When Bill Martell finally gets around to finishing his last Blue Book on screenwriting, he will have completed the most exhaustive, practical, inspiring and fun-to-read body of material on our noble profession/calling the world has ever seen. (And at the lowest price, too) In fact, if he's up for it he should then edit the whole bunch of them into one mammoth Ultimate Encyclopedia of Screenwriting.
Act Two Secrets helps the screenwriter navigate the treacherous rapids (or still waters, more often) of the 'middle part' of the script. It's very easy to lose the plot (literally), fail to build the intensity, use too little (or too much) content... But whatever the possible difficulty you are facing as a writer, Bill has solutions for you. So many solutions, in fact, you may even regret not being able to use all of them at once!
The emphasis is, as in all of these books, on tools you can use, not rules. This means that no matter what your personal preference, whether you like to follow a structural model very closely or you prefer to fly by the seat of your pants, you will be able to get the maximum out of this book. Topics covered at length include pacing, creating strong emotional conflicts by using the 4 D's, genre-specific ways of increasing tension and audience involvement, plot devices to keep your story moving, the proper use of subplots, mysteries and macguffins... It's all great and inspiring stuff. And written in that inimitable Martell manner, combining wit, passion and insight in an irresistible package.
A pleasant surprise is that the examples quoted in the book (often at length) do not stick to the 'classics' we've all seen and had analyzed dozens of times before. Here, a number of entries from a recent edition of the Raindance festival are examined in depth. They cover a wide spectrum of genres and countries, proving just how universal these tools are. And it's also a great way to help the reader discover new films to seek out and writing and directing talent to watch out for.
If you've ever needed help on a second act, get this book. If you want to avoid problems in your second acts, get this book. If you like to read screenwriting manuals for fun (with or without the profit), get this book. It's that simple.
And you can get it here:
Act Two Secrets (Screenwriting Blue Books)