About the Analysis
Screenplay Structure: Scenes and Sequences
The template of each Screenplay Sequence-Scene Analysis is derived from an objective analysis of over 155 classic and contemporary movies of 89-216 minutes duration released during the years, 1941-2010. This quantitative evaluation showed that the construction units of the films we watch, namely 'Sequences' and their composite 'Scenes', have a distinct organization in relation to the Three-Act Structure. Specifically, both 'Hollywood' and 'Independent' movies are built of a characteristic number range of discrete Sequences, each composed of a definable number range of Scenes. Notably, this organizational structure spans essentially all genres and plot types. The Screenplay Summaries present the structure of successful movies using this template. The organization of Scenes and Sequences forms a standardized template you can use in writing your own screenplay.
Emotional and Physical Action Content
Successful screenplays are based on distinct characters that are both physically and emotionally active. We go to the movies not to experience the characters’ physical action, but to experience their emotions. Generally speaking, the more meaningful the experience is for the characters, the more authentic the movie experience is for your audience, and therefore the more likely you will be to have your screenplay optioned and made into a successful film. Screenwriters create empathic emotions through key plot points, turning points and reversals. Significantly, these events are carefully, but predictably, timed and paced (sometimes referred to as ‘genre expectation’). As you write your own screenplay, you can use the lessons from successful screenwriters that are presented in the Screenplay Summaries to generate Scenes and Sequences that create exactly the right emotions at the correct time for your audience (first, the studio screenplay reader). Screenwriting Science will help you succeed in doing so.
The analysis also showed that not only are number range and distribution of Sequences remarkably consistent across a broad spectrum of movie types, but the content and types of events within each Sequence are equivalent both within and between different plots and genres In other words, equivalent events are found in
The Matrix as occur in
Akeela and the Bee, just as they are between
The Bourne Identity and
Juno. There are, of course differences in the specifics of the events between different genres and plot types, but the emotional milestones of each Sequence are equivalent. The content for each genre and plot forms a
Roadmap of Screenplay Events that is reflected in the descriptions of the Sequences in each Screenplay Summary. Put another way, successful screenwriters construct their story as discrete Sequences, each with specific purposes in advancing the story.
The Screenplay Summaries present the Sequence-Scene structure for each movie that is superimposed on a template derived from the original statistical analysis. You can use the Summaries as models in your own writing. By consulting several Screenplay Summaries of the Genre/Plot you are working on, in combination with other movies types to add new perspectives, you can guide yourself to a completed your first draft more effectively.
ScreenWriting Science will regularly add new Screenplay Summary examples for each plot type and genre, so please check back regularly.