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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-story and sub-plots - its easy to see how quickly you can run out of space!

And, we haven’t even talked about your biggest sequence in the Third Act - the Big-Action!

This could be a large chase, it could be a fire-fight, it could be anything. But, it should be the biggest! The most exciting. The most epic. It’s the final-battle (before the real final-battle between the antagonist and the protagonist), so make it a good one!

This could take 5 or 10 minutes alone, just for the Big-Action-Sequence - easily!

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-sense, beaten in the downtrodden sense), whose quest is now a near-impossibility. You have to get him on his feet - and finding a solution to his problem - FAST!

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-the-box and come at the problem in a completely new and unique manner. That sort of sequence takes time - something you have very little of.

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 - right into their enemies! You end up with a gigantic space-battle all over sending a video. Now, that’s Big Action!

But, it gets even better. They crash-land on the transmitter - and are forced to make a valiant last-stand against their pursuers! There are sword battles, laser fights, explosions everywhere.

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-defeat (when the Operative uses his special move on Mal) and then an actual victory when it doesn’t actually work (due to Mal’s character-flaw, well a physical-flaw of his character’s anyway). There’s even a character-arc that allows Mal to win in the end (he learns to be less selfish and fight for what’s right).

Now, when I mention ‘big action’ I don’t just mean action-scenes, like in action-movies. I mean any action that’s exciting for your plot. Maybe your big action-scene is a guy sitting on a dock. Maybe your movie’s about a loved-one dying, and the big action sequence before the climax involves doctors and nurses desperately trying to keep their patient alive. It doesn’t just mean conflict and fighting types of action.

Whatever the action is - make it BIG!!!

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):

Popcorn Movies Are All About Big-Action: Your Audience Wants Action, Big Action! FORWARD The Third Act - Insert Big Action Scene Here!

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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