Sequence 4: The First Culmination

Just when we think the situation can’t get worse, it does. When we’re convinced there’s no possible way our hero can get out of a jam, he gets out, only to end up in a worse jam. Obstacles! These major hurdles are the glue to Act Two.

Your character has recovered from the first obstacle, only now to face a higher one. This new obstacle leads to rising action: every move the character makes traps him even more. Be merciless! Really squeeze your character. Make him work hard to reach the first culmination. This is the midpoint of the screenplay and a pivotal plot point, which usually parallels the resolution of the film. If the story is a tragedy, then the first culmination should be a low point for your protagonist.  If, however, your hero wins in the end, sequence four should conclude with him triumphant in some way.

Sign up for our newsletter!
  • Screenwriting tips to guide you through your writing
  • Industry news and movie reviews
  • Important updates on screenwriting functions and events
  • Get TSL's Encyclopedia of Screenwriting e-book FREE

Wait! We've got a secret.


Sign up for our newsletter and we'll send you TWO of our e-books, completely free:

220 Plot Point Breakdowns (new!)


TSL's Encyclopedia of Screenwriting