“Leaves of three, let them be.” A helpful little phrase when it comes to avoiding poison oak in the woods, but when it comes to your screenplay, three absolutely is company. This is the core of screenwriting.
Three Act Structure is your framework and the almighty epoxy of the screenplay. These three parts, often literally taking place in different worlds - physically and/or figuratively - can work independently of each other, yet when connected, they build a solid whole.
Usually the story really begins at the moment when the first character faces the difficulty that he or she has to solve, and it better be a clear difficulty, and he better realize that he must do something. Dramatic form means action, and action brings tension. So the awareness of the tension, and the clarification of what the nature of your tension is, helps to build the whole script.
This is the meat and potatoes portion... AND the most difficult part of writing a screenplay. Most mediocre and flawed screenplays are plagued by slow or meandering second acts. Keep in mind the main tension - and that your character should always be on the path to resolving that tension.
The audience has seen the journey through which our protagonist has traveled. Yet the audience still wants reassurance that all is well, that the characters have changed, and a glimpse of his/her future.
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