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DC 101 - Screenplay Structure Part II

Act II and Act III - Confrontation and Resolution

Patrick Wimp

on 22 January 2015

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Transcript of DC 101 - Screenplay Structure Part II

Screenplay Structure Part II
Confrontation and Resolution
Act II - The Confrontation
Plot Point I launches into Act II
Page 25-30
PAGE 30 (PAGE 5-6)
Introduction of the "B" story
"A" Story - Major overall plot. Will Luke defeat the Empire? Will Cady get revenge on Regina? Will Anna and Elsa fix the snow problem? Will Lester find happiness (American Beauty)?
"B" Story
Secondary story (often love story) that will smooth over PPI
in line with or tied to the A story
Helps openly explore the theme of your movie--THE NEED
Luke WANTS to go fight, wants to stop waiting. Luke NEEDS to trust. Trust in the force, friends, etc - Han Solo, who we meet after PPI, explores this Need fully and comes back to realize it at end.
Cady WANTS to beat Regina at her own game, she NEEDS to be true to herself.
New characters introduced - tests, allies and enemies
Anna gets in league with Kristof. Luke and friends interactions. Cady's interactions with other characters change. Lester and high school friends, his kids.
Will culminate at climax alongside A story
MEAN GIRLS - The relationships with Janis, Damien and Aaron explore Cady's need.
Use the B story as the emotional undercurrent to your main plot. This is where we explore the NEED where the "A" story is in pursuit of the WANT
Aspects of Act II
FUN AND GAMES (pages 30 - 55)
payoff of your premise. what the audience came to see
Have fun with your story, characters and premise
Often feature montages or rapid succession of scenes
--- Action - fights, battles and excitement
--- Comedy - jokes and series of comedic moments
--- Drama - not necessarily "fun" but we experience the breadth of the situation.
--- Horror - monsters, terror, etc.
Star Wars - Fly into space, fight their way out of death star.
Die Hard - Bruce Willis starts to outwit the terrorists
40 Year Old Virgin - Speed dating and other comedic moments
Frozen - "Let it Go." Interactions w/Kristof.
Mean Girls - The revenge plot. Fat Regina. Spying. Infiltration.
MIDPOINT (page 55)
- Cuts the movie in half
- One of two values:
Up - hero seemingly peaks, can't get any better (false peak)
Down - world seems to be collapsing around the hero
- Decide on this (like we did with our endings) and you can hinge your story around it
STAKES ARE RAISED a great deal
The "fun and games" are over. We are brought back to reality of the story.
This point will be the opposite of "All is Lost"
False victory or failure - the hero hasn't learned his/her lesson yet. Hasn't realized or achieved their dramatic need.
Star Wars - Captured into the Death Star b/c destination planet is dead.
Mean Girls - Cady is the new Queen Bee
Frozen - Anna reunites with Elsa on the mountain.
American Beauty - Lester is on top of the world.
BAD GUYS CLOSE IN (page 55-75)
Events that take us from the MIDPOINT to ALL IS LOST
Antagonistic forces, though temporarily defeated, bring out the heavy artillery and put full force on the protagonist
Internal descent is a major factor - characters insecurities begin to overwhelm them
The victory that was claimed is now taken away
Revelation of deeper plans, threat escalates
Hero is headed for a huge fall
Star Wars - Looks like they are going to die in the death star. Try to escape.
Frozen - Elsa can't fix it. Anna gets blasted. Elsa is captured.
Mean Girls - Cady starts to piss off people, lose friends.
American Beauty - Homophobic neighbor freaking out. Wife pissed off.
ALL IS LOST (page 75)
Opposite of midpoint in terms of up/down value
Whiff of death - someone usually dies or almost dies at this point--good to put a hint of death here or death like imagery
The old character dies and the old way of thinking is destroyed
Wipes slate clean for ultimate growth (dramatic need) that the hero will undergo
Make room for change
Death before rebirth
Star Wars - Obi Wan Kenobi dies.
Mean Girls - Janis tells Cady she is worse than Regina. Burn book incites a riot.
Frozen - Hans drops Anna like a bad habit. Going to kill Elsa.
American Beauty - Neighbor Kid gets beat up. Wife going to kill Lester.
varies in length - can be short or take some time
face to face with their own destruction, no idea how to solve it
Admission of humanity - the character is humbled
allows hero to dig deep and find the solution that will lead to solving the dramatic problem/get them through the climax
Mean Girls - School assembly. Teacher facing trouble.
Star Wars - Luke is ditched by Han. Empire closing in on planet.
Frozen - Anna dying in the fireplace room. Elsa locked up.
American Beauty - Night of death. Refuses weird Dad.
CLIMAX (85-90)
A and B stories come together and both are paid off in a dramatic fashion
Protagonist squares off against antagonistic force. Directly tackles the story problem. Final battle.
Emotional high-point of the story--must be emotionally satisfying
Wraps up all questions presented in the movie
Mean Girls - Cady becomes Spring queen. People make amends.
Star Wars - Blow up death star.
Frozen - Anna comes back to life and winter is gone.
40 Year Old Virgin - He gets the girl.

ACT III - The Resolution
(page 85/90 - End of Screenplay)
- Varied in length
- Depart from Snyder (Finale)
- Resolution of the story's events
Old world has been torn down and a new world is created.
All stories come to some resolution - positive or negative
Experiences from Act II create the new person that arrives in Act III
Emotionally satisfying - we don't have to like what happened but it should feel right and wrap up the emotional roller coaster we've been on for the past 90-120 minutes
Final Image (page 110/120)
Opposite of opening image - not literally but metaphorically
Evidence that change has occurred
Again, want to leave a lasting impression on your audience. Leave them with something that will stick with them emotionally
Star Wars - Group assembled as heroes. All SW films end this way. Upbeat and triumphant. Start with vast empty space, end full of life with people.
Mean Girls - Togetherness.
Frozen - Summer not winter.
American Beauty - Same image but we view it differently.
READ - Blake Snyder
Step Outlines...
Your script - Page 10-12
Page 12-15
Emotional high point that sets up the climax. Sometimes interchangeable w/ ALL IS LOST
One last turn that brings us to a new level of emotion
Character often makes a final commitment to the climactic challenge -- DENIAL OF WANT
STAR WARS - Luke's friends all dying around him. Han Solo shows up. Choose to turn off machine.
MEAN GIRLS - Cady takes the blame for the burn book.
FROZEN - Anna goes back for Elsa.
AMERICAN BEAUTY - Lester won't sleep with teen crush.
in Blake Snyder
Increasingly challenging obstacles
Character is defined by the choices and actions they take in the story
Reactive vs. proactive--STAR WARS example--the solutions to one problem cause the next bigger problem to occur
Red herrings – sleight of hand by writer--HANS in Frozen
Situation: Luke and Ben need to get off the planet
Solution: We need a ship. Meet Han Solo.
Obstacle: Han Solo wants MAD money. They don't have mad money.
Choice: Sell Luke's speeder. Giving of self to solve problem. Go with Han.
New Obstacle: Empire is after them.
Choice: Run and escape. Go to light speed. Use of new friend's skills to solve problem. Luke learns more about bigger world. Going to Alderaan.
New Obstacle: Alderaan is destroyed. Empire is here. They get captured.
Choice: Hide in the cargo hold of ship. They survive.
New Obstacle: Escape the Death Star.
Choice: Dress up as Stormtroopers.
Twist: The Princess is here.
Choice: Let's save her.
New Obstacle: March into Detention area. Draw attention to self. Harms escape plan. They save her.
New Obstacle: Escape with Princess.
Choice: Into the Garbage Chute.
New Obstacle: Garbage Chute going to crush them to death.
Choice: Call C-3PO
New Obstacle: Disable Tractor Beam
Choice: Obi-Wan will do it
New Obstacle: Darth Vader
Situation: Anna needs to get up the mountain.
Solution: Walk.
Obstacle: To Cold.

Solution: Finds Kristof.
Obstacle: Wants money.
Solution: I'm a princess.

Situation: Wolves attack.
Solution: Fight them off
New Obstacle: Lost sled, equipment and they are lost.
Solution: Olaf will help.

Situation: Found Elsa. Convince her to be cool.
Obstacle: She won't/can't.
Solution: Plead with her.
New obstacle: Blasted in the heart.
Solution: Trolls.
New obstacle: Doesn't work.
Solution: Need true love. Let's find Hans.

New obstacle: Hans don't love you, girl.
Solution: Kristof does.
Obstacle: Kristof is gone, you pissed him off.
Solution: Find him.

Continues on til end of movie...
Mean Girls - New year of school. Things are different.
Frozen - Elsa is Queen. Anna loves Kristof. Olaf has a cloud.
Star Wars - See next slide.
American Beauty - We return to the place we started from. The burbs.
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