Last week we covered the three acts essential to every story, and every screenplay. Within those three acts are five specific moments, called “key moments,” that move the plot along and strengthen the power of the main characters.
1.) Inciting Incident/Point of Attack
Every movie – without exception – has an inciting incident, a moment when the story first hints at the conflict to come. Most often, the inciting incident occurs near the end of the first act, but many films plunge into the main action right from the beginning.
2.) Lock In
This is the point at which the protagonist is locked into the conflict around which the story revolves. This plot point, usually at the end of the first act, launches the character into his quest to solve the problem that defines the film.
3.) First Culmination.
The first culmination is the point at which the protagonist solves a problem that is important to the story but not the main conflict, usually midway through Act Two.
4.) Main Culmination
The conclusion of the second act sees the resolution of the main tension or conflict …
5.) Third Act Twist
… but our protagonist is tested once again in Act Three. While a script can certainly resolve without a final monkey wrench, this plot device is useful for revealing or further illuminating the changes that have taken place in the characters’ lives.
While this is an exceedingly simplified overview of the elements of a screenplay, mastering these concepts is an important first step to understanding how a “formula” can help a writer produce a well-organized screenplay.
|ABOUT ELISE L. CONNORS:
Elise works as the Manager of Author Support of Outskirts Press. She also contributes to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com.Elise and a group of talented book marketing experts assist self-publishing authors and professionals who are interested in getting the best possible exposure for their book.