SCREENWRITING: Think in layers

SCREENWRITING: Think in layers

1 min read

Think in layers. Think in threads.

This is a great tool to use in screenwriting. It's what I call a 'layer' tool - sometimes called 'thread-tool'.

You can think of your story in independent layers/threads that work together. This is different from thinking purely in ACTS. We're moving beyond that, though this does not substitute it, it's meant to improve the ACTS approach.

Let's use simple examples.

  1. Garden
  2. Weather

Now split these into three acts internally.


  • A) Mud
  • B) Seeds
  • C) Trees


  • A) Clouds
  • B) Rain
  • C) Sun

Now you've split two story threads into three. Let's make them work together internally.

  • SCENE: We see the muddy (A) ground. Looking up the sky, we notice clouds (A).
  • SCENE: We see someone planting seeds (B), a close up of their hand reveals that it's raining (B).
  • SCENE: We see the same hand that was planting seeds, the muddy ground has transformed.  The sun (C) is shining on big trees (C).

TASK: Create your own example of an element/story that can be split into three acts and make them work together.