Story Structure In 3 Words by Alan Watt, Founder of L.A. Writers’ Lab

Film Courage: When you see people who come to your classes and they challenge different beliefs about story structure or writing or the need to take classes, do you see they are justified in being angry about certain things? Because you can look at how angry people get over something as innocent as screenwriting and you say “What’s the justification for this?” You can take it or leave it. Take what you like, leave the rest kind of thing. Some people become so dogmatic about certain things and it almost becomes a fight about religion when it’s just screenwriting.

Alan Watt, Author, Screenwriter and Founder of L.A. Writers’ Lab: Right well those kind of people don’t stay very long in a class. And I also have no desire to argue with people or…that’s not true. My interest as a writing teacher is to get to the truth. So if someone is arguing with me about something or is staunchly holding a position, my question is “Is that true? Is what you’re saying true? Let’s explore that. Let’s examine it.” Because I have no dog in this race. I’m not dogmatic at all.

I have been teaching a long time. I’ve been writing a long time. I’ve got a method that I’m teaching people but I don’t know if I would actually call it a method…process that I’m teaching but yeah I don’t get into fights with people about writing. It’s like you believe that and you’re so staunchly holding that point of view well then good. How’s it working for you? Is it helping you with your writing? If it is then great, and if it’s not then…

I see it a lot with writing teachers. I think there are a lot of writing teachers who are…it’s almost like they’ve got to secure their sort of place in the world issuing everything that isn’t what they teach and that can be I’ve seen it a lot where the latest thing is that some writing teachers say the three-act structure is dead it’s, it’s remedial, it’s not going to…it’s going to squash any creativity. The problem with that is that they don’t understand what the three-act structure is because the three-act structure has nothing to do with plotting in my opinion and unfortunately a lot of story structure is taught by story analysts who are sort of brilliant left brain-ers and are really adept at deconstructing a masterpiece and sort of the implication is that now we’ve deconstructed this you should go off and write your masterpiece…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).

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