The Sequence Method Of Sequence Analysis, By Frank Daniel

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Sequence Theory:

The sequence method of script analysis, also known as “eight-sequence structure”, was developed by Frank Daniel, whilst head of the the Screenwriting Program at USC. It is based partly on the fact that, in the earliest days of cinema, technical requirement meant screenwriters had to structure their stories in sequences, each approximately the length of a reel of film.
The sequence method mimics this early practise. The story is divided up into eight 10–15 minute blocks or sequences. These sequences are then treated as “mini-movies” within the whole, each with its own compressed three-act structure. Sequences one and two combine to form the Act 1. The next four sequence correspond to Act2. The final two sections form the resolution
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The main tensions and the narrative engine will be firmly established by the time this sequence is completed. The second sequence ends with the first plot point and the main character firmly locked into the story and catapulted into act two in pursuit of their goals.


SEQUENCE THREE – First Obstacle & Raising the Stakes

In pursuit of their goal the protagonist will encounter obstacles. The first is faced here. The protagonist’s options are narrowing. Exposition left out of Act 1 is often inserted here. This new exposition can make both the main conflict and any new conflicts/subplots have even higher stakes.

SEQUENCE FOUR – First Culmination/Midpoint

A higher obstacle and the story’s rising action builds to the First Culmination/Midpoint. The Midpoint Mirror is often observed here. The Midpoint can parallel the resolution of the film. (roughly - If it is a tragedy in which our hero dies or is defeated then the first midpoint tends be a low point for our character. If our protagonist is triumphant in the end then sequence four can end with him winning in some way.

SEQUENCE FIVE – Subplot & Rising
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So, if the protagonist ultimately wins by the end of the film, then they can experience their lowest point here in the script.


SEQUENCE SEVEN – New Tension & Twist

The establishment of the third act tension with all its exposition. The apparent solution of the central dramatic question from the last sequence shows its weaknesses here. Last minute plot twists are encountered. The action can be simpler and faster with rapid, short scenes and no elaborate set-ups. The twist if there is one ends this sequence or come at the very start of the next one.


There is nothing to find here but the resolution. The narrative must finish itself. Clarity is vital. A brief epilogue can finish this sequence and the story.

Hero’s Journey/Monomyth – 12 Stages.

A structure derived from Joseph Campbell's Monomyth theory taken from his book The Hero With A Thousand Faces and adapted by Christopher Vogler as the 12 Stage Hero's Journey. Essentially a detailed study of the Character Arc for your protagonist/hero which can be seen to match the more traditional three-act
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