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Do you let your main-character wallow in his own pity (in the Pit of Despair), or do you have him buck-up, pull up his trousers, and get to work?

Eventually, though, you’re going to have to give him a glimmer of hope. A little ray of sunshine that portends that the quest isn’t actually over.

There’s still a chance!…

Remember how we were talking about making sure your screenplay was filled with ups and downs? How, every time something good happens to your protagonist, you should probably have something bad coming just around the corner? Well, it’s the same thing here. Right after everything looks bleakest - give the protagonist (and

The Second Turning-Point was pretty much the worst thing that could possibly have happened to your protagonist. It turned everything on its head. The quest is now impossibly far away. Defeat looks certain.

What do you do now?

the audience) a ray of hope! Right after you show the audience that the quest is impossible - show them that (maybe, just maybe) it’s not impossible after all!

Whatever goes up - must come down.

And vice-versa.

You’ve got to give your protagonists hope. Because if you aren’t giving the protagonist hope, you aren’t giving the audience any hope either.

You’ve probably dreamed about being rich. So, it would be tempting to write a screenplay about a main-character who starts poor and then just gets richer and richer. Where good things just happen to him over and over again.

But, would you want to watch that movie?

No. Humans might love to rubber-neck at ostentatious wealth, but we don’t want to see a movie about good things continually happening to good people. Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous might work on tv, but it would never work in a film.

In films, we want to see characters that overcome adversity, not ones who never experience it! We want to see characters who are tragically unlucky, not perennially lucky.

Now, of course, one of you smart-alecks out there is going to write a script (called Kismet or Lucky or something like that presumably) about a guy who magically inherits super-luck.

He wins the lottery every time he plays it. Beautiful women literally fall all over themselves to sleep with him. A series of hilarious coincidences lead him on a crazy adventure. But… His luck doesn’t work on the girl he loves. Nothing works on her. He tries everything and it’s not enough.

He ends up having to trick her into dating him! Everything goes well - for a while. Until, of course, she finds out. They break up. He gets depressed and lets himself go to hell. The luck doesn’t even interest him anymore. Eventually, he realizes that he can’t force the world to be the way he wants it to be. He gives up his luck forever and has to rush across the city to the airport before her flight leaves. But, with bad luck now, everything goes horrendously wrong and he can’t make it in time due to all the new obstacles in his way. He arrives at the last second, professes his undying love for her. Something funny and extremely unlucky happens to him as they are about to kiss. He lies in his hospital bed with his girl by his side as his bad luck is passed to someone else in a humorous fashion. The End.

Look at how good a story you can come up with - in seconds, off the top of your head - after reading this site! You can turn almost any stupid-idea into a Hollywood film overnight.

I should take a minute now to mention that…

You don’t have to write your script exactly the way I’m telling you! I’m trying to be as vague as possible, so my advice fits pretty much any story imaginable. You don’t have to put all these scenes in exactly the same place I’m putting them. There’s a lot of leeway.

You don’t have to do everything I’m telling you.

But, if you aren’t going to heed my advice and you decide to break the rules - at least know which rules you are breaking and why! You have to know the rules before you can break them.

So, don’t look at your script and think something’s wrong because you don’t have a Pit of Despair or because your First Turning Point comes at page 10. If it works - it works! These are just guidelines that have been honed over the last 100+ years. Guidelines that tend to make watchable films that connect with the audience.

That being said…

You do still want almost everything I’m teaching you in your script - at roughly the locations I’m telling you to put them.

If your first turning-point doesn’t come until Hour 2 of your film, your film’s going to be boring as all hell.

If you don’t have a first or second turning-point, your audience is going to be confused and have no idea what your story’s about.

Try to aim for at least 80% of what you’re learning here - going directly into your screenplay! Once in a while you can ignore my advice, but try to stick roughly to it.

100 years of Hollywood history has shown us that this story-structure works. These scenes work. And, when you write your screenplay based around these principles, you are more likely to get that screenplay produced. And far more likely to get those large audience figures everyone covets so much.

On this website, I’m teaching you about the equivalent of what you’d learn in a top-quality one-year film-school program. So, one screenwriting class for about a year. Two or three semesters. Of course, this isn’t enough time to teach you everything about writing for film, I have to write in generalities here. So, there is a little bit more to this writing stuff than I can get-across in a small website.

If you really want to learn everything about screenwriting, you’ll probably need to get an actual degree in screenwriting (MFA or BFA). Here’s a list of screenwriting schools.

Writing Your Screenplay’s Peaks and Valleys: How to Write a Movie Script or Screenplay: FORWARD The Third Act - There’s Still Hope!

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The First Act of your Three-Act Structure. This is where you introduce your main characters to the audience and get the plot rolling. The end of your 1st Act comes with the First Turning Point, the point at which your protagonist chooses his quest The 2nd Act - Where the bulk of your plot goes. Confrontation - this is where your protagonist confronts the status quo and attempts to change it for the better Your 2nd Act can't end without your Second Turning Point! Things may seem bleak for your protagonist, but all is not lost yet! There is still hope!... Backstory - what happened in the past. Exposition, expository dialogue, etc... It all comes down to this - your climax! The end of your story. The conclusion. The one thing everyone in the audience wants to know: does the protagonist win? The 3rd Act - the final act in your three-act structure, where everything is decided, the climax, the conclusion, the end. Your Film's Theme - what your movie is really about. The undercurrent. The second act of your screenplay should be filled with ups and downs, dramatically speaking of course. Like a roller-coaster. It's all about creating conflict and drama. BACK Welcome to SCREENPLAY.today - your free online screen-writing program - learn how to write a screenplay for free! Free Online Screenplay Writing Course from SCREENPLAY.today - screenwriting advice, help, information, hints, tips & tricks