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Screen & Stage
January, 2008

Flying by the Seat of My Pants

Part II: The Script's Key Plot Points
Brilliant resolve
By  J.R. Kambak

As your script's plan continues to grow, you must develop into the heart of the story.
Here, we pick up in the middle of Act II, where our Protagonist has come to his own despair about the circumstances of his actions. If you've fleshed out your own storyline from, completing the assignment from the Part I of this series, you probably came to some conclusions about how to proceed in bringing the story to a brilliant resolve.

The script example is titled TETRIS, for those of you who missed the first installment. The plot so far has Jake trapped in a secret Chinese military surveillance facility with his colleague Nina.

ACT II (continuation)

J) The Antagonist comes forth.

It is Nina's old Soviet boss, a ruthless and cunning Oleg, who has designed a new Internet virus, named "Tetris" – it can cause a global "zero day" crash. But he needs Nina to finish it. She's the wiz-kid. Jake was just a pawn to bring her to him. Jake's tossed into a cellar prison. Oleg will kill Jake if Nina doesn't do what he asks.

K) The Protagonist gets a second chance. He bounces back from despair and escapes immediate danger.

Liu has a change of heart. She appears at Jake's cellar prison door, telling him she'll help him. He asks for a wireless laptop.

L) The Protagonist learns that he's in love with Nina, and she means more to him than his profession.

Jake, using the wireless laptop, hacks an online access to an old friend, a member of the clandestine hacker's Club 21. Meanwhile, Nina is stalling, purposely reconfiguring the virus worm program, which makes Oleg furious. He demands that Jake is brought back.


The final transformation arc moves us into another spin of the Protagonist's behaviour in coping with his desperate situation and bringing it to resolve.

O) Here the Protagonist's most remarkable qualities shine. They signify the most important plot point in the story.

Jake tells Nina to do what Oleg demands. Nina is confused, afraid. Jake sides with Oleg; reinforcing Oleg's demented scheme with the Chinese. Why not, it's been revealed that Jake once wanted to bring down the WWW all by himself. But this is what makes Jake so good at what he does. Jake is a master at using reverse psychology to get what he wants. Jake demands that Nina do it. Hating him, she does as he demands.

P) The Antagonist is thwarted.

When Nina finishes programming Tetris, and Oleg sets it to run, it suddenly goes haywire; showing simply the Tetris game on the monitor, that is obviously being played by someone not in the room.

In the cellar prison scene, we planted the foreshadowing of Jake contacting one of his hacker buddies. We already knew going into the above scene that Jake had fixed the deck in his favour. The audience can enjoy the duping of Oleg.

Q) The showdown between the Antagonist and Protagonist. The Protagonist has already made his transformation and is going to act upon it.

Jake and Nina must now flee the Chinese bunker with the help of Liu. Here is the life and death chase scene. Because Jake cunningly already scoped out the possible escape routes when they first arrived, they are able to make a successful getaway.

R) The final resolution. For this plot driven story, there's a happy ending. The Protagonist returns to his ordinary world, redressing his problems at the beginning, now eliminated. There's restoration to the world.

Jake's hacker friend notified the appropriate authorities about Jake and Nina's plight in China. Consequently, all was exposed.

Jake and Nina returned to the U.S. accompanied by Liu, who is having an online romance with Jake's hacker friend.

Jake and Nina have finally admitted to their initial mutual attraction. Checkmate.

Be sure to nail this when in your stories resolution: Vividly portray the heart of the issue of the story at the end. This example is very simplistic. Of course, you can do better.

The script example, TETRIS, is proprietary property of the author.
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J.R. Kambak is a regular IN contributor and award-nominated screen-playwright, award-winning videographer, and former corporate communications/media relations executive. Contact J.R. Kambak for more information and resources:

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Screen & Stage
IN This Issue
Novel To Screenplay: Adaptation 101
Learning The Lingo
Elevator Exposure
Who Profits?
On The (Back) Lot
Lingua Scriptus
Part II: The Script's Key Plot Points
Part I: The Script's Key Plot Points
Origin Of The Screenplay
Scriptspeak: Writing Dialogue

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