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Plot Points For A Feature Film

By Sherri Sheridan

May 27, 2009



How To Write A Great Screenplay Blueprint Fast!

What if you had a blueprint for what happens at each plot point in a basic feature film? Would that make writing your script a little easier? Yes!


Feel free to play with the order of the following plot points. Repeat or omit ones to fit your story flow.

Based on the book "Developing Digital Short Films" (2004 New Riders/Peachpit). If you find using this plot point guide helpful, you will love Writing A Great Script Fast the new DVD workshop.

3 pages per plot point = 120 screenplay pages = 120 minutes

1. Hook: Start in the middle of a mess to hook audience fast.

2. Setup: Introduce characters and show what is normal.

3. Enter Antagonist: Big entrance showing what they do best.

4. Supporting Characters: Different sides of film world revealed.

5. Plot Goal Want: Problem arises along with first plot goal.

6. Theme or Theme Goal Defined: Use metaphors or fable to show film theme or how character needs to change inside to accomplish plot goal.

7. Gauntlet: Opposite antagonist goals established.

8. First Test: Protagonist may fail to show weakness.

9. Inciting Incident: Event happens that changes what is normal.

10. Exile: Protagonist leaves familiar world to accomplish plot goal.

11. Plot Goals Restated: New plot goal worth leaving home?

12. Theme Goals Restated: Use metaphors or fable.

13. McGuffin: Unforeseen event pushes plot forward.

14. Investigation: Protagonist fumbles around in dark to do plot goal.

15. Meet Mentor: Teacher, wizard, godlike force or hero appears.

16. Acquire New Tools: New skills, tools or information given.

17. Joke: Funny moment to relieve tension.

18. Foreshadow: Prepare audience for surprise ending.

19. Unique Genre Color: Cool new spaceships for sci-fi.

20. First Theme Success: Show small character arc/growth change.

21. Triumph First Plot Success: 1st plot goal accomplished.

22. Betrayal: Supporting characters or protagonist own weakness.

23. Big Bad Twist: Unexpected turn of events with new plot goal.

24. Torture/Escape: Protagonist suffers then saved by new skills.

25. Defeat: Loses previous triumph with added suffering.

26. Reassess Plot Goal: New plot goal direction evaluated.

27. Restate Theme Goal: Film theme or character arc growth.

28. Mentor Disabled: Protagonist goes forward alone.

29. Second Joke: Funny or playful moment.

30. Unique Genre Element: Fresh looking aliens for sci-fi.

31. Surrender: Protagonist gives up in face of impossible odds.

32. McGuffin: Unexpected event moves plot forward.

33. New Solution: Unexpected solution is discovered.

34. Final Confrontation: Fight brewing between characters occurs.

35. Death: Protagonist defeated along with supporting characters.

36. Resurrection: Strength gathered for another confrontation.

37. Sacrifice: Arm lost, choice over lover or loot.

38. Revelation: Show protagonist epiphany related to theme.

39. Climax: Protagonist wins in moment of greatest intensity.

40. Resolution: Who live/dies, gets the girl/guy, celebration.

If you want more information about using these plot points, and other types of plot structures, get the new DVD Workshop Writing A Great Script Fast, or order DVDs 12 and 13 on Amazon.



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You may also look at laying these above 40 plot points over the basic 9 presented in this movie:



"A genius is one who shoots at something no one else can see - and hits it ."

– Anonymous

Follow along and create a great film or story idea fast! Download the Workbook PDF file or DOC file to edit. You can also use a notebook or paper and the Online Workbook or watch it in 20 Steps.


Sample Movies

Below are some sample movies from the 94 minute version above on Storytelling Goals, Creating Themes and Using Symbols and Metaphors. These short films are part of the new 20 hour step-by-step "Writing A Great Script Fast" DVD Workshop:


Learn how to include themes in your films and stories in this free sample movie from the new step-by-step "Writing A Great Script Fast" DVD Workshop:


Learn how to use Metaphors and Symbols in your films, animations or stories from the new step-by-step "Writing A Great Script Fast" DVD Workshop:




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