- Paperback: 188 pages
- Publisher: Continuum (1 Sept. 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0826418783
- ISBN-13: 978-0826418784
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 1 x 21.6 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 661,632 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- See Complete Table of Contents
The 3rd Act: Writing a Great Ending to Your Screenplay: A Structural Approach to Writing Great Endings Paperback – 1 Sep 2001
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About the Author
Drew Yanno is Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Fine Arts Department at Boston College in the USA, where he teaches courses on screenwriting.
Inside This Book(Learn More)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Having earned my MFA in Screenwriting from USC and working full time in development, I have read hundred of scripts. I can say for a fact that even the best writers can meet their downfall in the crucial third act (see Cameron Crowe's Elizabethtown).
I have seen many good scripts crash and burn at page 80 - the start of the 3rd act. Usually the writer has no idea how to resolve their plotlines, and winds up taking shots in the dark. The truly amazing scripts have killer third acts - every moment of the previous scenes as been building to this. The mediocre scripts have satisfying, yet never surprising, third acts. And truly horrible scripts? Well, those writers never considered their third act while writing the first act.
Yanno walks the reader (and screenwriter) through the key types of scenes often seen and usually required in successful 3rd acts. He breaks down the mechanisms of the 3rd act, and of scripts in general, without losing the purpose of writing - to tell a story that evokes emotion.
During his numerous examples, Yanno does not discriminate with his taste in films. He discusses a wide range of movies: classics, modern releases, art house flicks, and even popcorn blockbusters. Most screenwriting books focus on the author's one or two favorite examples, Yanno uses almost 20!
Although I read The 3rd Act as a screenwriting guide, it works equally as a critical discussion of story structure - and therefore would be a tremendous value to writers and film theorists alike.
I really hope this is the first in a series by Drew Yanno. His thorough and friendly examination of other areas of screenwriting in definitely needed.
After reading his book, my problem became quite clear. I had conflict, I had resolution, but I had neglected to answer the question raised in the first act.
I use the word "simple" purposefully as this is the style of Mr. Yanno's writing. He lays out guidlines for great endings in clear, plain English. No math degree needed, no plot points, no concentric circles, no diagrams.
The book is rife with specific examples of how great endings were fashioned in a wide range of great movies from Casablanca to Gladiator. His dissection of the third act of the latter was particularly instructive to me as it always struck me as contrived. Walking through the construction of the act, the author explained how and why it was the best way to resolve the ultimate conflict while answering the first act question.
So, if you think your script needs a geometric fix, read McKee. If you want to satisfy your audience with a great ending, read Yanno.
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