This site is a personal repository of rough notes about writing for novels and the screen, hence its work-in-progress nature. Notes are heavily influenced by the work of Blake Snyder, Robert McKee and James Scott Bell. This is a slow, long-term project, hence incomplete notes and lack of design.

It is at the Midpoint Moment that transformational questions arise in the conscience of the viewpoint character. Common transformational questions include:

Alien: Covenant (2017)

©Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

American Gangster (2007)

At the exact midpoint, Detective Richie Roberts notices Frank Lucas in his "$50,000 chinchilla coat" and identifies him as Bumpy Johnson's former driver and protege. The old Frank has died. He is no longer just a soldier. He is now in the crosshairs. The new Frank is now in the spotlight. In the next shot, Frank "looks into the mirror" as he stares at that same coat, which he has just thrown into the fireplace, his face filled with an expression of "What have I done? How did I let this happen?"

Contact (1997)

The Film's Main Theme: The battle between faith and science/reason.

At the midpoint of this film, we find Ellie Arroway and Palmer Joss attending a Washington, D.C. reception, having been reunited in the previous scene. They compliment each other on appearances.

ELLIE
I read your book

PALMER
Here we go.

ELLIE
Would you like me to quote you? 'Ironically, the thing that people are most hungry for, meaning, is the one thing science hasn't been able to give them.'

Yeah... yeah.

ELLIE
Come on. It's like you're saying science killed god. What if science revealed he never existed in the first place?

An all powerful god that...

PALMER
I don't know. I couldn't imagine a world where god didnt' exist.

ELLIE
How do you know you're not deluding yourself? For me, I'd need proof."

PALMER
Proof?

He stares at her intently.

PALMER
Did you love your father?

ELLIE
What?

PALMER
Your dad... did you love him?

ELLIE
Why, yes... I loved him very much.

PALMER
Prove it.

Ellie's beeper goes off.

ELLIE
Kent.

Palmer's beeper beeps.

PALMER
The White House.

What happened?

DRUMLIN
You were right all along

has finally paid off

and obtained exclusively by CNN

PALMER
President has called an emergency meeting.

DRUMLIN
Yeah... I imagine he would.

Iron Man 3 2013

At the exact midpoint of the film, Iron Man, having been bested by an opponent in a fierce, kinetic battle, lays in the rubble of his destroyed Malibu pad, stunned as he stares at Iron Patriot glaring back at him. The powerful visual we get of these two demigods facing off at the exact midpoint of the story is another example of Bell's "mirror moment". In this case, Tony Stark looks into the virtual mirror image of himself as reflected by Iron Patriot.

Body of Lies

CIA Officer Roger Ferris has done it now. As the head of the Jordanian foreign post, he has lost the trust of Hani Salaam when Ed Hoffman's subterfuge creates havoc. Unknown to Ferris and Salaam, Ed Hoffman tells Ferris' CIA subordinate, Skip, to follow Karami and kidnap him. Karami escapes and notifies the terrorists in the safe house that it is being watched, and they abandon it. Ferris's partner is caught and Salaam accuses Ferris of having had knowledge of the move on Karami, and blames Ferris's duplicity with him for the destruction of the safe house. He exiles Ferris from Jordan. (Source: Wikipedia)

HANI: "Marwan show you the burning house? Do you know what happened?"

FERRIS: "I have absolutely no idea."

HANI: "You see, you could have said to me 'yes' or 'no'. Simply that. When a man says to me more than yes or no, then I begin to wonder."

HANI: "We had the advantage. That house could have led us to Al-Saleem. Now it is gone. Everything inside it is gone."

HANI'S GUARD (to SKIP): "Here. Kneel."

FERRIS: "Hani, listen to me. I--"

HANI: "I told you to never to lie to me."

FERRIS: "I'm not lying to you, Hani."

HANI: "You did not know that this man, after everything I said to you... everything I said to Edward, that he tried to take Karami?"

SKIP: "He did not know."

HANI (to SKIP): "When I want to hear from you, I will speak to you. Now I'm talking to Mr. Ferris. So, in as few words as possible, did you know?"

FERRIS: "No."

HANI: "I don't believe you. You have twelve hours to leave Jordan. If I find you here, I will not be responsible for your safety. Do you understand me?"

Hani and his men depart.

FERRIS: "Now, you knew you needed to adapt to this environment."

SKIP: "Ferris, I know, but, you know, I--"

Ferris punches Skip, who falls, grunting, into the garbage of the debris field. Ferris kicks him and he tumbles further down the hillside.

SKIP: "Ferris!"

Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)

Christian: "You look different."

Anastasia: "I feel different."

The old Anastasia has "died", the midpoint transformation has occurred. He texts her. She reviews, then signs, the binding terms of the dominant-submissive contract.

Kingsman (2015)

The midpoint of this film is a "literal" example of Bell's mirror moment... the viewpoint character looks into an actual mirror