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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!

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!’

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.

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: FORWARD The Third Act - The Climax

Screen-Writing Contests:

Screenwriting 101:

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:

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PROTAGONIST’S CHARACTER-ARC

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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