The Screenwriters Toolkit

Lesson 10/21 - Act Two: How to Write Plot Point Two

 

The Screenwriters Toolkit

 

Lesson Info

Act Two: How to Write Plot Point Two

Back to I'm actually I'm not going to talk about that too, huh? Well back to his heart it's a mix of complications it has reversals twists twister reversal more or less the same idea it has escalation as you move forward there's an escalation in the suspense of the story not necessarily being a suspense story but the tension the dramatic tension escalates it doesn't just stay on the same plan I say avoid repetition um and that means going back to a certain story beats that feel like you've done that story beat before um you can generally get a sense of that but um although it naturally feels like you shouldn't do it I do it we all do it we all have something where well we already kind of had that confrontation or that moment so act tuas long at sixty pages you might have a tendency to repeat some beats in it but the main thing is it has to escalate it has the feel like it's things are moving not only onward but upward um and that's that's what they call rising action so the protagonist...

makes choices takes actions and there's consequences and then the consequence the protagonist has to react to the consequence and deal with the consequence make the next step in what they're going to do to get through their objective that has consequences has a deal with those consequences and react to them and take another step to move forward each time taking a step because of what the consequences were and how they had to deal with it so you have this so then this happened so that this happens so then this happened um act two can also have I mean it doesn't have t started act one but a subplot the idea of a supplied is that it's a way of giving another dimension to the lead character and it's a way of also commenting on the theme of the main plot so it's a beacon be interwoven or parallel by what that I mean subplot that moves into the main plot in and out of the main plot where it's directly part of it sometimes or completely on a parallel track and you're just cutting to that sometimes um so subplot could be a particular relationship the lead characters with somebody who's not involved in the main action um uh or it could be their lover there are the significant other who's not really involved in the main action but gets swept into it because of being involved lee character um you need some kind of extra dimension to the story you need a sub plot it is often a relationship but you need something like that to widen it out and it is thematically connected and it's definitely a part of your leads journey through the main story um so I like to plan act whose by thinking about the structure of it and thinking about the midpoint in the end of it so that I'm not just jumping off of act one like a cliff and just going on and typing like a madman I'm going to get through this somehow so I like to think about a mid point first actually first think about how how how will act to end um but I think about it mid point um one type of midpoint is the false resolution it's it's the end of story we got it I got it I got my thing I wanted I got past the obstacles and I got it I'm here and it's not oh no oh no you didn't get it I call it a false ending her false resolution sometimes it's the point of no return which means that from the beginning of act two to the midpoint the character could have just gotten out of it like I'm not going to go it's too much or whatever and something happens and know now there is no getting out um and there are other ways you can make a midpoint but the main thing about it is middle of act two and the middle of the movie it needs to have some kind of a significant sort of turning the story there um so I want to talk about examples of mid points um fellman louise their money is stolen so from this point and they have to be thieves they have to be criminals they have to steal and they do their rob a store they have to do it to keep going that's the point of no return now we really are criminals were going to steal money to keep having money to keep going on running on down the road um the social network sean parker enters the situation and permanently changes the whole I think he's going to turn this social media network into something completely different and people are going to get left by the roadside with bloody corpses um fargo has an interesting midpoint because it's kind of two punches the kidnappers call up jerry and say we're taking we want all the ransom money you're not getting the cut we're getting it all because we had to kill somebody um so he gets that call and then the next call he gets is from the automobile company saying we don't know what's going on with those cars that don't seem to exist you better fax those vehicle numbers over and he does in the real ledge aboul but he's trying to put them off they said well we're going to go legal on you that's all in the middle of movie it's pretty big um and from that point on his life is unraveling uh in fight club project ma'am is created without jack it starts jack finds out about it afterwards they're all talking about project ma'am he's never heard the term before it's the first time he's been left out of something that he and tyler are doing tyler you aren't left out of it you're already in it because tyler always talks esoteric lee anyway, we're already you know you're already in it, but the fact is no he didn't know jack didn't know about it um that's the middle of that so it's a significant point in the story um the end of act two is often the seeming failure this is another by the way false ending this it doesn't always have to be this but it's we're done it's over you lost you're not getting it it's not happening it's the lowest point for the lead character whether it feels like it is the absolute end or not it should be the lowest point I've done all that I've lived through an act too all right, I had to go through sixty pages of an act too. And where am I? The furthest away from my goal could possibly be, um that's why you need a plot point because you've got to get the factory. Um you, uh can you give us an example of, uh both resolution for a different genre uh what was the genre I feel like thelma and louise and clever kind of like action right and I had said earlier that action films of the best examples because they just give you that they give you a theoretical in a tangible like that um so like for one of the other we commissioned like juno I think right um false resolution um yeah I know I didn't know because I didn't put one down for juno and that would have been a I mean I don't think that movie had a false resolution um if it did it probably would have been that she found the couple that is going to adopt the baby and that probably was somewhere around the middle and that's a false resolution even though in the moment you don't know it's false but it's like that's going to take care of I'll have the baby I like these people they're going to do the adoption that's all set and it isn't so that would be a non action movie example of a false resolution um so after this low point um you need the plot point to it's called this is what takes us out of that point and spends the action into act three thank you uh the way act one through us and active it's the event that changes the course moves us towards it makes the climax inevitable um sell some examples of that um in film in ways which is an action movie the uh their phone call is traced and now the police detective as well as the fbi I know where they are up until then at this point the authorities did not know where they were now they know where they are so they're going to come after him and they've got a runaway while they're being chased that's definitely kicking off at three um bridesmaids any completely destroyed the bridal shower like a mad woman totally tears it up and as a result so you're not only not the maid of honor you're not even going to the wedding um yeah so we need an act three after that um good question but it seems like that would be the lowest point right because now you know before we're kind of working our way down for example in that movie that cop doesn't like her anymore or you know there's turmoil but that's really like the big explosion where she's well yeah sorry she had a low point before that her low point was that this rival helen who had stolen her idea but done it in a more brilliant way uh right that was the crushing blow her reaction is to destroy the whole so it can happen almost right afterwards it should be is related really yeah it really was the low point in the plot point r are related to each other um so in juneau we were talking about it's because it's the discovery that no they're not going to do the adoption that's the end of back to their um fargo jerry's father in law's killed and the ransom that theater tempt to pay off the ransom um in chinatown jake finds out that heaven's been keeping this mysterious missing girl that he's been finding out about um and in something like the avengers it's tony stark realizes that loki is plan what it is and they've got to get to new york city so that's where actor is um so tell me about your act too so in my act to um one's running into a lot of issues with the sociology project she's having issues controlling the club members because they're all just doing their own thing they're doing anything she says and a big issue is that on she can't find funding for the project for the application in the entry so um things were like she she can't afford it herself the club members claim they can afford it and so she's asking this professor's people keep saying no one of the club members is like sleeping with a professor insists that she was gonna be able to convince him and it doesn't work out and I think that a the midpoint for me is one of the there's no turning back because when goes to this guy professor davis and professor davis is also her capstone professor he is a hard core quantitative sociologist which is a different view from when sociology and he does not believe in her project at all but she comes in she had already asked him for funding and he said no and she comes in with no there's no other resort because she was originally going to try to put up the money herself but her mom took it so there's no the resort she goes back to professor davis and says I'm having she argues sociology with him and kind of phrase that it raises it in a sociological on analytical way where he buys it but he says if you screw this up with my name on it it's a huge issue like I'll lose all respect and he as much of kind of like a difficult he is he is a very important supporter of her sociology so um she has to go through with it she can't let him down um she gets more things throughout her like she has to go to her sister's like a parent teacher night because her parents refused to go she gets caught up there and mrs lake by half a knauer on the very last day to pick up the materials to submit right before the deadline and she's there at the shop and she's like tearing out the door and stuff and the shopkeeper happens to come back and it just works out he uh he kind of plays with her he doesn't tell her right away that he's a shopkeeper but she gets the prince and at the end of act two she's feeling really good about it, she feels like this is going to go all right and at the end of act, who her mom comes in just to talk to her and, uh, graduate school comes up and her mom has been under the impression the whole time that one's going to stanford and when reveals to her mother that she didn't even apply to stanford, she on li applied in you because and she kind of goes off on her mom and says, because she's been taking care of the family for so long, she lost focus on her studies and there's no way she didn't get into stanford and why you was her only choice. She feels like, and her mother says, if you would and well, you, I will not speak to you again and that's the end of their conversation until three. Alright, alright, alright, definitely feels like an act, too.

Class Description

Screenwriting classes often either lean too heavily on theory or simply study the technical approach to writing without a greater context for its use, as if the act of screenwriting exists in a vacuum – it does not. In The Screenwriters Toolkit with Jim Uhls, you’ll learn both the nuts and bolts of the craft, as well as its relationship to getting your work read and ultimately produced.

Jim’s sceenwriting credits include the modern classic “Fight Club” the feature-film "Jumper" the NBC television film "Semper Fi" and the SyFy miniseries "Spin" In this class, he’ll share lessons from his extensive experience writing for Hollywood and the small screen. He’ll teach you how to develop better scripts, get traction for your projects, and navigate the complex professional landscape of script development.

You’ll learn about screenwriting form and content, including:

  • Vocabulary and formats
  • Dialogue vs silence
  • Adapting existing works for the screen
  • Genre-writing

Jim will also share essential insights on developing a career in screenwriting. You’ll learn:

  • The differences between writing for television and features
  • Who to work with: agents vs managers vs lawyers
  • How to obtain and manage projects of various sizes and contexts

The Screenwriters Toolkit is a comprehensive examination of screenwriting form, content, craft, and traffic. You’ll learn how to adapt your content to the size, genre, and desired professional result of the script while also learning about the best on-ramps for aspiring writers.


Reviews

Karla KL Brady
 

I would definitely recommend this class for first-time screenwriters and writers in general. I'm a novelist that would like to turn a couple of my stories into screen plays. I was mostly interested in the "dos and don'ts" which he supplied in a generous number. He gave a lot of great examples. I enjoyed the format with the students and he pretty much walks you through the entire process, including and especially the three-act structure which can be applicable to novel writing, too. He gave a lot of great examples. I would have liked a more extensive discussion on loglines and writing the action, but this certainly is enough to get you started. For the price, you can't beat it.

Bernadette
 

I would certainly recommend it to others, as there are some really great tips throughout the courses, across various aspects of film script writing.. That said, I would like to recommend however: - to have one version that is focused solely on film writing; eliminating the parts about teleplays and series, as those one or two did not relate to the rest of the course. - in its place, I would have loved to observe the coaching and critique on the writers film ideas, loglines, titles and such. I was very interested in knowing the do's and don'ts, what works and doesn't work, and what the proper approach is. Although he made mention of some of them in his overall content, relating them back to the writer's specific work would have been very beneficial.