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Current time:0:00Total duration:4:47

Video transcript

in act 1 you've established all the information your audience needs to know and given your characters a set of challenges to overcome now begins the journey to achieve their goals let's take a closer look at our story spine for act 2 in act 2 our protagonists often encounters a series of progressive complications these obstacles force them to make difficult decisions as one thing leads to another in a chain of events we call the journey the choices and actions your main character makes as they attempt to overcome these escalating obstacles is the substance of the second act but how do we make sure the journey of act 2 is more than just a series of events strung together let's ask our storytellers my friends how they think about the elements of act 2 act 2 is a place where you beat your character up a lot you have to keep making things hard for your character or the story has no conflict and a story with no conflict has no shape no pacing no momentum so you just keep throwing harder and harder things their way and they have to learn it's a growth opportunity in figuring out how to overcome these obstacles so act 2 is where you see the most growth yeah it's really where the character the metamorphosis happens of the character oftentimes as editors we encounter act twos that have become too long we don't want act 2 to go on and on with a chase that just goes on and on and on and on and on and on but basically you need to create a series of challenges for your character towards that ultimate fork in the road where they have to make a really difficult decision from which there is no return and my favorite example is in inside out where joy has been calling all the shots as she did in the control room she's always been the controlling one and she thinks of sadness as nothing but trouble a burden that she literally has to drag along but when they meet Bing bong and they need Bing bongs help and Bing bong gets so sad that he can't be helpful because he's sitting down crying candy joy tries to rally him to get going that's her way of solving problems right just rally whereas sadness goes over and sits down next to him and says that must have been hard and she consoles him and the tears stop and then they're able to move on that's a huge turning point for joy it's the first time she recognizes that sadness has value act 2 may also contain the low point when it seems that all hope is lost everything's gone wrong and your character may have failed in all attempts to get what they want or they may have achieved everything they want but still be frustrated or miserable because there's something else they actually need the low point is a point when it seems like everything is lost for your main characters at the end of act 2 something really really bad is meant to happen your character to force them to confront the things that they didn't want to confront at the end of act 1 it's why act 2 exists and it allows them to then demonstrate it in act 3 and sort of show that for the audience and for themselves that this change is permanent I think Pete doctors up is my favorite movie and it's because of the way this low point at the end of act 2 is handled so all through the movie Carl has had this goal it's a big irrational goal I have to put my house on Angel Falls in Venezuela because a long time ago I told my wife we would go live there but when he finally achieves that goal and he's sitting alone in the house exactly where he told Elliot would be he realizes it's a hollow victory yes he got what he wanted but in the course of act 2 he learned that what he needs is a relationship with Russell so let's summarize act 2 often begins shortly after the inciting incident and is followed by a series of obstacles our characters must overcome in pursuit of their goals by the midpoint of act 2 around the middle of the story there's often a choice from which they can never turn back we sometimes call this the point of no return act 2 may also contain the low point this is generally where act 2 ends in the next exercise you'll have a chance to identify the second act and its elements in your favorite films as well as start developing a second act for the story you want to create