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Difference between "Midpoint" and "All Is Lost"

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Joined: 3 years ago
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Hello everybody,
I know that "Midpoint" and "All Is Lost" are different parts of the movie but I'm struggling to find the main thing lately. Mr. Snyder says that there will be a false victory or defeat in "Midpoint". But there's already a false defeat at the "All Is Lost" right? So what am I missing here? Because I can't find two different losses at movies. Please help me out =)

Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 20

Great question! That all depends on what kind of story is being told. I've seen that more films have a "false victory" at the Midpoint rather than a "false defeat". Usually, at the Midpoint, the hero thinks they have achieved the goal... that they've gotten all they wanted. OR, for a false defeat, it could be that they get what they didn't want, but it's not the worst thing that can happen yet. In these cases, it's more of a speed bump of sorts. For example, in The King's Speech, when King George V passes at the Midpoint, instead of George VI taking the throne, his brother does. But George VI has been training in speech for this, and now, it's a false defeat. He's lost all he thought he wanted. But it's not the worst for him... that will happen later. Usually the All Is Lost moment is more emotional and it will connect to the relationship in the B Story, causing the hero to realize that they would have been better off if they had never gone on this journey.

That's the major point of the All Is Lost moment. With the Midpoint, the stakes are raised, and the hero is thrust into becoming active, and things will get worse. At the All Is Lost, things hit rock bottom, and it feels like the hero can do no more.

This can be tough to distinguish at first. The best way to really realize it and recognize it is to watch great movies and read great scripts and beat sheets (there are a ton on this site!). The more familiar you become with it, the easier it will get!


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