The first act contains a lot of important material. There’s the cold-
That’s a hell of a lot to get done -
Audiences want to know what’s going on, and they want to know it before they get bored -
A screenplay has three acts, and you can probably guess what they are called: the first act, the second act, and the third act.
The first act, as the name suggests, comes first. And, it is also (almost always) the shortest of the three acts. Although, the third act is usually rather short as well. About half of a typical movie ends up being in the second act, give or take.
So, that means that you probably want your first act being around 20 or 25 pages (given the long-
Watch closely every time you see a movie from now on. Watch where the first turning-
Before you even start writing your first act, you are going to need a few things:
Your first act should start off with a bang! Give the audience something that makes them sit up and pay attention.
Just make it exciting! In OLDBOY (2003), the main-
After you’ve grabbed the audience’s attention, you’ll quickly need to introduce your protagonist (if there was a cold-
In a very short period of time, you’re going to need to give the audience a whole bunch of information. Not just everyone’s names and relationships to each other, but large chunks of backstory and plot as well.
You’ll want to reinforce your theme at least once at some point during the First Act. If your theme is about how humans are destroying the planet, you probably want a quick scene where a human beats a dog (or an oil spill soils a shoreline) or something like that.
The First Act ends with what is known as the First Turning-
The end of the first act, or first turning-
The first scene in the screenplay (usually a cold-
For instance, in Armageddon, it’s not space bugs but a killer asteroid that’s coming to destroy the planet. The first scene tells the audience about the danger, that a killer asteroid is coming (inciting incident), but it’s not until the drillers head off to NASA that the first turning-
It should also be noted that the setting you choose for your first act -
With all this stuff that has to be shoe-
Your scenes need to be interesting and engaging in and of themselves. Try to think of each scene as a short film. A work of art. Try to write each scene as if it were the only scene an audience would ever get to see. If you need to introduce Characters A and B -
Make it interesting! Instead of a hallway, it could be the gangplank on a pirate ship, with a throng of angry, sword-
Of course, the interesting thing about the scene doesn’t necessarily have to be the setting. Maybe it’s a good joke. Or an action-
Watch Raiders of the Lost Ark and just try not to imagine how much fun the screenwriter was having writing all those wonderful scenes! Or A Christmas Story. Or Back to the Future. Or Pulp Fiction.