Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2

Movie: Directed by David Yates. Inciting Event: Harry and the others go to Bellatrix’s vault at Gringotts bank to discover the next horcrux—the Hufflepuff cup. They barely escape with their lives. This isn’t, as such, a particularly great Inciting Event. It serves more as a reminder of the main conflict than an initiating of it—which […]

Pixar Good Dinosaur

The Good Dinosaur

Inciting Event: Arlo the dinosaur’s chronic fear has been keeping him as the only family member to not have made his “mark” on the family farm’s storage silo. The Mark is a muddy footprint on its wall, given when a family member does something bigger than himself. In an effort to break Arlo of his crippling […]

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 1

Inciting Event: Mad Eye engineers a plan to mask Harry’s “trace” as they smuggle everyone to the Weaseleys’s Burrow for Bill and Fleur’s wedding. Along the way, everyone is betrayed and attacked by Voldemort’s Death Eaters. Mad Eye is killed. Sometimes the early structure in later books in a series can get tricky—since the conflict […]

Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

Inciting Event: Anakin saves Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. Palpatine goads him into killing Count Dooku in anger (sending him farther down the path of the Dark Side) instead of turning him in for justice (this also eliminates Darth Sidious’s frenemy Dooku as a rival and opens the way for Anakin to become the new Sith apprentice). […]

Star Wars Return of the Jedi

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

Inciting Event: Before the Inciting Event, a new Death Star is nearly finished and operational, and soon the Empire will become unstoppable because of it. The Inciting Event takes a while before we reach it, because in the Dirst Act, the mission to rescue Han Solo is a mini-adventure in itself that shows Luke has […]

Star Wars Attack of the Clones

Star Wars: Attack of the Clones

Inciting Event: Anakin Skywalker is assigned to protect Padmé Amidala after she is almost assassinated. First Plot Point: A second assassination attempt leads to Anakin and Padmé hiding out on Naboo, where he begins a forbidden romance with her, thus breaking the Jedi code against forming attachments. Meanwhile, Anakin’s mentor, Obi-Wan, tracks down clues about […]

Kiki's Delivery Service Studio Ghibli

Kiki’s Delivery Service

Inciting Event: After leaving home to begin her training, Kiki falls asleep in a train that takes her to the city. I would argue that the true Inciting Event is Kiki’s departure from home, even though it happens so early in the act. But we still get a definite, if subtle, turning point right here. […]

Aladdin Disney


Inciting Event: The evil wizard Jafar seeks the absolute power contained in the lamp, but fails to obtain it. He begins his search for the “Diamond in the Rough,” who is the one who can obtain the lamp. This is, of course, Aladdin, the title character. Princess Jasmine, tired of being stuck in the palace […]

Disney Hercules 1997

Hercules (1997)

Inciting Event: After hearing the Fates prophesy that his plans to take over Olympus will fail if Zeus’ newborn son Hercules fights in the battle, Hades commands his minions to feed Hercules a potion that will make him mortal. However, they fail to force feed him the last drop, leaving him supernaturally strong. This is […]

Star Wars Phantom Menace

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

Inciting Event: Darth Sidious, a Dark Lord of the Sith, orders an invasion of the planet Naboo and the assassination of Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan. First Plot Point: The Jedi Knights survive the murder attempt, and flee to Tatooine with the Queen to replace her hyperdrive, which was damaged in the escape. There, they encounter Anakin […]