We talk about the Midpoint in a Film
Continuing our analysis of the Three Act Structure in Filmmaking, another important plot point that certain screenwriters (not all) consider to be of importance is the Midpoint .
Today we’re going to talk about the Midpoint of a film. The Midpoint usually occurs in the middle of the film and in the middle of Act 2. The easiest way to understand the Midpoint is as a foreshadowing of the resolution of the story.
So, if your film’s ending is a tragedy and is depressing, then the midpoint is a moment where the protagonist is at the low point of the film. But if your film has a happy ending, then the Midpoint will reflect that and be a moment of success for your character.
The Midpoint could serve many different purposes, though it doesn’t have to include all of these:
-A moment of revelation
-A reversal of fortune
-Raising the stakes of the story
-Introducing the Point of No Return
-the list goes on...
Midpoints vary from film to film and can be hard to identify and not every Midpoint reflects the ending of the film, but the general rule is that it does reflect the resolution.
Let’s look at the film “The Godfather” and see what we get. Our main character Michael, played by Al Pacino, has already accepted the journey of joining his family’s gang, so we’re definitely in Act Two.
The Midpoint is when Michael meets with the corrupt chief of police and another mafia boss and assassinates them.
It occurs in the Second Act of our film. It’s a point of no return, because Michael murdered two people. The stakes have been raised. Though morally reprehensible, it is a success for our protagonist in terms of his goal of being a crime boss, so let’s call it a success. Now, this foreshadows the conclusion of our film wherein Michael performs the same act of murder, just on a grander scale, wiping out all his enemies.
Both the Midpoint and the Resolution are successes.
So that’s just a basic overview of the Midpoint and see if you can spot the Midpoint in the next film that you watch.
Foundations of Screenwriting
Story, Structure, Substance, Style
The Writer's Journey
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