Posted by: steveonfilm | February 10, 2008

Finding The Mid-Point: Chapter Twelve Exercise – Part One

This one took a few days. One, it was the weekend. And two, I had a few other things going on (such as Lego Star Wars The Complete Saga on the XBOX 360, playing around with my Apple TV, and putting together a new TV stand I bought at Target).

I originally set out to do this exercise with Real Genius, a movie I am completely familiar with. However, I just watched that when I was sick last weekend. So, tonight I pulled an audible and decided to watch Ferris Bueller’s Day Off instead.

This was probably a mistake. I found it really hard to find a solid mid-point and plot point two. I’ve seen this movie a million times. I know the bits. I know the pacing. I have a feeling as to what the mid point and plot point two are, I just don’t feel like I have a definitive answer.

I went back and forth a few times before settling on what I’m going to list. All in all, I think I’m darn close, if I didn’t nail it, to what the mid-point and plot point two are.

Plot Point One: Ferris and Cameron take the Ferrari.

Theme of First Half of Act Two: Three kids enjoying a day in the big city.

Mid-Point: Ferris discovers the Ferrari has too many miles on it.

Theme of Second Half of Act Two: Three kids coming to grips with responsibility.

Plot Point Two: They can’t get the miles off the car and Cameron flips.

I couldn’t decide if the mid point was the museum scene or when they realize the car had too many miles on it. In addition, I can’t decide if plot point two is when Cameron fakes trying to drown himself, or when he flips out and bashes the front of the car.

As I said, it wasn’t clear cut like a lot of other movies are. This would have been easier had I went with Real Genius, as the narrative is more straightforward with a clearer central conflict. Plot Point Two is clear and evident (they discover the laser is a weapon), and the mid-point is easy to understand (Mitch finds Lazlo in the tunnels). Even though these are two classic 80s comedy’s, they’re two very different films with very different messages.

Then again, this was a good challenge. It was nice to have to work a bit to figure things out, as opposed to having it spelled right out for me. Then again, a lot of times that spelling out is what makes the story so well in the first place.

But now, enough of the busy work. While doing this exercise I’ve been thinking about how to set up the first half, mid-point, and second half of act two and I’m ready to see how Syd’s going to introduce me to some of the creative process.



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