If you want to create a persuasive presentation, take a page out of the screenwriter’s playbook. Screenwriters use tools to create a solid structure and story. Syd Field is considered the father of Hollywood’s story template. In his book Screenplay, Field uses concepts from the three-act structure first proposed by Aristotle to create the Syd Field Paradigm, shown below. Field noticed that in successful movies, the second act was often twice the length of the first and third acts:

Syd Field's Paradigm

• ACT 1 sets the story up by introducing characters, creating relationships, and establishing the hero’s unfulfilled desire, which holds the plot in place.

• ACT 2 presents dramatic action held together by confrontation. The main character encounters obstacles that keep him or her from achieving his or her desire (dramatic need).

• ACT 3 resolves the story. Resolution doesn’t mean ending, but rather solution. Did the main character succeed or fail?4

All stories have a beginning, middle, and an end. There’s a defining point in which the beginning turns into the middle and middle into the end. Field calls these plot points. A plot point is defined as any incident, episode, or event that spins the story around in another direction. Each plot point sets up the story for a change. Learn more about creating compelling stories by exploring the multimedia version of Resonate.

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