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Don't miss out on a single issue of IN and how to get your screenplay from the page to the silver screen.
After Plot Point I in Act I propels your main character into Act II emotionally and physically, where you have him running away from what has happened to him in Act I, you should take your main character through several pages of physical actions that show his emotional reaction to what happened at the end of Act I.
In my screenplay, "The Caller" (a thriller about a successful woman who sets out to explore her sexuality), a man that Christine (my main character) dated is murdered. When she reads about it in the morning paper, she races out of the house. She jumps on her bicycle and streaks through a park.
After several miles she abandons her bike leaving it to crash to the ground. She sprints several blocks to an office building. She rushes inside and barrels several stories up via the stairwell. She bursts into her brother’s office and storms past the receptionist. She brushes back her brother and begins rifling through his files. When she can’t find what she’s looking for, she demands that he tell her about their parents who burned to death in a fire when they were children. She beats on him and implores him to tell her what really happened to them. She wants to know why she’s so screwed up sexually that even a potential lover of hers was murdered.
Can you see the physical and mental race Christine showed? The turning point at the end of Act I propelled her. For the next several minutes, she tries to escape the horror of the murder of a man she considered a potential lover. She blames it on her sexually dysfunctional past. These compelling scenes orchestrate the beginning of Act I. The events readers read will pull them even more deeply into your screenplay. The job of the screenwriter is to write compelling turning points and scenes that move the main character forward so that readers can move forward as well without being aware of it. If the screenwriter fails to accomplish this, readers will lose interest in the characters and the story, and they will pass on your screenplay.
At the end of these intense events, that pull readers into Act II, you should have your main character show some kind of emotional growth that foreshadows how your screenplay will end.
In other words, most all screenplays that are sold and produced show transformation arcs that major characters experience throughout these movies. The main character is the primary character for which a transformation arc should be written. On about page 45 of your screenplay, you should show your main character doing something that foreshadows what he will be like once he transforms at the end of your screenplay.
In my next installment I’ll take you from pages 45 to 60 of your screenplay.
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