Three Act Structure – Tool Not A Rule

Event Date: Saturday, November 17, 2012 || Speaker: Barney Lichtenstein || Check-in: 12:30 pm ||

Whether it’s a villain with a gun or a mother fighting for her son in “Kramer vs. Kramer”, the underlying principles of three act structures remain the same. A half hour action TV show will be screened and compared with the Oscar winning “Kramer” (best screenplay, best picture) in a comparison that indicates often identical structure.  Other films such as “Pulp Fiction” and “Shawshank Redemption” will be discussed as examples of when coventions of three act structure may be intentionally modified or disgarded.







Barney Lichtenstein, M.A., has worked as a story analyst for Amblin Entertainment, Imagine, Largo Entertainment, New Line, New World (founded by Roger Corman), and Sundance Institute.  He has served as story editor for the Peabody award winning documentary Voices and the multi-award winning installment of West 42nd Street, aired on the PBS series P.O.V.  

He has received the 2006 award for Outstanding Instructor in Screenwriting from UCLA Extension, teaching advanced courses in screenwriting and training a number of story analysts who have gone on to evaluate submissions for Sundance and major production companies.

The first American to conduct extensive workshops revealing the Hollywood development system to Japanese film and television industries, he has led seminars for Women in Film and L.A. Screenwriting Expo, the world’s largest convention for screenwriters, chosen by the audience as a star speaker.  Currently completing a groundbreaking textbook on screenwriting, he strongly urges beginning screenwriters to receive some formal education in the craft, ideally completing the certificated program at UCLA Extension Writers’ Program on campus or online.

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