If your denouement is 2 or 3 minutes, your climax is 3 or 4, your final battle is the same, and you need a few minutes to wrap up your love-
And, we haven’t even talked about your biggest sequence in the Third Act -
This could be a large chase, it could be a fire-
This could take 5 or 10 minutes alone, just for the Big-
There’s so little space available in your Third Act that you’ll want to get the ball rolling right away. You only have maybe 25 or so pages to accomplish A LOT. You’re starting with a protagonist who’s just been beaten in some horrific manner (not beaten in the fist-
So, add all that up, and you’ve easily filled every second of your Third Act. So, there’s no time for dawdling. You need to pick up the action and go. Which, of course, bodes poorly for the beginning of your Third Act where you need your protagonist to think outside-
Think of Act 3 being in quarters: the first quarter is giving your protagonist hope, the second quarter is the big action sequence, the third quarter is the conclusion (final battle and climax), and the fourth quarter is the denouement and the new status quo.
In the Third Act of Serenity, the good guys simply have to send a video to the world. They basically need YouTube and an internet connection. That’s it. That’s all.
But, what happens?
They trick one alien army into chasing them -
But, it gets even better. They crash-
There’s even a pit of despair, when everything looks lost (and River just has to be dead), an epic final battle between the antagonist and the protagonist with twists and turns, a false-
Now, when I mention ‘big action’ I don’t just mean action-
Whatever the action is -
This is the conclusion of your story. This is where you want excitement. Where you want your viewers on the edge of their seats.
Your biggest action sequences should be at the very beginning (in the first half of the first act to hook the viewer) and at the very end (right before the final confrontation and the climax).
Give your audience what they want!
Jackie Chan is a master of that. He’s been giving audiences exactly what they’ve wanted for literally decades now. His films have earned billions.
Just look at how big the action is in one of his best movies (and, arguably, the best kung fu movie of all time) Drunken Master II (see the Americanized version if you have to, but the original Hong Kong version is better):