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Save the Cat!® Podcast: How to Make Your Midpoint Masterful

By on September 12, 2014 in Podcasts, Tools


STC!_PodcastDWhat’s the right halfway point for your story? What is the signal to your hero — and your audience — that the Fun and Games are over… and the “stakes are raised”? How do you craft the most effective “false victory” or “false defeat” — and why choose either? Master Cat José Silerio and Guy Thompson give examples from Guardians of the Galaxy, The Wolf of Wall Street, The Dark Knight and Bridesmaids in this podcast that will help you craft both a powerful internal and external story for your hero… and a script that will resonate.

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Jose Silerio

About the Author

About the Author: José Silerio, a screenwriter who served as Blake Snyder’s Development Director, has been integral to the success of Blake’s workshops and classes as he worked alongside Blake schooling writers in the Cat! method. “José is my right-hand man when it comes to script consultations.”– Blake Snyder, Save the Cat!® Strikes Back – More Trouble for Writers to Get Into… and Out Of. .

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  1. Louis Pasquale says:

    Loved this analysis of the midpoint and how it relates to the Break Into Two, etc.

    A question I had in regards to BRIDESMAIDS. You indicated the midpoint is when Helen is made the Bridesmaid… a big setback for our hero. This moment occurs at the 58% mark in the film. This seems somewhat late, though the reasoning makes sense. But it also seems it could fit into a later beat. I noticed that the Beat Sheet for this film on this site indicates the midpoint occurs when the women overrule Kristen’s choice for an affordable bachelorette party and go to Las Vegas instead… that looming moment as they get onto the plane… this does occur at the physical midpoint…

    Can you comment on this? I do notice that different people seem to point to different moments for the various beats in many different films… How should we think about this in general?

    • José José says:

      Hey Louis,

      It’s true that we may have different opinions on beats for movies. Believe me, I’ve had my fair share of arguments with Blake about beats of movies – but it’s great because it’s all about analyzing stories.

      In general, for the Midpoint specifically, I look at what point the EXTERNAL (A Story) goal seems to be closest (False Victory) or farthest (False Defeat) to the hero at that particular point of the story (clearly, the All Is Lost is really the point the hero is farthest from the goal externally AND internally.). That’s why the Midpoint is directly connected to the Break Into Two beat.

      For the overall beats in general, each one clearly serves a purpose in the story, but as to how they serve the story greatly depends on what drives/motivates a hero (hopes, fears, etc.) and this affects how external and internal stakes are raised. So, the beats become “clearer” if one has a better understanding of the hero’s character and what drives him/her. The beats aren’t just for plotting out external story, it’s also meant to develop the hero’s internal story to give us the best transformation we can get.

      Hope that helps.

  2. Louis Pasquale says:

    Yes, very helpful.

    Your comment about “…the beats become clearer as we better understand the hero’s character and what drives him/her.” I’ve noticed that sometimes when I’m too anxious or inpatient in trying figure out the story beats, I tend to get it wrong and go off course… but once I settle in, re-watch the movie, maybe even a third time, things become clearer to me and I start to understand what drives the main character and those around him/her… I’ve been watching WIN WIN the past few days and this has certainly been the case as I watch the movie a third time.

    Thanks for the excellent advice, Louis.

  3. Holt Satterfield says:

    In Save The Cat!, Blake states that the Midpoint (False Victory/False Defeat) needs to be the inverse of the All Is Lost point, yet in a film example he cites in the book, Miss Congeniality, the MidPoint and All Is Lost are both “down” points, not opposites. Can you clarify?