Syd Field is an american screenwriter who has made a lot of money during the last few years out of the Three Act Plot Structure
However his ideas are not just intended as a way of analysing existing films, but also a set of advice for potential film makers.
Act 1- the setup is one of the most important acts as it is what grabs the audience attention. An individual will decide whether they like the film within the first 10 minutes, so it is important for the film-maker to give a sense of what is to come throughout the rest of the film, who the main character is, why should they care for him/her, the location of the film, relationships between the characters and the film’s style. The rest of the first 30 minutes they should learn the nature of the problem the hero faces however, this can be left until plot point one.
Act 1- THE SETUP
Act 2- the confrontation. In this section the main character has to face a series of problems that become more and more extreme, and confront their enemies usually quite helplessly. Then there is a mid- point where they begin to turn things around and win this helpless struggle; however by plot point two they realise they have been tackling the problem the wrong way and will be ready for the resolution.
Act 2- THE CONFRONTATION
Act 3- the resolution. The hero takes control in the struggle with their problem (by going to confront their enemy on their own home territory usually) and will achieve a final, decisive victory.
ACT 3- THE RESOLUTION