When I do my daily writing, questions often pop into my head, and I jot them down to ponder later on. I was going through all the papers on my desk today and couldn't help but wonder: are chapters in novels and sequences in movies structurally equivalent? In other words are chapters used in stories for the same purpose sequences are used in movies?
A chapter is the equivalence in so far that it divides a big chunk (the book) into smaller sections. But for a novel you have much more freedom as in a movie script which follows traditional structures.
Have you ever wondered why most movies are made for certain length? They are usually around 75 min, 90 min or 120 min. These numbers are multiplier of 15.
In the old days cinemas got the movies on reels which contained 15 minutes of film each. If you go for a 120 minutes movie with 15 minutes per reel you need: 120:15 = 8 reels.
So movies were divided into 8 sequences (one sequence per reel). These sequences were adapted to the three act structure:
- Act I: Sequences 1 and 2
- Act II: Sequences 3 and 4 - Midpoint - sequences 5 and 6
- Act III: Sequences 7 and 8
For more details see CJ's Corner.