Welcome to the ‘Danger Zone.’
Welcome to the ‘Danger Zone.’
Get out your scrunchies and leg warmers, we’re dancing tonight!
Our first stop on the Hulu Summer Road Trip is the city of San Francisco and a screening of the 1968 classic crime thriller Bullitt starring Steve McQueen. The movie has become iconic for two main reasons – one of the greatest car chases of all time, and McQueen’s unintentionally stylish wardrobe.
Editor’s Note: This post is in conjunction with a special summer program on Hulu called Hulu Summer Film School. This summer, Hulu is using some of your favorite films to explore how filmmakers use elements such as sound, cinematography, and lighting to tell powerful stories and create moments that are unforgettable. Learn more at hulu.com/film-school.
Before anyone ever utters “Lights! Camera! Action!” another famous triplet makes its appearance in the filmmaking process: Act One, Act Two, and Act Three.
The Three-Act Structure is the most basic and traditional form of structuring a story for film. While plenty of films can, and do, deviate, the Three-Act Structure remains the tried and true staple of screenwriting. Let’s dig a little deeper into each act, using the comedy classic “Ghostbusters” as a guide.
The purpose of the first act is to introduce the audience to our hero’s world: We experience his status quo. We see what’s missing in his life. We need to know how things are so we can see just how drastic the eventual changes can be.
In Ghostbusters, scientist Peter Venkman and his colleagues live a mundane life as paranormal researchers at a university. Venkman is especially lonely for love, to the point of messing with his own experiments to get close to a woman.
But Act One isn’t all about playing the name game with the hero. It also contains the inciting incident – the first time the hero’s status quo gets shaken up. Sometimes it’s an invitation for change; Other times, the change just lands in their lap. This call-to-action is irresistible: Though heroes may resist, they always give in.
When the university decides to strip their funding, Venkman and his colleagues are dismissed from campus.
Now, with nowhere to go, they decide to start their own little business – the “Ghostbusters.”
The second act in the three-act structure is the main meat of the film and is usually separated into halves by the midpoint. The first half finds our hero embarking on his new journey. He reacts to the inciting incident and follows that path until the story swings in a new direction at the midpoint.
After a crazy yet successful ghost-bust,
the team’s business booms and they quickly become a national sensation.
However, Egon notices that the ghostly activity has been growing quickly. Our midpoint occurs when Zuul, the demon-dog appears. This event twists the story from happy-go-lucky scientists catching cute little ghosts to something much more sinister than they all anticipated: The apocalypse is coming.
After the midpoint, things get dangerous for the hero. The villain makes considerable progress, the hero is in mortal danger, and outside forces from a third party sometimes affect the hero’s fight. The end of Act Two puts the hero at the bottom of the proverbial pit, with the stakes higher than ever and hopes lower than ever.
In Ghostbusters, the government cracks down on the team, shutting them down and releasing all their captured ghosts into the wild.
So while the world is one step closer to the apocalypse, the Ghostbusters find themselves in jail, stripped of their equipment.
In Act Three, the hero must use everything he’s learned over the course of the story to fight back. He’s overpowered, but not outsmarted. The experience of Act Two has armed him with information, skills, and confidence to defeat the villain and restore order to the world.
In Ghostbusters, Venkman and the team convince the city to free them so they can fight Zuul and stop the apocalypse. Zuul is their toughest foe yet, and they fight harder than they ever to save humanity from destruction.
These three scientists go from disrespected fools at a university to the men who save the world. Even lonely ol’ Venkman finds a little bit of love. This is the final function of Act Three: to show how the character’s world from Act One has changed as a result of the story.
Starting with “getting to know you” in Act One, then navigating the labyrinth of Act Two, and ending with the pulse-pounding climax of Act Three, the Three-Act Structure helps divide up a story into the satisfying emotional experience that we’ve all come to know and love: a “movie.”
Most moviegoers don’t notice what studio is behind any particular movie. We see the studio names flash on the screen in the opening credits and then they’re gone. Even to avid film lovers, it’s the movie that matters most. Sometimes the director, often the actors. But the studio for most people just isn’t a piece of information worth retaining, if even worth noticing in the first place.
Over the last couple of decades, though, the name of one studio just refused to lurk beneath the surface. It kept hitting us film buffs again and again, flashing briefly on the screen before movie after movie. And not just on any movies, but those kinds of movies that you talk about with friends, and that stay with you for days afterwards. It just kept repeating itself with a sort of resonant frequency, powered by a host of amazingly talented new creative voices, the raw energy of doing things that were truly new, and a certain taste that defied definition or categorization. Movies that weren’t just entertaining, but that seemed to truly matter.
That studio is Miramax. To anyone who really loves movies, the name Miramax matters.
If they didn’t get you in the early days with Cinema Paradiso or My Left Foot, then they got you later with Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Clerks and Sling Blade … or The English Patient, Trainspotting, Good Will Hunting, and Amelie. Movies that mattered just kept coming with the Miramax name attached. And it wasn’t just “serious” films that Miramax did well. They even managed to make genre films like Scary Movie and Scream break the mold for such films in a way that we just had to notice.
At Hulu, we spend a lot of time thinking about innovation and how to foster it. Apart from how much I love these movies themselves, that is another reason I have so much respect for Miramax. They innovated, and they were absolutely relentless about it for more than 30 years. So, I couldn’t be more excited to announce today that Miramax films and more are coming to Hulu and the Hulu Plus subscription service. On Hulu Plus, 27 titles are available today, with hundreds more to be added steadily over the next month or so. For those of you who are Hulu Plus subscribers, enjoy playing Pulp Fiction and many other great Miramax films in HD today on your Internet-connected TV, phone, or iPad. If you’re not a Hulu Plus subscriber, it’s a great time to try the service free for a week. And, in addition to all these great movies being added to Hulu Plus, starting in mid-June, we’ll be showcasing a selection of Miramax titles each month for free on the ad-supported Hulu service. This is the first time Miramax has made films available to movie fans on an ad-supported, on-demand streaming basis.
There are some films that give you a jolt the first time you see them. The really great ones hit you hard each time you watch. With moments like Uma Thurman and John Travolta’s Batusi dance scene, Samuel L. Jackson’s “Royale with Cheese” French lesson, and Christopher Walken’s warped story about a watch, Pulp Fiction is one of those movies. Each time I see that film, I discover something new, another level of detail from the mind of Quentin Tarantino. Now that it’s available on Hulu Plus, I plan to watch it yet again and see what comes to the surface this time. I hope you do the same: It plays as well today as it did the day it was released. A warm welcome to Vincent and Jules. Great to see you again.
SVP, Content and Distribution