Stu and Chas embark on the first of a series of explorations into the dreaded Second Act. Their first stop is midpoint reversals or shifts, a plot point bang in the middle of ACT II that changes the protagonist’s goal, raises the stakes and potentially leaves your audience leaning forward and asking “How the hell is this going to end?”.
To get to the bottom of what makes a good midpoint shift (and whether your story needs one or not), Stu and Chas ride through DEATH AT A FUNERAL, PRISONERS, SHORT TERM 12, ALIEN, ALIENS and UP. We also drift across FULL METAL JACKET, PHILOMENA, HOW I LIVE NOW, ELYSIUM, DIE HARD and STAR WARS. Of course. Stu couldn’t resist. It’s not even funny anymore, is it?
Stu and Chas are joined by their first guest – illustrious script developer and producer Stephen Cleary – to explore how certain films can trigger an outpouring of emotion from the audience. Turns out that Aristotle may have figured it out a few thousand years ago and called it Catharsis.
To examine how Catharsis can be triggered by a sequence of fixed beats, Stu, Chas and Stephen zone in on the last few pages of FIELD OF DREAMS, TOY STORY 3 and SE7EN. And Stu brings up FROZEN. Again.
INT. EPISODE 2 – MORNING Do the biggest original films of 2013 follow more archetypal – or formulaic – structures? After analysing awards-nominated screenplays, Stu and Chas turn to the original screenplays that struck it biggest at the box office in 2013: GRAVITY and FROZEN. Do bigger films stick more closely to the archetypal story […]