You Sure Have a Nice Midpoint — What’s Your Name?

Alden Olmsted
13 min readFeb 10, 2024

Chapter Seven of my Indie-Film Journal A Virus Ate My Movie!

Sex at 60

This is truly one of my favorite parts. Whoops — not that you dirty bird. I mean the movie’s sex scene that happens around the middle of the film — aka page 60. Even though I didn’t have it in this film, for many years ‘sex at 60’ was a Hollywood standard. The place to put the first intimate scene.

Why?

Well for one thing, what do we know about sex? It changes EVERYTHING, right? So, with a standard screenplay of 100–120 pages, the sex at page 60 was apparently as good a time as any to flip the story and raise the stakes.

Sex at 60 is great for a rom-com, but the same plot point can be used for any genre. It’s called “party at midpoint.” It’s the place where, after the fun has run its course, at some point it’s gotta ‘arrive.’ It’s gotta lead to something. So we end up at a graduation or ball or gathering or office party of some kind before we can dive in to the second half of the film.

The classic 90’s action movie The Fugitive does it very slyly with the scene where Harrison Ford blends into the St. Patrick’s Day parade crowd in Chicago — it’s a party atmosphere — at least as close as we’re gonna get with a guy on the run for his life, and it ends so succinctly when he tosses his green plastic hat in a trash can and disappears into the crowd. And here we go into the second half of the film.

It’s a flip.

Our real-life midpoint flip wasn’t quite as severe or stark as the examples I’ll give in part II of this chapter, but the flip still happened literally at the midpoint in our process, and that’s a satisfying bit of hindsight to look back on.

Up to this point I was kind of on autopilot. The first trip up north and the first batch of bikes and interviews had gone so well I felt really good. And why should I have felt anything but good? The uncertainty of ‘will we find good stories?’ was answered. The question of how many bikes was still up in the air but at least we were on a good pace.

My big risk was paying off.

The job I had wasn’t my personal favorite but it was working. Me as a dishwasher worked for the…

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Alden Olmsted

I was born in a small town in Northern California just another latch-key kid obsessed with BMX and Tom Petty. Now I make films and travel and write when I can.