost and suffers heavy losses because of their flaws.||Plan and prepare for final showdown.||Defend the castle. |
Holding the line.
|Defend the castle.|
Heros rally, correct their flaws and win.
|JURASSIC PARK||ANTAGONIST||Introduce Antagonists 1 and 2.||Introduce Antagonist 3, 4, and 5.||Antagonist 3's actions foreshadow his impending attack.||Antagonist 4's actions foreshadow his impending attack.|
Antagonist 3 prepares to enact his plan, then enacts step 1, 2, and 3 of his plan.
|Antagonist 4 attacks Hero's team, winning and killing Antagonist 2.||Antagonist 3 enacts step 4 of his plan but fails and is killed by Antagonist 5. |
Antagonist 4 attacks Team A. They escape and move forward.
Antagonist 1 attacks Team B. They escape and move forward.
|Antagonist 1 attacks Hero's team.||Antagonist 1 attacks Hero's team, resulting in getting killed by Antagonist 4.||Denouement|
|HERO||Hero who is happy in his life, accepts a quest he doesn't want but can't afford to refuse.||Hero arrives in new world, meets his new team, and becomes emotionally committed to the quest.||Hero's team recieves training on new world and a mission briefing. The team gains new allies who conflict with Hero's flaw and embark on their quest.||Heros stray from the path, setting them up to have their path cut off by Antagonist's 3's actions.||Hero's team is attacked by Antagonist 4 and lose, resulting in the team splitting up into Team A and Team B. They react and make new plans.||Team A enacts their plan and accomplishes their goal despite being attacked by Antagonist 4. |
Team B enacts their plan and accomplishes their goal despite being attacked by Antagonist 1.
|Team A and B reunite, make new plan, and enact it while being attacked by Antagonist 1.||Hero's team accomplish their goal and return to the normal world.|
|THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION||ANTAGONIST||One-off Antagonist attacks Hero and wins.||Introduce Antagonist 1 and 2||Antagonist 1 repeatedly attacks Hero until he is neutralized by Antagonist 2.|
Antagonist 2 recuits Hero to help him accomplish his goal.
|Antagonist 2 rewards Hero with cursed rewards.||Antagonist 2 gets an opportunity to fulfill his goal and makes Hero help him.||Antagonist 2 takes everything from Hero and punishes over a conflict of interests.||Antagonist is attacked by Hero.||Antagonist is killed, and his forces receive justice.||Denouement|
|HERO||Hero's flawed response to conflict results in him being ordered to go to a new world.||Hero inprocesses into new world and passes initiation test.||Hero meets new allies, gets new resources, attempts to survive, and displays his strength, resulting in being offered an opportunity from Antagonist 2, which Hero accepts.||Hero moves toward his goal by working for Antagonist 2. He sees a snapshot of what his life will be like if he stays the path, which will ultimately be internal and external death.||Hero gets new resources to help him achieve his immediate goal.||Hero's longterm goal conflicts with Antagonist 2's. Antagonist 2 attacks and takes everything from Hero, cutting off all paths. While at his lowest, he reacts, plans, and prepares to attack Antagonist 2.||Hero attacks Antagonist according to plan.||Hero takes everything Antagonist 2 values and uses it to accomplish his own ultimate goal.|
|GOOD WILL HUNTING||ANTAGONIST||Introduce Antagonist who wants something only Hero can give him. Antagonist discovers Hero's existence.||Antagonist follows clues leading to Hero.||Antagonist follows clues to Hero and finds him at his weakest. Antagonist forces Hero to accept an external and internal mission that both benefit him.||Antagonist recruits Mentor to be the agent of conflict in Hero's internal quest.||Antagonist moves closer to his goal by using Hero.||Antagonist prepares and enacts plan to use Hero further and gives Hero ultimatum he can't accept culminating in big showdown with Hero.||Hero's actions cause Antagonist confrots his own flaw.||Antagonist has major conflict with Mentor where they both say and hear what they need to.||Denouement|
|HERO||Introduce Hero, show his strength, flaw, goal.||Hero uses his flaw to accomplish his goal by attacking a one-off Antagonist. Hero wins a false victory.||Hero meets Lover and wins her interest by defeating a one-off Antagonist. Hero's failure at end of Act 1 gives Antagonist leverage over Hero, and forces him to accept an external and internal mission.||Hero takes first steps in his love story, external quest, and internal quest. He wins false victories against one-off Antagonists, resulting in him meeting his mentor and having a showdown, which Hero wins with another false victory.||Hero trains with Mentor and makes progress in his external, internal, and love quest, but reverts to using his flaw.||Hero refuses ultimatums by Antagonist, Lover, and Mentor, causing him to lose everything.||Hero suffers the consequences of using his flaw and refusing to change. Antagonist, Mentor, and Lover tell him what he needs to hear, and he finally listens.||Hero prepares to slay his inner deman, which is does with Mentor.|