Movie Structure Breakdown: Obvious Child

Title: Obvious Child

Format: Movie

Released: 2014

Written and Directed By: Gillian Robespierre

Run Time: 80 Minutes

Character: Donna Stern


A character in an Imperfect Situation faces Oppressive Opposition as he pursues an Initial Goal. But when there is a Disturbance to his routine, he faces a Dilemma regarding his situation, and must assume a New Role.

Recently dumped, soon-to-be unemployed comedienne, Donna (the imperfect situation) struggles to get on with her life (oppressive opposition) as she tries to get over her ex (initial goal). But when she has a one night stand with a nice, straitlaced guy (the disturbance) she discovers she is pregnant (the dilemma) and decides to get an abortion (the new role).

The Imperfect Situation: Donna’s boyfriend breaks up with her for one of their friends. The bookstore she works at is being closed. Her relationship with her mother is strained. She can’t get over her ex. She’s a drunken mess.

Initial Goal: Get over Ryan

Oppressive Opposition: Donna’s mother is on her back for not taking her future seriously. Her ex is moving on with his life while she struggles to do the same.

Turning Point Catalyst – The Disturbance:  After bombing at stand-up, Donna meets a straitlaced guy whom she hits it off with. After a night of partying they sleep together.

Turning Point One – The Dilemma: Start Time: 29 minutes (36.3%) – While trying on clothes, Donna realizes her boobs are sore and, combined with her late period, deduces that she is pregnant. She resolves to get an abortion.

The New Role: An aborter.

Act Run Time: 34 of 80 minutes (42.5%)



The character Learns the Rules of an Unfamiliar Situation and faces Incidental Opposition in pursuit of a Transitional Goal. But when he receives a Reality Check, he makes a Commitment to his New Role.

Act Start Time: 34 of 80 Minutes (42.5%)

Donna is pregnant (the unfamiliar situation) but isn’t far enough along in her pregnancy (incidental opposition) to get the abortion (transitional goal). But when Max comes to her job to ask her out (the reality check) she wonders if she should tell him about her abortion plans (the commitment).

The Unfamiliar Situation: Donna is prego and getting an abortion. Two firsts, one stone.

Transitional Goal: Get an abortion

Incidental Opposition: She isn’t far enough along in her pregnancy to get the abortion and must wait until Valentine’s Day. Her impregnator, Max, unexpectedly shows up at her job and she wonders if she should tell him about the abortion.  

Turning Point Catalyst – The Reality Check: Max comes into the store as Donna and Nellie are packing up books. He asks her out, but she’s in a bad place and doesn’t want to talk to him.

Turning Point Two – The Commitment: Start Time: 41 of 80 Minutes (51.3%) – Donna has dinner with Nellie and Joey and decides to tell Max she’s pregnant and having an abortion.

Act Run Time: 10 of 80 minutes (12.5%)



The character stumbles into the Central Conflict and faces Intentional Opposition in pursuit of a False Goal. But when there is a grave Turn of events, he has a Moment of Truth.

Act Start Time: 44 of 80 Minutes (55%)

Donna waffles over who she should tell (the central conflict) and fails to even tell her mother (intentional opposition) before attempting to tell Max (false goal). But when Max shows up at her mom’s house out of the blue (the turn) Donna attempts to tell him over lunch and fails (the moment of truth).

The Central Conflict: Donna vs. whether she wants to tell Max about her abortion.

False Goal: Tell Max (and to a degree, her mother) she is pregnant and getting an abortion.

Intentional Opposition: Donna first attempts to tell her mother about the abortion, only to be blown off. Max mentions his dreams of having a family and Donna hesitates to tell him.

Turning Point Catalyst – The Turn: While Donna is hanging out at her mom’s house, Max, who is revealed to be a student of her mom’s, shows up unexpectedly.

Turning Point Three – The Moment of Truth: Start Time: 47 of 80 minutes (58.8%) – Donna agrees to lunch with Max and tries to tell him about her situation, but he brings up how he’d like to be grandpa and she can’t do it.

Act Run Time: 6 of 80 minutes (7.5%)



The character implements a Doomed Plan and faces Self-Inflicted Opposition in pursuit of a Penultimate Goal. But when an unthinkable Lowpoint occurs, he pulls himself together and discovers a Newfound Resolve.

Act Start Time: 50 of 80 Minutes (62.5%)

Donna goes to a flat with Sam, blowing off Max (the doomed plan) and faces Sam’s awkward advances (self-inflicted opposition) instead of telling Max about the abortion (penultimate goal). But when Sam tries to sleep with her she realize she was wrong (the lowpoint) and decides again to tell Max the truth after an intimate conversation with her mom (the newfound resolve).

The Doomed Plan: Donna goes to a flat with Sam, a long time admirer of hers in whom she has no interest, blowing off Max in the process.

Penultimate Goal: Don’t tell Max she’s pregnant and getting an abortion.

Self-Inflicted Opposition: Donna spends an evening with Sam, despite the fact that his unreciprocated advances have caused issued in the past.

Turning Point Catalyst – The Lowpoint: Donna goes with Sam to the loft he’s house sitting. He tries to sleep with her.

Turning Point Four – The Newfound Resolve: Start Time: 58 of 80 minutes (72.5%) Donna goes to her mom’s, reveals she is pregnant and gets a motivational speech about her mom’s own abortion.

Act Run Time: 12 of 80 minutes (15%)



The character tries a Longshot and faces Ultimate Opposition while trying to accomplish the Ultimate Goal. But just when it seems All is Lost, he makes a Final Push against the forces of antagonism and either succeeds or fails.

Act Start Time: 62 of 80 minutes (77.5%)

Donna resolves to come clean to Max (the longshot) but he dutifully avoids her (ultimate opposition) when she tries to tell him about the abortion (ultimate goal). But when she finally tells him in front of the audience as part of her routine and he leaves, (all is lost) he shows up as she is heading to the clinic and asks to come with her for support (the final push).

The Longshot: Donna resolves to tell Max the truth.

Ultimate Goal: Tell Max you’re getting an abortion.

Ultimate Opposition: After the Sam incident, Max seems to be avoiding her and won’t return her calls.

Turning Point Catalyst – All is Lost: Donna tells Max (and the audience) she’s getting an abortion when he comes to her stand-up act. Max leaves before her set ends.

Turning Point Five – The Final Push: Start Time: 70 of 80 (87.5%) – Max shows up as Donna and Nellie are waiting for their cab to take them to the abortion clinic. Max apologizes for leaving during her standup. Donna’s name is called for the procedure, but before she leaves she and Max hug.

Act Run Time: 15 of 80 minutes (18.8%)



Having accomplished (or failed to have accomplished) the Ultimate Goal, the character is shown living in a New Situation.

Act Start Time: 77 of 80 minutes (96.3%)

Donna and Max now relax and get to know each other while putting the past behind them.

The New Situation: Donna has had an abortion. She and Max veg out, watching Gone with the Wind. If they can make it through that they can make it through anything.

Act Run Time: 3 of 80 minutes (3.75%)

To learn more about six act structure, purchase your copy of “Actions and Goals: The Story Structure Secret” today!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *