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I don't think so either. Beginning, middle, and end describes every 3-D object...a principle of the universe. :-)
Beginning, middle and end is actually a better description of a bounded 1-D object, but I hear what you're saying.
@Kerry LOL. I mentioned 3-D because that is the last one we can visualize, but there's nothing that says any object in N-space doesn't have a beginning, middle, and end. (It may have these—and more!)
Hmmm. Taking these four parts, the short hand is LOUD. (learning, obtaining, understanding, and doing). I'm not sure if this really works perfectly, as I think that these can be shifted around. Star Wars Goals: Act I: Get Droids to Obiwan (Learning, Doing, Obtaining) Act II A: Get Ship, Learning about the Force (Obtaining, Learning, Doing) ACT II B: Save the Princess (Obtaining, Doing) Act IIi: Blow up Deathstar (Doing, Understanding) So, Doing, Learning, Obtaining, Understanding? But it could also be Learning, Obtaining, Doing, Understanding? Or a bunch of other combos? It's a cool idea, i think it might help to round out a story that hits a repetitive rut, but since these actions might be happening in almost any scene throughout the story, I'm not sure if this paradigm really Ends anything. Going to apply to some of my own stuff and see if it's useful.
Shane, this is the Dramatica model. It gets way more arcane. I've toyed around with the software and found it mostly impenetrable, if periodically thought-provoking.
Been looking into dramatica more. I think it might be overcomplicating things in places, perhaps a bit pretentious, but it seems like a good tool for when a story/act feels somehow lacking in order to find a new angle.
Avoid Dramatica like the plague IMO. It's like learning a foreign language. You are much better off reading the top 5 screenwriting books, then reading as many top spec scripts as you can get your hands on.
It's more about story than structure IMO. It is important to hook the audience early , thrill them and keep them engaged in their seat for 2 hrs. Don't see how the number of acts matters. However, more may be revealed.