Act-One, Sequence Two (pages 13-25) is the Predicament Sequence. In this sequence, the predicament central to the story is established. It is also called the setup, as it establishes the motivation for the protagonist in the second act.
This sequence is the second half of the first paragraph of the synopsis.
The first act goal of the protagonist is either about to be disrupted or the goal is accomplished and the antagonist finds that the rewards were not what he or she thought they were going to be. The protagonist will be forced into a new direction they do not want to go. Obstacles are hinted at or commence to become clear. Sometime during this sequence, the protagonist voluntarily or involuntarily makes a new goal. This is the second of the protagonist’s goals and will carry the story through to the next part.
In Star Wars, the Empire kills Luke Skywalker’s aunt and uncle. There is nothing left for him on his planet, so he will accompany Obi-Wan Kenobi. When the Death Star captures their ship, Luke’s new goal is to rescue the princess.
The primary tension starts as the sequence ends with Plot Point One, also known as The Opt-Out Decision. At this point in the story, the protagonist has a significant critical decision to make. If the protagonist chooses one decision, then the story cannot go forward. However, whether the protagonist willing makes the decision or is forced to make it, the decision that advances the story into the second act is made-blue pill, red pill. Now the protagonist is locked into a course of action and cannot easily change direction.
Act-Two; Sequence Three (pages 26-38) is the First Obstacle and Raising of the Stakes Sequence. The protagonist shifts to his or her new goal and the central part of the story begins.
Without this screenwriting process for organizing a screenplay, somewhere between sequences three and four is where most “great ideas” falter. Many a script die here.
Novice writers who start writing the screenplay before fleshing out sequences three through six using this process will find the story stalling. They had the beginning and the end, but a story has three parts-a beginning, middle, and an end.
Be prepared to work very hard. You will stare out the window because staring at a screen that has not changed or notebook with blank pages can be frustrating. But a dedicated, hard-working screenwriter will push on to the second act.
The second act involves the complex development of the plot. The writer is doing more than preparing the way for the resolution. If you do not have a clear picture of where the story is going, the middle section will be confounding. Or if there are holes in the story that are not addressed, they will now become giant problems when the writing starts. In many cases, this happens because the writer had a great beginning and a smashing ending and thought the middle would write itself when he or she arrived at that point. Wrong. It bears being repeated: the second part is the story and, therefore, the midpoint is a key to telling that story. Understand that the second part is not filler. It is not a stall tactic to hold the reader or the audience until it is time for that great, spectacular finish you have planned. This is the reason for making the film, the actual story. For all the brilliance of the beginning and end of great films, they would not be great films without an impressive second part.
Think of it in these terms; two scared little robots are on a spaceship being attacked. A pretty princess gives them plans for destroying a huge wicked battlestar; the robots then deliver the plans to the rebellion and they blow the Death Star up. That was not a story. The middle sequences make the above description the beginning and the end of a great story.