剧本创作博客
发表于 撰稿人 考特尼·梅兹纳里奇(Courtney Meznarich)

How to Get Through Second Act Problems in a Traditional Screenplay

I heard once that your screenplay’s second act is your screenplay. It’s the journey, the challenge, and the longest part of your script and future film. At nearly 60 pages or 50 percent (or more) of your script, the second act is usually the hardest part, for both your character AND you. And that means it’s often where things go wrong. I picked up some tricks along the way, and I’m happy to share them with you today so you can avoid what’s often referred to as “the second act sag.”

In a traditional three-act structure, the second act begins once the character decides it’s too late to turn back, so they must charge ahead. But that does not necessarily mean that the conflict starts here.

“You know, I hear a lot about writers struggling through the second act of a screenplay,” said Bryan Young, a screenwriter, and journalist who writes for popular blogs over at SyFy.com, HowStuffWorks.com, and StarWars.com. “[If] you have a problem with your second act, you probably have a problem with your first act. Look at how you’ve set everything up.”

If you have a problem with your second act, you probably have a problem with your first act. Look at how you've set everything up. See what promises you've made to the audience that you are not paying off.
Bryan Young

Many writers make the mistake of saving conflict or secrets for later in their script, rather than getting to it right away in act one, then using act two to escalate things. Screenwriter William C. Martell calls it the Golfing Goat Rule.

“If your movie is about a farmer with a goat that learns how to golf, and plays in the PGA, you can’t hold the secret of the goat golfing until page 25, because the poster shows Gerdie the Golfing Goat, there’s the trailer that shows the goat golfing against Tiger Woods, all of that stuff is given away to the audience,” Martell said in an interview with Film Courage. “So, you can’t hold that back. Instead, you’ve got to basically hit the ground running with the goat golfing. And you go, ‘well, that has to happen deep in the story.’ Well, that only has to happen deep in the story if then nothing much else happens. Instead, you need to have that happen upfront and then keep escalating the golfing until, I don’t know, the goat’s golfing with the president.”

That escalation typically comes in the form of conflict – and not just one.

“As you’re coming in through your act one turn, you want to make sure that what your character is doing is taking steps to accomplish their goal that fail repeatedly,” Young told us. “Is your character trying, and failing, and then have to try something bigger, and failing that, and trying something even larger, and then failing that until they get to the climax? You need to make sure that you’re raising the stakes in your second act with those try-fail cycles.”

If you’re still struggling, there are some steps you can take to workshop yourself through your second act, according to story consultant Em Welsh in her guide to writing act two.

  1. Explore Side Characters in Act 2

    Use the second act to develop the characters in your script other than your hero. Use your side characters to draw out flaws in your protagonist, show how your character interacts with others, or make things harder for your hero.

  2. Create More Problems in Act 2

    Think about what your character wants most. Now, list ten ways to keep them from getting what they want, then use those scenarios that will fit your storyline best and will create the most tension in act two. Don’t go so easy on your main character. Add conflict. Often writers are afraid to add conflict because it will get messy, but we need to get into it! Things need to continue to get worse. Don’t hold off conflict until act two. Light the fuse in act one and let there be a chain reaction of explosions in act one.

  3. Develop the Character’s Internal Struggle in Act 2

    What is your character dealing with internally? We should know the internal struggle in act one, so you can leverage that struggle to create problems for your character and get in the way of them achieving their goal in act two.

  4. Divide Act 2 into Two Parts

    Act two is long, so it’s normal to feel overwhelmed. Divide your second act into act 2A and act 2B to break up the haul. In act 2A, your character has passed the point of no return, but may still be in denial about it. In act 2B, which occurs after the midpoint, your hero takes control, and by the end of act 2b, suffers the worst defeat of all.

“And if that still doesn’t work, make sure you look at your first act and see what’s wrong with what you’ve set up, what promises you’ve made the audience that you’re not paying off,” Young concluded.

See you in act three,

你还可能感兴趣……

构造出彩的一句话梗概

用一份难忘的电影梗概秒杀你的读者。

如何构造出彩的一句话梗概

将你的110页剧本浓缩成一句话绝非易事,所以给剧本写梗概是一件非常让人头疼的事情。但是,一份完好的、优质的梗概绝对是你营销剧本的一大杀手锏。阅读本期的“如何”系列文章,帮助你构造出彩的一句话梗概,震惊你的读者!用一份难忘的电影梗概秒杀你的读者。什么是一句话梗概?想象一下,如果你只有10秒钟时间向别人描述你的新剧本,你会说什么?这种对于整个故事快速的、简化的描述就是梗概。维基百科将梗概定义为“电视节目、电影或书的简单概要(通常只有一句话),叙述了故事的中心矛盾。” 为什么需要梗概?写梗概通常很难,但是对于作者来说,无论是剧本的前期制作还是后期制作,梗概都是非常必要的存在...

写人物线

掌握人物线的写作艺术

如何写人物线

掌握人物线的写作艺术 只是构思出了有极好特性的主角还不足以把你写的脚本拍成大片或者能获奖的电视剧。如果你真的想让你的剧本能与读者和观众产生共鸣,你需要掌握写人物线这门艺术。什么是人物线?好吧,我的故事需要一条人物线。那到底什么是人物线?一条人物线能够体现出故事中主角的经历之路和转变。整个故事的情节都是围绕着人物线建立起来的。“每一个故事的核心是人物的成长,情节和冲突都只是用来促进和反映人物成长的。”- 科幻小说家的导师 在电影和电视剧剧本中通常使用的三种人物线:积极的人物线:在一个有积极人物线的故事中,主角在故事结尾时变得更好了。消极的人物线...
Screenwriter Jeanne V. Bowerman Tells Us How to Sell A Screenplay

如何推销自己的剧本?请看编剧珍妮·威·鲍尔曼(Jeanne V. Bowerman)的分享

自称“叙事作家和编剧治疗师”的珍妮·威·鲍尔曼在中央海岸作家大会上加入了SoCreate的讨论。对于像珍妮这样热心相助他人的作家们,我们不胜感激!珍妮对实际写作方面的事颇为精通:她是ScriptMag.com网站的编辑和线上社区经理,也是Twitter编剧每周聊天#ScriptChat的联合创始人和主持人。珍妮在会议、研讨会和大学里提供咨询、开设讲座。为了证明自己真的在提供帮助,她还在网上提供了大量信息!想了解更多吗?可以查阅她的Instagram、Twitter、Facebook、Pinterest和YouTube。“我如何推销自己的剧本,这是一个非常重要的问题。我不想打击任何人的心灵,但这很难。一点都不容易。你必须有毅力...

评论