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By David J. Howe

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Benjamin’s inviting Mrs. Robinson to the hotel refocuses the question of whether Benjamin will sleep with Mrs. Robinson, while it also moves toward resolving the tension. Align Action with Character The most dificult thing about the restorative three-act structure is aligning the act breaks, demanded by the action, with the stages of development, needed for clear characterization. Once this has been done, the progress of events will be inevitable. There are many ways to separate Bud from Gekko other than by the potential destruction of Bud’s father’s airline.

Now contrast this story line with that of She’s Gotta Have It. Nola Darling, speaking directly to the camera, tells us she is consenting to this ilm in order to clear her name. We are then taken back into her past where, in a series of interviews and documentary-like scenes, we learn that Nola refuses to choose between her lovers. She insists that she wants them all. The lovers, however, aren’t so understanding, and Jamie, the one she cares most about, inally dumps her. This event throws Nola into a period of despair.

While all stories reveal their meanings over time, restorative three-act stories are particularly horizontal in design. If we halt their forward plot movement, we have little left to organize the story. To create the forward movement, each major scene must push the story toward the plot point, which, with its own circular logic, gains its signiicance because it is the moment toward which the story so carefully builds. This progression leads to a clear hierarchy of values for the viewer—we understand what is important (that which brings us closer to the plot point) Critique of Restorative Three-Act Form 31 and what is merely background (texture and detail).

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