January 11, 2017



The 3 act structure is a principle of storytelling which is widely used throughout many storytelling mediums in history. For example, poetry, movies, plays, books, comic books and video games. It is widely understood that it is one of the most useful structures for telling stories because of its simplicity and it’s ability to translate a story succinctly.
The 3 act structure has been used in many popular films, for example in the 1997 James Cameron film, Titanic.
Figure 1
A 3 act structure is broken up into 3 acts, the first being the introduction or setup. The role of this introduction is to introduce the main setting, the world, the main characters and learn the conflict of the film. For example in Titanic we are introduced to the ship and Rose’s family, and we are also introduced to Jack and learn more about their backgrounds and see how they differ from one another. We are also introduced into another time period, where Rose is old and she is recalling her memories, and we as viewers learn that the film is going to be her retelling of what happened on the ship.

Figure 2
The second act is where the action and tensions continue to rise. It is also where confrontation happens with the conflict, and often when the crisis begins. For example in Titanic, Rose and Jack’s romantic friendship grows and we see them meeting more in secret until Jack confesses his love for her. This rising tension ends with the crisis, the Titanic hitting the iceberg, anding the second act.

Figure 3
Act 3, and the beginning of the crisis, is characterised by the peak of the action and emotion, and then the fall of it. It is where the crisis is explained and then the resolution. In Titanic we see chaos break out when people realise the ship is sinking, and the characters face major challenges as they fight to survive. It is the most emotional part of the film and where everything peaks, and then falls as the ship is dragged under water. we go back to the present setting when we then remember we are being narrated to by a much older Rose, and there is no more action from then on.


Content.internetvideoarchive.com. (2017). Figure 2:. [online] Available at: https://content.internetvideoarchive.com/content/photos/7535/36668_029.jpg [Accessed 11 Jan. 2017].

Upload.wikimedia.org. (2017). Figure 1:. [online] Available at: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/2/22/Titanic_poster.jpg [Accessed 11 Jan. 2017].

Upload.wikimedia.org. (2017). Figure 3:. [online] Available at: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/b/bb/Titanic_breaks_in_half.jpg [Accessed 11 Jan. 2017].

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