Posted by: steveonfilm | January 15, 2009

Come Together….Right Now!

I’ve never been a fan of the middle. The middle part of the line. The middle seat in a car. The middle finger. Middlesex, New Jersey.

But the middle I loathe the most? The middle of a screenplay.

I’ve tried a few methods to help me out. Index cards. Beat sheets. Diagrams. Spirographs. Parallelograms. Tetrahedrons. Crazy stuff. But these are just tools. No solutions.

I just have problems moving from the introductions of character and the conflict to the development phase. And it’s not even the whole middle I have problems with, just the first half of the middle. The part that should lead up to some sort of revelation around the middle of the film. I mean, I know the revelation, I just can’t branch to it.

From what I’ve read, this is a part a lot of screenwriters have problems with. It’s sort of got me thinking about strategies that other writers might use to help them resolve the mental blocks that contribute to the problems.

For me, it’s having a story that’s too choreographed…a story that gives too much away to the reader, so they know what’s going to happen next and no real tension can build up. I’m getting better at avoiding this, but hey, I’m a rookie, fixing a weak spot like this takes time and practice. But I become so paralyzed thinking about this shortcoming that I almost can’t write. I can’t move on. I can’t bridge the middle.

I’m going to peruse the internet tonight to see what I can find. See what other writers think. If I come up with anything I’ll let you know.



  1. Oh yes. That is THE scariest part of a script…the middle 3rd. It is so daunting because it is so big and so much can be put in, and what is the most important? And what if I’m wandering down the wrong road? I agree. That has always been the scariest for me.

    Check out Blake Snyder’s Book called “Save the Cat”, its very helpful. It’s all about filling in that middle meat to give your screenpay the final umph it needs. He’s got a website as well.

    Lemme know if this is what you are looking for. The book is a great read, fairly quick, helps you break things down into 8ths instead of 3rds, and overall is very informative. I think the book itself costs about $20. I’m staring at it now. It’s in my collection, and should be a part of yours.

    You know if it helps, they say the middle of an airplane is the safest place to sit…that’s a good middle. And Twinkies too…

  2. I’ll have to check out “Save the Cat.”

    The middle of Oreo cookies are pretty good too.

  3. Mmm…. Oreos….Nom nom nom nom.

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