Second act. How to build it?

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  • #31
    Re: Second act. How to build it?

    Originally posted by ChadStrohl View Post
    I don't even know if you can use Raiders as an effective example on 3 act structure. I'm sure there are signposts that could look like certain things, but I think it's broken into something like 7 acts.
    Those aren't incompatible ways of looking at things. The 7 acts (or however you want to break it up - I'd need to rewatch to firmly identify all of them) fit into the three acts. One man's acts are another man's sequences.

    And if you want to call the sequences "acts" then you've got to come up with another term to define the uber-act that covers the question of finding the ark before the Nazis do, which ties the middle section of the movie together - because clearly that's a single dramatic overarching question which ties the movie together.

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    • #32
      Re: Second act. How to build it?

      Originally posted by Ronaldinho View Post
      Those aren't incompatible ways of looking at things. The 7 acts (or however you want to break it up - I'd need to rewatch to firmly identify all of them) fit into the three acts. One man's acts are another man's sequences.

      And if you want to call the sequences "acts" then you've got to come up with another term to define the uber-act that covers the question of finding the ark before the Nazis do, which ties the middle section of the movie together - because clearly that's a single dramatic overarching question which ties the movie together.
      Yes.

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      • #33
        Re: Second act. How to build it?

        Originally posted by Ronaldinho View Post
        Here's the problem with this analysis.

        (Again, emphasizing that whatever works for you is what works).

        Brody thinks there's a shark after the first attack. He writes "shark attack" as the cause of death on the birth certificate. He tries to close the beaches and pull the kids out of the water.

        He is overruled and browbeaten - in the same way he is through the film leading up to the midpoint (the attack in the estuary). If he had any doubts early, aren't they eliminated when Hooper examines the remains?

        Everyone knows there's a shark? After the boaters catch a shark, everyone (particularly the mayor) is convinced there isn't a shark. In fact, only Hooper thinks there is still a shark. From the moment that shark is hauled up on deck, until the attack in the estuary, the town is in denial about there being a shark.
        The Tiger shark was cut open after Kintner was eaten, after his mother slapped Brody, after the town meeting and after the community goes wild in trying to catch the shark.

        The town knew there was a shark and they thought they got it when the Tiger shark was caught. Remember, Hooper said it probably is the right shark, a man-eater and rare for these waters - just that the bite radius didn't match so he wanted to cut it open and be sure.

        You can feel the shift in the story after Kintner's death. How everybody is now focussed on catching the shark, how the setup (leading to wanting to catch the shark) has passed. Jaws is about a shark terrorising a resort and the attempt to catch it. All this kicks in after Kintner.



        Disagree. If you define acts by actions - act 2 is Marty's attempt to get his parents back together. Him getting sent back in time interrupting the way his mom and dad meet is the inciting incident.
        You misquote me. I said a definite action - not set of actions. Plus Marty's attempts to get his parent together last throughout Act II. So again, the setup is Marty's life, his world, his relationship with Doc etc. The minute he is zapped back in time - a major action - everything changes. The story has begun - that he's been sent back in time and must figure a way out.

        Similarly, you'll find most "road movies" start their Act II when the mismatched protags are thrust together on their journey - which as I said before, links in to the logline as this is the actual "story" being told.



        I'm not sure which fight you mean here. I think it's when McClane finds the detonators. He is then trying to figure out what they're really up to, which he does right before the rooftop explosion scene.
        I'm talking about the guard in the lobby. He turns up and thinks all is okay - then he spots something amiss and a fight ensues. That's when we're into Act II - the meat of the story - one man trying to save his wife against a bunch of terrorists.

        The acts are clearly defined. From setup, to the "meat" of the story, to the final stage. You can "feel" the tonality changes in the films. Like in Terminator - which kicks in after Kyle and Sarah make love.



        Edit:
        To quote Syd Field (maligned as he is) "the three acts are separated by two plot points. A plot point, often called a reversal, is an event that thrusts the plot in a new direction, leading into a new act of the screenplay." In Jaws the story has gone from a guy with a hunch, trying to convince the mayor to a man on a mission to save town that seeks rescue. In BTTF, the story has gone from a kid in 1985 to a kid in 1955. In Die Hard it's gone from a guy on the outside bemoaning his marital status to a guy on the inside trying to rescue his wife. In Terminator it's gone from a woman meandering through life, a cyborg and a human trying to find her to a woman running for her life with her only ally against an unstoppable killer.
        SundownInRetreat
        Member
        Last edited by SundownInRetreat; 04-05-2012, 04:04 AM.

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        • #34
          Re: Second act. How to build it?

          Originally posted by BattleDolphinZero View Post
          I learned this from Haas. He didn't think it was ingenious but I did:

          After lining up the scenes the flow naturally (and occur easily), I always get stuck. What Haas reccomended--that I now do always--is go to the 2nd act low point. Write down what it is. From there, you can build back some mandatory scenes.

          example

          LOWPOINT -- Hero has lost his job, his girl, his best friend, and the bad guy has gotten away with the map. It's a fvcked.

          So now you know you need the scene where he loses his job, you need the scene where his girl dumps him, you need the falling out with his best friend, and the bad guy has to escape in a scene.

          Maybe this is "duh" for most of you but it was very helpful for me. Because, usually, when I look at these scenes listed (as they are above), i know which ones come first. And the next thing you know, most of the 2nd act is outlined.
          I LOVE this! I'm writing what I keep referring to as a "little movie," that feels more character driven, and I've been having serious issues with my act II. I'll definitely be trying this in tonight's writing session.
          ~* Kelsey *~

          http://kelseytalksaboutmovies.blog.com/

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          • #35
            Re: Second act. How to build it?

            may be not necessary,
            but I would like to thank you all for answering the post and taking part to the conversation (I know you probably didn't do it for me, but for the sake of the subject itself, but it turned out to be useful for me anyway)

            I took some time to read the answers, watch those mentioned movies which I didn't know that well, and I am going to try and report my impressions / doubts now

            thanks

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            • #36
              Re: Second act. How to build it?

              Originally posted by diego80 View Post
              I took some time to read the answers, watch those mentioned movies which I didn't know that well, and I am going to try and report my impressions / doubts now
              Why? Just take the info and use or discard it as you see fit.

              From my end, I tried to help. I wasn't opening a debate but stating a fact - loglines boil the story down and the story is the second act. And you can test this instantly by reading the loglines of any film you choose by turning to the TV page or checking the onscreen planner. So there's no need to report back with your analysis.*






              *Said in a non facetious manner
              .

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              • #37
                Re: Second act. How to build it?

                Originally posted by diego80 View Post
                may be not necessary,
                but I would like to thank you all for answering the post and taking part to the conversation (I know you probably didn't do it for me, but for the sake of the subject itself, but it turned out to be useful for me anyway)

                I took some time to read the answers, watch those mentioned movies which I didn't know that well, and I am going to try and report my impressions / doubts now

                thanks
                As Sundown said, it's not necessary to report your analysis, but it can't hurt either.

                Write your analysis. Form your own opinions. Tell us what you learned. You may teach us something in the doing.

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                • #38
                  Re: Second act. How to build it?

                  Whatever helps you, do it. If that's posting your thoughts here, so fvcking what.

                  No need to suffer in silence.

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                  • #39
                    Re: Second act. How to build it?

                    Originally posted by ChadStrohl View Post
                    I don't even know if you can use Raiders as an effective example on 3 act structure. I'm sure there are signposts that could look like certain things, but I think it's broken into something like 7 acts.

                    It's a movie designed like the old radio serials.

                    +5 points

                    In fact specifically Raiders was designed after the old Republic serials that were shown before features. All were shorts ending with cliffhangers. I believe Kasdan, the writer of Raiders, once said that he felt he had to write a cliffhanger every fifteen pages... or something like that.
                    INT. DR. GONZO'S HOTEL ROOM - NIGHT

                    A glass of BOURBON in one hand and a COMPUTER MOUSE in the other,
                    Dr. Gonzo contemplates getting off the message board and back to his script.

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