Act II – The Middle

Act II is the longest act in the script and you should make it seem as long as possible for your main character yet as short as possible for the reader. Your main character will come face to face with a whole variety of obstacles, the obstacles steadily growing bigger and tougher. Every time he takes a step on the path to reach his goal some force (inner or outer) will block his path, forcing the main character to think quicker and grow stronger if he wants to succeed.

For this reason it is a good idea to have only one or two main characters in a movie. Anymore and you risk having characters become undeveloped and the audience not really caring about them since they don’t appear to be in any big danger.

This act is all about conflict and confrontation, nothing should come easy to your main character.

The Midpoint

Act II can be the hardest act to write as a scriptwriter. When you begin a writing project you often have a clear mental picture of the beginning and end of the script, but it’s how you get there that proves difficult. Fortunately the midpoint of the script offers a lifeline to the scriptwriter. Here we have another turning point, often the introduction or death of a character which sharpens the focus of the main character on achieving his goal.

In Rocky II Rocky has been looking for a white collar job but has been unable to due to his lack of education. Going against Adrian’s wishes Rocky accepts a challenge to a rematch from Apollo Creed.

Plot Point II

Towards the end of Act II and the beginning of Act III we come to a crisis point, Plot Point II. Right now the main character in your script has had enough. They’re sick and tired of all the obstacles being thrown in their way. Their world is a dark place with only a small beam of light left. Plot Point II should:

1. Force the main character to take action in attempt to solve the problem created by the inciting incident.

2. Make the character (and audience) fully aware of the “ticking clock”. Time is running out for your main character to finish the job.

3. Focus the main character on their ultimate goal.

Think of Rocky II when Adrian emerges from her coma to tell Rocky to win the fight. He re-focuses on his training and becomes faster, tougher, and stronger.

Act II in a screenplay