Writing On Spec

An award caliber procrastinator discovers a new and dangerous pursuit to keep him from actually writing another script. Why another Blog? I love to talk screenwriting. I love to talk story. I live in Richmond, VA. It's almost easier to get produced than find another screenwriter here. We are the anti-LA.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Act 3

Wow...time has gone so fast, almost forget about Act 3!

With any luck, Act 3 should be easy.

Well, easier than Act 2, anyway.

It's going to start at the very bottom of the barrel. The worst moment for your character. Everything they've fought for has turned out to be a failure. They've lost (at least that's what they have to think). In the majority of Hollywood cinema, it's a false loss because eventually they will succeed. In European film it's quite often the long dark fall into total failure. Umm... that'll be fun.

Anyway, we're talking about the Hollywood film here, so at around 75% of your film, you have the Darkest Hour moment.

This is followed by a point of discovery. The main character's original plan has failed, but, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, they will be reborn with a new plan. Possibly even a plan that is born out of the B story. It's where they actually get to use the knowledge they've gained in the Special World (i.e. Act 2).

Let's say that again because it's important. The new plan your main character will create to win the day will be hatched because of what they have learned in Act 2 in the Special World.

If they don't go through their experiences in Act 2, they don't grow into the person that can solve the problem that is before them at the end of Act 2. A clear example is the character in Bruce Almighty. He has the power of God in Act 2 - he can do almost anything - anything but make somebody fall in love with him. It's not until he loses his girlfriend that he realizes what he had. With that knowledge, he is able to grow past his career-centric focus and find true happiness.

The finale is going to be almost the last 20% of the story and it will be putting their new plan into action. For Hollywood films it will typically be a success and will end with a final image that's 180 degrees from the opening image. Again, to use Bruce Almighty, it opens with him being embarrassed about his job. He feels humiliated doing his story. However, the last shot of the final act is him turning it around to his advantage and being a much happier person.

If you can manage it, your final image should show just how much your character has grown (or failed to grow) through the story's events. They should be bookends.

2 Comments:

Blogger wcdixon said...

and we...

FADE OUT.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006 at 11:14:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Dave said...

It all seems so easy, eh? :)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006 at 11:41:00 PM EDT  

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