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As I mentioned earlier, your epic final battle is going to take several pages, as is your denouement and your climax. You’re probably going to have a big action sequence that’s even longer. This doesn’t leave you much space to wrap up your main-plot, your love-story and your sub-plots.

You can push the conclusion to one or two of your stories into the denouement or the conclusion sometimes. But, that still leaves you a lot of plot-threads that need to be wrapped up - and not much space to do it! So, you’ll have to be very judicious with your time.

Good thing you created a highly-detailed story-structure to work from! You know all the threads you need to wrap up. And you know just where to put them. You have a road-map to a completed screenplay.

By the time you get around half-way through your Third Act, pretty much everything should have been wrapped up at that point, leaving yourself only the big final battle and the climax before the protagonist’s quest is finally complete. You can leave one or two threads hanging, but you want pretty much everything else wrapped-up rather nicely before then.

Now it’s just filling in the blanks and painting by numbers.

Another thing that usually requires wrapping-up in the Third Act is the protagonist’s Character-Arc (or internal-conflict). You want your main-character’s change - to lead him to ultimate victory. It’s only him [becoming a better person] that allows him to succeed. If he doesn’t do this, he’ll fail.

Therefore, one of the scenes immediately before the big final action sequences is often the protagonist overcoming his character-flaw. Although, this can really happen at just about any time in the second half of the script.

Watch the Usual Suspects and pay attention to how many little story-lines there are - and how succinctly they get wrapped up in such a short period of time.

By the end of the film, the audience has really no idea what’s going on. Yet, ten minutes later, and the audience finally knows everything. They know who Kaiser Soze is, they know why he torched the ship, they know why he killed everyone, etc... They kept all these plot-threads dangling until the very end.

The Usual Suspects has a rather unique character-arc as well! At the beginning, you think Verbal Kent is a real, sad loser. The kind of person who would never stick up for himself. Pathetic. But, at the end, you realize that none of that is true. He changes into the most-dominant, scariest person around. He actually overcomes his pathetic self and chooses to become the (completely not-pathetic) antagonist. And, that change happens right at the climax. That change is in fact the climax.

It’s a false-character-arc! He isn’t actually changing. He was like that all along. The audience just didn’t know it.

You don’t see false-character-arcs very often!

If your screenplay contains a love-story, you’ll want to have wrapped it up by about now. Except for maybe the scene when they get back together (climax) and the final kiss/‘they live happily ever after’.

So, by part-way through your Third Act, all your sub-plots should all be mostly-complete. Except for maybe their climaxes or denouements (or anything that can’t happen until the main-narrative’s climax/denouement).

You’ll probably need to cram them into the first-third of the 3rd Act.

And, you don’t just have to wrap up each of the sub-plots neatly with a climax - they can also have denouements!

The audience doesn’t want to know just what happened with the protagonist and the love-interest - they want to know what happened to all their favorite characters!

Animal House has the famous freeze-frames at the end of the movie that tell you the future of each character.

The famous ending of Inception has a lot more going on in it than just the spinning top, just look at how many sub-plots get wrapped up immediately before that scene. Often without much of any dialogue. Just a sentence or two of action here and there.

Wrapping It All Up: Sub-Plot Denouements: FORWARD The Third Act - It’s Finally Time to Wrap It All Up!

Screen-Writing Contests:

Screenwriting 101:

Don’t spend all your time and effort on just your main-narrative - your sub-plots need you too!

Give your screenplay interesting and deep sub-plots. Almost the more, the better. You don’t want too many. But, a fair bit never hurt anyone.

Of course, lots of sub-plots mean lots of actors and greatly increased expenses. If you’re writing an indie movie, you always want to keep that in mind.

















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