Writing The Western Updated X: Act III (of V) Complete!
Big news today: After reaching page 87 last night, I finished the section marked Act III in my outline. Yes, I know, if I'd been doing this with screenwriting-manual-approved Three Act Structure, I'd be done right now[ref] Actually, I wouldn't, but that's okay. [/ref], but still, I feel like celebrating. As I explained before, Act III is all about adjusting the circumstances of the story and sending it in a new direction. Here, that was done by introducing a new character. You all know him, I'm sure, his name is... actually, I don't know. Act IV is about everyone regrouping and adjusting their plans so that everything will resolve in their favor- in Act V.
I feel like I have a lot more momentum going right now. In the last two weeks, I've written about 40 pages. This is why it's important to do a little bit every day. Once you get going, it's harder to stop.[ref] This is also part of Newton's First Law of Motion. [/ref] It does look like the script is going to come in a little on the long side, though. A feature script should ideally less than 120 pages[ref] Or two hours in running time [/ref] Act III ended about three pages later than it should have, and Act II was already one page over. I'm not worried about Act IV, but I think Act V may be a little long, too.
This isn't the end of the world. It's only a first draft, and I can always cut things. Act II has a lot of fat on it- When I calculated how long each act should be, I did the proportions for a 90-page script and a 120-pager, hoping to fall between them[ref] For anyone who's interested, I allotted Acts II and IV 1/5th of the whole running time each, Act III got 2/5ths, and Acts I and V got 1/10th each. Multiply your finished length (90 or 120 pages) by the various fractions to get how long each act is. Three-Act Structure is similarly proportional (30-60-30 pages for a 120-pager). It's also entirely possible the proportions I'm using need to be adjusted. [/ref]. Act I as written is short enough for a 90 page script, Act II has the extra pages I didn't use from that, plus the full 24 pages I allotted it. So there's plenty to cut out to make room for the rest of the story.
Definitely stay tuned for Act IV: Very shortly, we'll be doing our biggest action sequence yet, a chase on horseback. Down the side of a mountain. With low hanging branches. I'm excited. I hope you are too.