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Online class #14 – How To Write A Killer First Act For Your Screenplay

In last month’s SYS Select Class I taught you how to make the opening pages of your screenplay awesome. Over the next couple of months I will be dissecting each section of the screenplay – the opening pages, the first act, the second act, and the third act. Combined with several of the other SYS classes like Choosing a Marketable Concept and Before You Begin To Write Your Screenplay you should have all the tools to write a marketable, professional script from start to finish.

So this month I will be teaching How To Write A Killer First Act For Your Screenplay. If you make bad choices in your first act, it’s nearly impossible to make the rest of your screenplay work. So it’s imperative that your first act work properly.

I will be using two great screenplays, Unforgiven and Jerry Maguire to illustrate the lessons that I will teach. Both screenplays are available in the SYS Script Library, so please read the first acts of both scripts before the class begins.

During this online class you will learn…

  • You will learn how to properly structure your first act so it does all the work that it needs to do to properly set up the rest of your screenplay.
  • You will learn how to set up your protagonist so the audience can relate to him/her.
  • You will learn how to set up the main “A” story so that it can be sustained throughout the entire screenplay.
  • You will learn how to clearly and quickly define three dimensional characters that can hook your reader.
  • You will learn exactly what a first act must do to hook the reader and get them excited and interested in reading the rest of your story.
  • You will learn a number of advanced writing tips to make your script jump off the page.

In this online class I will…

  • I will use Jerry Maguire and Unforgiven to demonstrate exactly how a good first act works.
  • I will show you my first act template which you can use to measure your own screenplays against.

You should take this class if…

  • You should take this class if you are getting ready to start writing a screenplay and need help with your first act.
  • You should take this class if you have written a script or partial script but the first act is not working.
  • You should take this class if you’ve written a screenplay or two (or three) but are having a hard time getting them up to professional standards.
  • You should take this class if you want to give your screenplay the best possible chance of selling once it’s done.

To get the most out of this class make sure you understand screenplay structure. I highly recommend that you read both Syd Field’s Screenplay and Blake Snyder’s Save The Cat.

Also, please read the first acts of both screenplays.

Unforgiven by David Webb Peoples
http://www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/wp-content/uploads/screenplay/scripts/Unforgiven.pdf

Jerry Maguire by Cameron Crowe
http://www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/wp-content/uploads/screenplay/scripts/Jerry-Maguire.pdf

Class Details

The original class took place in Saturday December 13th at 10am PST. The class was recorded so you can take the class anytime by joining Selling Your Screenplay Select.

You can see all the SYS classes that are in the library by going here: SYS Online Classes.