I was reminded of the phrase reading this New York Times article.
Under a skylight in her tin-ceilinged loft near Union Square in Manhattan, the abstract painter Carmen Herrera, 94, nursed a flute of Champagne last week, sitting regally in the wheelchair she resents.
After six decades of very private painting, Ms. Herrera sold her first artwork five years ago, at 89.
As an exercise try to answer these questions:
How long would your character wait? Could answering these questions drastically improve your already good script? If your main character could achieve an artistic dream before dying what would it be?
This could be a whole new Act III you never thought of. Part of “The New Adventure” I talk about in The Four Magic Questions of Screenwriting is to have your old act III become Act II part, 2, and extend the story into the next phase of their life.
Garden State is a favorite example of how this idea works in practice, as is the wonderful animated film, Up.