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Tue, Mar. 22nd, 2005, 07:44 pm
kben: Act One, Part One

I apologize for the unplanned two-week hiatus. But… I'm back in gear,
so let's get rolling on Act One.

The most imperative part of the first act is The First Ten Pages.

These pages are what will make or break your script, especially in the
eyes of the Hollywood Reader. It's the hook. Think of the first ten
minutes of your favorite film. What happens? Who do you meet? Why
do you feel motivated to keep watching? The First Ten Pages will set
the standard for your script.

Act One should run about thirty pages. It will include the
introduction of your main character, the groundwork for and
introduction of the central conflict, and the introduction the
protagonist, as well as any subplots.

Common Act One Mistakes-

-Boring or Unlikable Protagonist

People need to be able to get behind your main character. They need
to identify with them. This doesn't mean that your characters must be
just like everyone else, but they do need to be relatable. If they're
going to do something that seems outrageous, make sure their reasons
have explanation.

-Silly/Non-Worthwhile Goal

This is the driving force behind your entire story, therefore it MUST
be able to carry through 100 pages of script. Make your character's
goal something that an audience will root for.

-Non-Threatening Antagonist

Whoever/Whatever's getting in the way of your main character's
"pursuit of happiness" needs to be a strong enough opposing force to
create tension. Remember that the key element of any story is
Conflict.

These thirty pages will set the stage on which your story will play
out. Next week will also be about the first act, so shoot for
something around fifteen pages over the course of this week. Focus on
the opening, the introduction of your world.