Film Language Tag: setup

The time taken in a story to establish a character, situation, or motivation. The first act sets up the action that follows in the second act, while the second act sets up the climax in the third act. Certain comic bits require set-up well in advance of the comedic payoff (the punch line) that comes later. Kroon, R. W. A/V a to z: An encyclopedic dictionary of media, entertainment and other Audiovisual terms. McFarland, 2014.


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