That’s not to say that you need a new location for each act, you just need a new setting within that location. Minimum. But, don’t worry about that, we’ll get into it in much more detail when we talk about the first and second turning points.
WITNESS (1985) is a very good movie to talk about when it comes to settings (and screenwriting in general). It’s written exceptionally well, and has an extremely strong story-
The first act introduces us to Detective John Book, who is charged with protecting a little Amish kid who witnessed a murder (inciting incident). The setting is the police station. At the first turning-
You should probably think of your setting as one of your characters. It’s that important. A good setting enthrals the viewer, draws them in, makes them a part of your world. A bad setting just looks and feels fake.
And, I shouldn’t say ‘setting’ there -
The Second Act happens entirely at the Amish farm. The First Act was at the police station, the Second Act at the farm.
Safe, for the time being, Book falls in love with an Amish Girl (the love-
What do you remember about Apocalypse Now?
The trip up the river, with surfers and explosions and strippers and that french plantation out of the 1800’s (in Redux, at least)?
Finally arriving at Kurtz’s compound -
Notice how those three settings are not just dramatic and visually-
Your setting is more than just a location to shoot at. It’s more than just where your main-
But, it also has to look good -
In Back to the Future, the first act is in Twin Pines (in the present), the second act is in Lone Pines (in the past), and the third act is at the school dance.
In any time-
In Serenity, the first act is in a space-
In Titanic, there are again three settings, despite the fact that it sure as hell looks like there’s only one: on the Titanic.
First, they are safely at a dock and on a perfectly-
In Inception, the settings are real-
In Interstellar, it’s Earth, Space and a tesseract or whatever the hell you call it.