Tag Archives: screenplay structure

Real to Reel to Reel too Real

Latest The God Project Dot Net claim proving our utter clinical insanity in a world gone mad: That standard Hollywood screenplay structure as taught at pagan institutions globally is unknowingly soaked, steeped, marinated and architected by none other than the Jesus story as written by those woefully underpaid early screenwriters Mark, Luke, Matthew and John.

Last time we laid out what that screenplay “structure” looks like. Herewith, we present the Gospel parallel:

The New Testament Screenplay Blueprint

3 Acts: Standard Hollywood Structure (SHS) demands three Acts, each of which take place in a different location. Each Act starts at dawn. Act 1 ends up-beat, Act 2 ends down-beat, Act 3 ends up.

The Jesus story has 3 Acts — Act 1 is in Galilee and covers Jesus’ birth and preparation for ministry … Act 2 is outside Galilee in the rural areas as Jesus preaches with his band of sidekicks … Act 3 takes place in Jerusalem and includes his trial and death.

SHS demands an incident at 10 minutes (sometimes called the “Inciting Incident“) that shakes up the routines that have been presented in the opening scenes. Jesus’ birth is the Inciting Incident.

At 20 minutes, there is an important meeting or landing and the formation of the Heroes’ team — Jesus meets John the Baptist, who is his first team member and starts his ministry by baptizing him.

30 — SHS demands an odd mini-war where the Enemy does something evil to raise the stakes. Jesus goes into the desert here and is tempted by Satan (the ultimate Enemy).

Act 2 starts at 40 minutes — Jesus starts his ministry proper here. He’s assembled his 12 core team members (aka disciples). This is the “Love Act” where we slow down and get to like the good guys, seeing them at their best: Jesus turns water in wine, cures sick people, delivers inspiring Sermons on the Mount, etc.

At 60half-way up the mountain! — SHS requires a sudden physical event that amounts to a declaration of open war on the Hero. This is the point when Herod executes John the Baptist. So starts Jesus’ fatal war with the Jewish authorities.

Somewhere before the end of Act 2, SHS asks that the Hero has a kind of “leap of faith” — s/he commits to the journey totally and the ultimate goal becomes clearer. Here is Jesus’ transfiguration when he reveals himself as divine to Peter and James and predicts his own death.

Act 3 begins at 80 minutes — SHS demands a scene change (often at dawn). Jesus goes into Jerusalem on a donkey and will not leave until after his death.

SHS asks for a series of escalating thrusts-and-parries among the Hero and his allies and the Enemy. Jesus complies mightily, taking on the moneychangers, the high priest Caiaphas and the Jewish authorities, and the Romans.

In the midst of the escalating tensions, SHS requires a major Revelation or Betrayal at 90 minutes. One word: Judas.

The ending of the SHS is the most predictable section: a confrontation with the Enemy’s subordinates, the Enemy itself … Jesus’ trials before the Sanhedrin and Pilate are archetypal, as is his Passion (the cross, the flogging, foul language) ….

Here’s where I think the SHS gets most explicitly Biblical. Think about your typical action movie — how Bruce Willis or Rocky or The Rock is physically knocked around almost to the point of death … and at a certain point, they literally almost die. Remember E.T.? He’s dead … No, he’s not!

Parallels with Jesus are obvious. Pay attention next time you’re at the multiplex. See if there aren’t 3 acts — up, down, up. See if there isn’t a major Judas-like Betrayal in Act 3. See if the Hero doesn’t get beaten up (physically and/or emotionally) and “die” … only to rise again!

It’s sort of unsettling if you think about it too much, as we have. Why?