My attempt to discover the common ground or disparity between current paradigms of the Three Act Structure for Film and Theatre between the Fibonacci System of the Golden Rule as Velikovski’s StoryAlity system applies to the more popular Hague’s Hero’s Journey, and Syd Field’s depiction of Aristotle’s Three Act Structure, reveals no new suprises.

Hauge’s Paradigm denotes the 12 stages of the protagonist’s Inner (turmoil from weakness) and Outer Journey (fight to overcome the obstacle). The Three Act Structure is a basic linear formation of the stages relating to the obstacles, whereas the StoryAlity paradigm is a combination of Hague’s and Aristotle’s paradigm set within the same time frame and limits of occurrences within the 3 Acts.

Though the StoryAlity paradigm states 10 Acts, 2 more can be added for resolution and life in the new world. The lengths of all three paradigms are 120 minutes for Aristotle and Hauge, and 90 minutes for StoryAlity. StoryAlity mimics Hague’s 12 steps of the Inner and Outer Journeys.

The theme and inciting incidents occur at the same time and sequence for all three paradigms: The theme is stated by page five and the inciting incidents by pages 10-13. though we are in Acts 5,6, and 7, with StoryAlity the page count is about the same as with Hague and Aristotle – pages 5 Thematic Statement – page 10, Inciting Incident, Trouble in Paradise. All three agree that by page 30, Plot Point One where Paradise is Lost, leads into the Second Act, or in other words, Complications of the Battle – Descent into Hell.

Every 15 minutes or so the battle worsens where the pinches create higher stakes, in all three paradigms. The Mid Points occur for Storiality between Acts 8 and 9 – roughly page 50 – Hague and Aristotle – roughly page 60:  The percentages for page counts are the same.

Plot Point 2, Turning Point 4, and the Descent into Hell occur exactly at the same time intervals. The climax occurs 15 pages before the end of the film where the denouement and resolution take place. It’s all in the semantics… same stuff, different verbiage.



 ACT 1

STAGE I: SET-UP – Living fully within Identity

  1. THE ORDINARY WORLD: The hero, uneasy, uncomfortable or unaware, is introduced sympathetically so the audience can identify with the situation or dilemma. The hero is shown against a background of environment, heredity, and personal history. (Set-up) (Limited Awareness – Some kind of polarity in the hero’s life is pulling in different directions and causing stress)

STAGE II: NEW SITUATION – Glimpsing, Longing, or Destiny: glimpse of living life in Essence

  1. THE CALL TO ADVENTURE: Something shakes up the situation, either from external pressures or from something rising up from deep within, so the hero must face the beginnings of change. (Turning Point #1/Inciting Incident) (Increased Awareness)


  1. REFUSAL OF THE CALL: The hero feels the fear of the unknown and tries to turn away from the adventure, however briefly. Alternately, another character may express the uncertainty and danger ahead. (Reluctance)


  1. MEETING WITH THE MENTOR: The hero comes across a seasoned traveler of the worlds who gives him or her training, equipment, or advice that will help on the journey. Or the hero reaches within to a source of courage and wisdom. (Overcoming)


STAGE III: PROGRESS – Moving towards Essence without leaving Identity

  1. CROSSING THE THRESHOLD: At the end of Act One, the hero commits to leaving the Ordinary World and entering a new region or condition with unfamiliar rules and values. (Turning Point #2/Change of Plans) (Committing)


  1. TESTS, ALLIES AND ENEMIES: The hero is tested and sorts out allegiances in the Special World. (Experimenting)


  1. APPROACH TO THE INMOST CAVE: The hero and newfound allies prepare for the major challenge in the Special world. (Preparing)

STAGE IV: COMPLICATIONS/ HIGHER STAKES – Fully committed to Essence but growing Fear

  1. THE ORDEAL: Near the middle of the story, the hero enters a central space in the Special World and confronts death or faces his or her greatest fear. Out of the moment of death comes a new life. (Turning Point #3/ Midpoint/ Point of No Return) (Big Change- There is no turning back now)


  1. THE REWARD: The hero takes possession of the treasure won by facing death. There may be celebration, but there is also danger of losing the treasure again. (Consequences)


STAGE V: FINAL PUSH – Living one’s truth with everything to lose

  1. THE ROAD BACK: About three-fourths of the way through the story, the hero is driven to complete the adventure, leaving the Special World to be sure the treasure is brought home. Often a chase scene signals the urgency and danger of the mission. (Turning Point #4/ Major Setback/ Crisis/ All is Lost Moment) (Rededication)


  1. THE RESURRECTION: At the climax, the hero is severely tested once more on the threshold of home. He or she is purified by a last sacrifice, another moment of death and rebirth, but on a higher and more complete level. (Turning Point #5/ Climax/ Final Battle)  (Final Attempt – By the hero’s action, the polarities that were in conflict at the beginning are finally resolved)

STAGE VI: AFTERMATH – The Journey Complete, Destiny achieved.

  1. RETURN WITH THE ELIXIR: The hero returns home or continues the journey, bearing some element of the treasure that has the power to transform the world as the hero has been transformed. (Resolution/ Denouement- Hero is better off than when the story started)  (Mastery – Character has changed/ Hero’s Arc is completed)



Story Information: Story Details: 

Describe the major beats of your story by listing the scenes that occur in each stage.  For the major turning points, list the scene in which that plot point occurs.



Stage I:


Ordinary World



The SETUP shows us the life the hero has been living up to now, until presented with an… [Arc start]


Turning Point #1: 


Inciting Incident

Opportunity (10%) which begins the story and creates a desire in the hero to move to a…




Stage II:


New Situation

New Situation [guided by someone exemplifying the arc] (frequently a new location), which ultimately results in…


Turning Point #2:


Change of Plans

Change of Plans (25%) when the hero’s general desire is transformed into a specific, visible outer motivation [and makes a life changing decision].  The hero begins to make…




Stage III:



Progress [is made] – the plan to achieve the outer motivation seems to be working [leading to a bold move/gesture]– until the hero passes the…


Turning Point #3:


Point of No Return

Point of No Return (50%) and is so fully committed to reaching the destination that there is no longer the option of turning back.  [first taste of death?] This leads to…




Stage IV:


Complications and Higher Stakes

Complications and Higher Stakes, because achieving the outcome has become both more difficult and more important.  The conflict builds until the hero suffers a…

Turning Point #4:


Major Setback

Major Setback and . it seems to the audience that all is lost.  But the hero makes an all-or-nothing…


Stage V:


Final Push

Final Push, putting everything [the protagonist didn’t know they could do or risk in reaching their arc] on the line until…

Turning Point #5:



Climax (90-99%) where the hero faces the biggest obstacle of the film [with the greatest possible personal and global stakes for this story], and the outer motivation is finally resolved, moving the hero to the…


Stage VI:



Aftermath, which reveals the new life the hero, having completed the journey, now will live.





PLOT: 3-Act Structure

The basic structure of any film is based on the Three Act Paradigm made famous by screenwriting instructor Syd Field and then tweaked by many other gurus including David Trottier, John Truby and Michael Hauge.  The page count and percentages of each act for a film is broken down for a 120 page script as follows:  Act 1 is 25%/ 30 pages.  Act 2 is 50%/ 60 pages.  Act 3 is 25%/ 30 pages.

Because Field created his Paradigm by analyzing movies, many non-film writers ask, “Why do I need to study 3-Act Structure?” Well, first off, Syd Field did not create 3-Act Structure.  Aristotle did.  3-Act structure is the most basic of analysis tools that all writers need to have in their analysis toolbox.  Simply put, it means that any story has a beginning, middle and an end.

Without a beginning (set-up), the audience/reader will get thrust into the middle of a conflict with no idea of what’s going on or why they should care about the characters.  Taking the time to set up the Ordinary World is essential to making sure that your audience/reader will have an emotional investment in the characters and their goals.

Without a middle (confrontation), it would be like watching the first and last films in the Harry Potter series and asking, “Hey, when did Neville lose weight, get slightly attractive and suddenly grow a backbone? And what happened to Dumbledore?”

Without an ending (resolution), the audience/reader will feel cheated, like a stilted lover who was never told why the person they loved broke up with them.  Closure is essential in all things in life when we have an emotional investment in them.” 1



Footnote:1 Charles Barrett – Full Sail University


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