I’m constantly reminded by myself and my surroundings that most of us live in a perpetual state of “Act One Syndrome.” What I’m referring to is the scriptwriting term Stasis = Death coined by the late Blake Snyder, writer of the Save the Cat!
Now this book (along with the credibility of the aforementioned author), are much maligned in its effectiveness and validity in the screenwriting world. It is not my intention to prove or disprove the accusations, but today I will elaborate on the principles he has used in his scripts and tie them into the real life observations I had made.
The term Stasis = Death is used when the main character of a script needs to move on into Act Two. If he or she decides to stay, then it’s the same as dying- literally or emotionally, either way it would stop the story dead in its tracks.
For us in our lives to move from this Stasis into our own Act Twos, we need to take that first step; we need to Break Into Two. See Snyder’s Beat Sheet (see below) explained step-by-step how to write a script. From Opening Image to Closing Image, Blake had mapped the entire writing process out.
Break Into Two was the moment after Debate where the main character took that next step on his or her own and decided to take the plunge.
I feel that many of us in today’s world don’t take that evolutionary step in our lives. We get stuck, become complacent, or otherwise remain in Stasis. I’ve been there once in a stronger sense, and still today fight my way out of complacency.
It’s easy to see by using this viewpoint that those around you struggle to make the leap of faith because it can often be quite scary. What if it doesn’t work? What if I get hurt? The mind toys with itself to keep its assumed security, but in the end, the mind kills itself with the inevitable wonder and daydreams of an opportunity not taken.
Now I get that all of us can’t go wandering in the night of the unknown. How would our stable occupations ever be fulfilled? But all of us can dream, and without the next step, the reaction to the dream, none of us could ever achieve them.
I don’t know about you, but my life can’t be the same as it is now. My dream is the only way that I’m truly happy. And I desperately want to be happy.
Here’s to Act Two, where life truly begins.
Jamie dreams big, but isn’t too big to respond to your comments. He’s always up for a conversation.