The 3 things your script is missing in Act 3 (and how to find them)

You are on your way to the end. Remember these key elements.

When you write your screenplay, there are a lot of Beats you must try to remember. When you break them down as you go, it might seem a little less complicated.

The three acts are a way of looking at a story that stretches all the way back to ancient Greece, and they inform all sorts of narratives in film and television. It was Aristotle’s theory that a drama should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Well, with all that theory, sometimes you miss writing. So I wanted to break down the things that I see people missing, because a lot of times it’s the same thing. I miss even those things, so good to see again for me too.

Today we are going to cover the third act. Yes, that’s the end of your script. By the time you get here, you’ll want to take a cruise. But often, if you’re browsing, you’re going to miss a few things. Let’s review them together.

The 3 things your script is missing in Act 3

1. Immediacy

One thing I’ve fought for as a writer is making sure that a driving force survives all my actions. Often when we get to act three, our characters have the resolve they need. So we just see people talking about it. If there is no immediacy, everything slows down.

Even if you think your characters are getting carried away, see if you can introduce things to keep the story going. Like a time block that keeps them going, or a few rewards to make sure the journey is still fruitful for the audience.

2. Tangible arc resolution

Sometimes you get to those last few pages and you think the ending is enough. But if you have a character that is arcing, you have to show something tangible for us to feel that emotion. It cannot just be a person in a new place in life. There must be a dramatic representation of this change.

Can we physically see a representation of what is going on inside? Find something tangible and make sure it’s there so the audience can see where we end up.

3. One end

One of the signs of a first draft is that the end of your script cascades over a few different scenes. Although it’s not a hard and fast rule, think about your only end. What’s the one thing that happens when we want more but also feel complete?

This singular ending is what you should be working towards. Cascading scenes are boring and lazy. Try combining them or cutting them entirely. How can you sum things up in one quick motion?

Learn more about the three-act structure to tighten up your writing.