Term Paper: Alfred Hitchcock's Movie Psycho

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¶ … Alfred Hitchcock's movie Psycho does not follow Syd Field's classic three act paradigm for screenwriting. Instead, Psycho can be seen as a different kind of screenwriting paradigm, with three distinct acts, but different turning points than Syd Field's classic paradigm.

Syd Field's three act paradigm divides screenplays into three acts, and two plot points. In Act 1, the Setup the main character and his or her situation is developed. At the end of Act 1 is the first plot point, an inciting incident, where something happens to start the story process and change the main character's life. In Act 2, the main character works toward achieving a goal. At the second plot point, the main character usually achieves a goal. Act 3 can be seen as the ending of the film (Field). Field's paradigm essentially describes the large variety of movies made in Hollywood (Field).

There are some movies, however, that defy Field's three act paradigm. Alfred Hitchcock's movie Psycho, is one of the rare exceptions to Syd Field's classic three act paradigm for screenwriting.

Essentially, Psycho's deviation from the three act paradigm revolves around the screenplay's shocking shower scene. Prior to the shower scene, the movie seems to be following the classic paradigm. Act 1 begins by introducing the heroine, Marion, and setting up the story (her affair with Sam and when she steals money from her boss). Until this point in Psycho, the movie follow's Field's paradigm of setting up the main character and the main character's world in Act 1.

However, at the end of Act 1, the first plot point, normally an inciting incident in Field's paradigm, flies in the face of Field's classic three act paradigm. Marion visits the Bates Motel, where she is killed by the villain, Norman Bates. The death of the film's main protagonist is a clear violation of Field's paradigm. In Field's paradigm, the inciting incident… [END OF PREVIEW]

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