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Well, that’s your climax! Saving the Earth from giant fleas. You have no choice.

You can’t decide your climax is about a woman who loses her mother now. Whatever your first turning-point is about - is what your climax is about! Your climax was decided 75 pages ago.

In Armageddon, the first turning-point is the drillers heading off to NASA to save the Earth from a killer-asteroid. The climax is them actually saving Earth from a killer-asteroid.

The Seventh Seal is about a medieval knight who plays chess with death for his soul.

So, you can probably guess that the first turning-point is starting the game - and the climax is finishing it!

Close, the main-character actually meets Death in the inciting-incident. But, it works just like a first turning-point. And, today, that scene would most-definitely come ten minutes later and act as a true first turning-point.

The climax involves the protagonist distracting Death by knocking over the pieces, thereby saving his friends lives - and the eventual loss on the next turn.

So, even though the film ends with the main-character and all his companions dancing off with Death, it’s still a redemptive, heart-warming conclusion.

You don’t really have much choice when writing your climax. For instance, what’s your movie about?

‘It’s about a guy who saves Earth from giant fleas!’

It should be reiterated that your protagonist shouldn’t be able to finally achieve victory without first overcoming his character-flaw and fulfilling his character-arc.

This is the biggest error that young screenwriters make! They don’t give their protagonist a character-arc. And, if they do, overcoming that flaw doesn’t directly allow him to succeed.

If your main-character is a drunk lawyer - he shouldn’t win the big case until after he sobers up. He’s not going to be able to take on the biggest law-firm in the city if he’s drunk the whole time!

If your main-character is a toy-company executive who treats his own children poorly - he won’t be able to close the big merger until he learns to love and spend time with his own kids (who, just so happen to hold the key to ultimate victory). If he never learns to respect his own children and treat them well, he doesn’t find out the one piece of information that allows him to finally succeed in the end. It’s his change as a person that propels him to victory.

If your protagonist is an exterminator who has to save the world from giant rats - rats are probably the one thing on Earth he’s terrified of. And, he’ll never manage to save the planet unless he overcomes his fear of mice.

If your protagonist is a racist, he won’t succeed until he learns how wrong he was.

If your main-character doesn’t become a better person, he won’t win. He can’t win.

Becoming a better person, solving that fatal-flaw, is the only thing that allows him to succeed in his goal. The only thing.

The conclusion of your character-arc leads directly to your climax. They are inextricably linked.

You don’t necessarily have to have a climax. There are other choices out there. For instance, you could opt for an anti-climax! Where a quest will seem to have a nearly impossible solution - only for an extremely simple solution to pop out of nowhere.

For example, Signs and War of the Worlds both contain famous anti-climaxes - when their unstoppable alien-invasions are defeated by common Earth-born viruses or water!


The Character-Arc & Your Climax: The Anti-Climax: The Climax

Technically, your climax is the point in your story with the most tension and drama. It’s the most important scene (or scenes) in the whole movie.

The climax almost always comes at or near the end of the film or screenplay. It’s the ending or conclusion of the main-plot, the main story-arc. When someone asks ‘what happened?’ They are asking you what happened at the climax. It’s when the protagonist ultimately wins or loses.

But, this is Hollywood, who are we kidding - he wins!

The Climax:

Screenwriting 101:

PROPER SCREENPLAY FORMAT

SCREENWRITING SOFTWARE

SCREENPLAY TEMPLATE

SAMPLE SCREENPLAY PAGES

BEGINNER SCREENWRITERS

FILM SCHOOLS

SCREENWRITING DEGREES

SCREENPLAY STORY STRUCTURE

HOW LONG SHOULD EACH ACT BE?

THREE ACT STRUCTURE

START WRITING NOW

STORY-STRUCTURE TEMPLATE

THE FIRST TURNING POINT

THE SECOND TURNING POINT

PROTAGONIST’S CHARACTER-ARC

GET COVERAGE


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