The Myth of the 3 Act Structure: Why Am I Lost In The Second Act?

The Myth of the 3 Act Structure: Why Am I Lost In The Second Act?

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For about as long as there have been screenwriting books, young writers have been taught that movies have a three act structure. Each act is viewed as 30 to 60 page chunk of the plot and when they're all assembled together, they provide a beginning, middle, and an end for your story.

Countless script doctors, critics, teachers, and producers have used this structure to break down great movies, and analyze how they are put together.

But while this may be a great way of looking at a finished script from a critical perspective, it's not particularly useful to screenwriters.

When you're beginning a new project, it's not exactly groundbreaking news that your story is going to need a beginning, middle, and an end. The real challenge is figuring out how to structure your story in a way that captures the essence of your character's journey.

Trying to use three act structure to create the story of your movie is like trying to sprint through a marathon. You may start off strong, but by the time you hit the middle of the story, you'll most likely be running out of steam. The plot starts to feel external, manufactured, predictable or diffuse. The ideas just aren't coming anymore. Or you find yourself spinning off in all kinds of directions that take you away from your main character and the story you were telling.

This is a common malady. It's called "getting lost in the second act." And it's killed more good screenplays than any Hollywood bigshot.

That's why I came up with Seven Act Structure.

Seven Act Structure is not for producers. It's not for critics, or professors, or development executives.

Seven Act Structure is for writers.

Seven Act Structure is a new way of looking at structure from a character's perspective, allowing you to break down the character's change into manageable chunks, and to give yourself a structure you can actually use.

Because of the unique "engine" built into the structure, it's impossible to run out of steam. It keeps your focus where it should be, on your main character.

And best of all, it lines up perfectly with a studio's "three act" expectations, so the Hollywood big shots will never know the difference.

Come check out this OnDemand webinar, and learn how to write YOUR screenplay, without getting lost in the second act!


  • What’s wrong with three act structure and other formulas, and why writers using them tend to get lost in the second act.

  • The principles of Award Winning Screenwriter Jacob Krueger’s Seven Act Structure, and how you can use it find your character’s journey organically.

  • Why most great movies tend to have Seven Acts, whether the writers are aware of it or not.

  • How to create a structure that works for your movie, while still conforming to Hollywood’s expectations.

  • How theme, hook and structure can work together to create a movie you can sell...without selling your soul.

  • How to identify existing elements in your script that can become the basis of your structure, by getting back in touch with the impulses that drew you to the story in the first place.

  • How to break through writers block, so you can finish your story.


  • Writers who are having trouble with structure

  • Writers who are lost in the second act

  • Writers who know that a paint-by-numbers formula is not going to get them where they need to go

  • Writers who are thinking about giving up on a script

  • Writers who have had their script rejected

  • Writers who know they have a great story, but can’t seem to get it on the page

  • Writers who want to get back in touch with their characters and their creative instincts

  • Writers who want to take their script to the next level

  • Writers who are wanting to learn the ins and outs of structure

  • Writers who want techniques for identifying what makes their script unique and desirable

  • Writers who want to understand structure before finishing their script

The founder of Jacob Krueger Studio in New York City, Jacob is an award winning screenwriter, playwright, producer and director. Jacob's first produced movie, The Matthew Shepard Story (2002) won him the Writers Guild of America Paul Selvin Award and a Gemini Nomination for Best Screenplay.

OnDemand Webinars do not include a critique.

The Writers Store does not offer any refunds for the webinar. All sales are final.