This is where the characters face their most important challenges. All of the elements which seemed like a slam dunk in the proposal are put into action.
We find characters at odds with each other, with objectives, with themselves. Moral compasses can't be read, characters face their own demons, the joy ride turns into a test of honor, a test of wills pitted against each other, the strength of love, new alliances and an uncertain future.
In movies this takes place during the first few minutes. It sets up the environment, the rules, the characters and their motivations. What the audience agrees to here will support them for the rest of the story.
This is the part of a conversation where the screen pitches you an idea: What if there was a beautiful lush planet inhabited by an evolved spiritual people and the planet contained the rare mineral unobtainium?
And to further complicate things, we will view this through the eyes of a crippled-by-battle derelict who (through some very cool science) would be able to function fully if he works for the man to mine this planet. This guy is enthusiastically onboard for getting his legs back, but he also has a conscience.
Section sounds obvious, but have you ever watched a movie, or tv series, where the end did not make sense -except to get out of the scene. One or more characters you came to know and rely upon acted out of character. You're left scratching your head with questions that steal from your satisfaction.
This can happen because the writer set up a compelling series of events they did not think through to the conclusion. Also, there are a lot of cooks in the kitchen when a movie/tv series is being made. Corporate-directed plot lines defy character-evolved plot lines. And there is the rub.
Play, Act 1 - Characters
This is the set up. Curtain opens and we are presented with the players, their relationships and possibly toward the end of act one an inciting incident. The incident raises the stakes from everyday life to something has got to be done about this. Momentum is built here as well as our investment in the characters. We are invested and we need to know the outcome.
Play, Act 2 - Obstacles & Crisis
This is a furiously busy section where the feathers hit the fan and turmoil reigns. We find out the true mettle of players in fight or flight. A pitched battle of wits defines alliances and those who would betray their friends make their move. Batter up!
Play, Act 3 - Goals & Resolution
Kick this off with big defeats for the bad guys and double down with bigger losses for the villains. Dust settles, good people stand up and dust themselves off. The world akimbo is set straight once again. Look around, these are the players you want to see lead us into the future. Well done.
Your Story's Journey 3 in 1 Map
I made this to help me see the relationship between stories developed as screenplays vs books vs plays.