Forum icon  ForumsTen Forward → Summary 'acts' (replywatch)
This forum discussion has been archived
This forum discussion has been archived and should not be added to. Please visit the Forums to begin a new topic in the relevant location.

Could someone please explain to me how to break up an episode into acts. I usually go based on commercial breaks, but I've seen several ways. Is there a standard? Thanks for any help. --Nmajmani 01:52, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

That is the standard. Each act is separated by the commercial breaks. :) -- Sulfur 01:55, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

OK. That's good to know for future summary writings. Thanks again Sulfur. --Nmajmani 11:40, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

Just curious, Nmajmani: What were the other "several ways" that you say you have seen? 18:17, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

In VOY: "Caretaker", the acts seem to be divided based on events in the plotline, not on commercial breaks. Also, some time travel episodes are based on the time periods, not the commercial breaks. Those were the two main ways which confused me. --Nmajmani 18:25, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

In the two cases that I've done it (for DS9: "Rapture" and DS9: "The Begotten") I based it on the actual Acts in the script taken from the DS9 Companion CD. My experience of Star Trek episodes here in the UK has been through BBC 2 and latterly through DVDs, neither of which have commercial breaks, so I would never know where the commercial breaks fall in any given episode... and on a related point, are commercial breaks put in the same places in each country? In the US it's customary to cut to commercials following the title sequence, but the commercial channels here in the UK don't do that... it's a bit American-centric to divide up episode summaries on Memory Alpha just based on the way commercials were aired in the US! -- Taduolus 11:15, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
Well, as nice as that is to say, the shows were written for US television in the classic "hour long drama" style. There's a very precise form for that, and yes, it includes an ad break immediately after the opening titles. On the DVDs, you can usually see where the ad breaks fell because there is a brief moment where it ends on a "tease" and goes to black. So, yes, while it may be "American-centric", well, that's because that's how the show was written. Sorry to disappoint. -- Sulfur 11:31, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
My apologies, Sulfur, I certainly didn't mean to snipe :) My point was really that the scripts are a reliable way of finding out exactly where the Acts were divided up, without having to scan for commercial breaks (and without those of us not in the US having to adjust our thinking to US conventions of where the commercial breaks would be, rather than where our own national broadcasters chose to put them - which could be confusing!). I'm aware, though, that not everybody has access to the scripts. I have all the DS9 scripts on the DS9 Companion CD, but am not even sure if similar script libraries are available for the other shows? I'm not such a devoted fan of the others, so have never looked into it! Anyway, I hope you weren't offended by my "American-centric" remark, it wasn't meant to be nasty in any way at all :) -- Taduolus 12:18, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
Heck, not offended at all. I'm not an American either. It was more the explanation... or an attempt at one. :)
I believe that the TNG scripts are also available on CD (but may be wrong). For the rest, it's all about finding the transcripts online. -- Sulfur 12:25, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

The only reason I asked in the first place was because I was doing some summaries for a couple time travel episodes. When I did the summary for "Ship in a Bottle", I did it off of the DVDs, because I never trust what short cuts are made during broadcasts. In the DVD's, as Sulfur said, there is usually a fade to black, followed by the next scene. The only time I've seen it different is when watching "Broken Bow", which is why I have another question. In several ENT episodes, there is no gradual fade, but a rather sudden drop to black. Is that a commercial break? Just want to know as I am working on a couple summaries for those episodes. --Nmajmani 12:28, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

It's great that you're filling in episode summaries, really. Howbout: If you don't ~know~ where the acts break, don't organize your summary in acts. Just don't worry about it, and proceed with the rest of your contribution.