Home Start Here Screenwriting Cheat Sheet Film Analysis

What is the best online screenwriting software to use?

Where can I find the top screenwriting schools?

Can I get a screenwriting MFA?

What are the best schools for screenwriting?

What are the top screenwriting schools and film schools?

Contact Info

What is the best free online screenwriting course?


We are nearing the halfway point of your screenplay - and everything is looking good for your protagonist!

He’s well on his way to achieving his goal, succeeding in his quest. You’ve given him some ups and downs along the way. Some hard-fought victories, some soul-crushing defeats.

But, for now, everything’s going well in your protagonist’s life.

It’s time to enjoy the last little bit of happiness he’ll have until the denouement.

Savour it.

It won’t last long.

The mid-point of many second acts is a false-victory or defeat.

If you are planning on using one of those as one of your plot points, you should be planning for it now.

If you are coming up to a false-victory at your mid-point (where the protagonist appears to win - only to have the rug pulled right out from underneath them), then your ‘Everything Is Looking Good’ scene might actually be the lead-up to that scene. Or, it might be part of that scene itself.

If you are coming up to a false-defeat at your midpoint (where the protagonist appears to lose or be defeated, only to be given a second chance), then you want your ‘Everything Is Looking Good’ scene to be right before that, within a few scenes or sequences of the false-defeat.

In Jaws, this scene would be when the town holds a shark-hunting festival and the locals drag in a shark. The threat appears to be over. The beach-goers are safe. Everything is looking good.

Of course, that’s not going to last for very long!...

In Star Wars, this scene comes when they fly in the Millennium Falcon to Alderaan. At that point in the movie, the good guys have won. They’ve got the plans and all they need to do is deliver them to Alderaan. It’s over. They’ve won. Everything is looking good…

Then (at the mid-point) they arrive at Alderaan - and the entire planet’s been destroyed! And, worse yet, they get locked-onto with a tractor-beam and pulled into the Death Star.

In seconds, they go from the throes of victory to the agony of defeat (false-victory).

Always get in that habit. Whenever things are going well for your protagonist, whenever it looks like he might win - turn the tables on him! Snatch that victory away. Find a way to turn a seeming-victory into a sure-defeat.

In The Martian, just before the false-victory is snatched away from our poor stranded astronaut, he’s managed to grow a field of potatoes right inside his habitat module. He’s got enough food to survive until he’s rescued! He’s won. He’s gone from certain-death → to near-certain-life.

Everything is looking great!

Until it’s not.

The hydrogen blows up and exposes his poor potatoes to the Martian atmosphere. Everything is dead. There’s no way to resuscitate it. It’s over.

It’s not a coincidence that the screenwriter chose to have him win right before the mid-point. Just like it’s no coincidence that his mid-point was a false-victory. Every script in Hollywood follows this template.

Writing Your Script’s Second Act: Everything is Looking Up for Your Protagonist! FORWARD The Second Act - Everything’s Looking Great!  Right Up Until It’s Not…

Screenwriting Articles:

Creating this site took a lot of time and effort (not to mention money). For every person who studies these pages thoroughly and learns all they can about screenplay structure, I make around ten or twenty cents.

Cents. That was not a typo.

At the very least, I’ve saved you a ton of money in screenwriting courses or scriptwriting books, film schools, colleges, whatever.

If you would like to help out, I do offer script-notes and my own unique version of coverage for your screenplay.

Or, if you just want to say thanks, I offer a ten-dollar ‘diploma’ (really just a postcard).

If you are a film-producer, I offer a service that will be invaluable to you (and very few other producers ever take advantage of): I can tell you if your screenplay is worth shooting - or if you’re likely to lose your shirt!

Perhaps you have a stack of screenplays on your desk. I can tell you which one is the best. Or which one is the better investment.

Please see this page for more details.

Or, if you just want a postcard, please look to your right. >

Get Script Notes & Coverage for Your Screenplay $10

Well, really just a post-card...

‘I finished a SCREENPLAY.TODAY and all I got was this lousy postcard!’

Get Your Diploma!



















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