I want to write something completely different than the same old movies we see....
That desire to create something different is going to serve you well in the writing process; hang on tight to that feeling!
First though, let me ask you a couple of questions. Who is the intended audience for your work? Are you thinking of a film that would appeal to an art-house crowd? Maybe you’re planning an experimental novel? Or are you hoping for a mainstream distribution deal for what you’re writing? The closer your intended audience is to the mainstream, the more thoroughly your story should be grounded in the standard 3-act structure – beginning, middle and end.
Next, let’s look at your bias against the 3-act structure. It is certainly true some really terrible movies have been created within the context of this format. But WOW, what about the really inventive films that have also adhered to it? Films like Shakespeare in Love, Groundhog Day, Juno, The Fall, and Arrival are all firmly grounded in the 3-act structure too. What gives?
Many beginning screenwriters lay some really bad movies at the feet of the 3-act structure. But writing screenplays is a lot like writing sonnets (you know, Shakespeare - iambic pentameter, that stuff) in that it follows a strict format that can produce some absolutely timeless writing. For instance, Shakespeare’s “Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer Day.” Or conversely, the really horrible sonnet I wrote my sophomore year in college. I had the format down pat, but Shakespeare would have rolled over in his grave.
Great sonnets, like great screenplays, challenge writers to search for a completely fresh aspect on a timeless theme – and then test their inventiveness in pouring their story idea into a ‘jug’ of specific proportions. The bad movies you’ve seen aren’t a result of the 3-act structure, but a result of the lack of skill or persistence on the part of the writer.
I hope this helps. And I wish you lots of luck with your writing, whatever format you choose.