Hello everyone... Levin here,
Let's tackle this question of "What is the Second Act?"
In the simplest of terms, it's the middle of your story. It's also, usually, the most complicated, excruciating part of a screenplay. You usually know how your story begins when you start writing. You probably have some semblance of an idea as to how it's going to end. But the middle part where you know "a lot of things happen!" but you don't know what or how exactly... That's the abyss, my friends.
|Welcome to the Second Act! Please enjoy your stay through the next 5 rewrites!|
What is your protagonist trying to do?
If this question is clear -- "Liam Neeson wants to kill the motherfuckers who kidnapped his daughter and get her back, will he able to?" or "Charlie Kaufman wants to adapt this damn book, will he be able to?" -- then chances are you're on the right path. In the maze that is the Second Act, a clear want is the brightest beacon that will guide you.
In very simple terms, the Second Act is a series of victories and defeats as your protagonist either gets closer or further away from his/her goal. He or she can't always win, because this would be boring. He or she can't always lose, because that would be boring too. Make sure that every scene you write advances towards either a Win or a Loss. This way, you can keep the momentum going.
Let's say you're writing a movie about a young girl who is obsessed with Penguins. She runs away from home and travels to Antarctica where she'll steal her very own Pet Penguin!
|Meet the Evil Polar Bear. His name is... DINGUS!|
Alternating between victories and defeats is the key to a dynamic second act!
Important structural points of your second act are the Mid Point and the End of the Second Act.
So go ahead and dive into the abyss, my friends! Keep it simple and dynamic and you might have a great Second Act by the end of your journey!