Conceptual specificity (or Santa Claus vs The Zombies)

Conceptual specificity:  The fun of the second act should come from the elements set up by the first act. The fun of the second act needs to come from the hook, otherwise the draft isn't exercising the idea it purports to embody. I know that’s a long and boring mouthful, so to drive this home... Continue Reading →


Most second acts suck. Here’s a tip on how to fix that.

I read scripts for money. I enjoy it. I like reading, I like teaching, and reading has given me insights that have helped my own craft. But 90% of the time, I end up writing some variation of this paragraph: The script starts late – it spends 35 or so pages setting up the whys... Continue Reading →

The premise of a movie is like a machine that generates entertaining scenes, setpieces and ideas. These are largely explored in the second act.

Your movie concept combined with the genre of movie creates the means by which entertainment is made. For instance, a time travel comedy would probably have a lot of moments where the existence of time travel led to funny set pieces. An avalanche action movie would probably have a lot of gunplay that somehow involved... Continue Reading →

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