An eye is the last piece of a puzzle showing a surprised man wearing glasses.
Screenwriters Beginners,  Screenwriting Tips,  Story Structure

What is the Aha moment – Hero’s Powerful Realisation

Hey guys, we’re back with the last important plot point of the 3-act structure!
As I’ve mentioned before a screenplay has many plot points, but until now, Ι’ve chosen to talk about the most important ones, those that, in my opinion, are necessary to include in your scripts. However, there’s one left to discuss. It’s the plot point that I like to call the “aha moment”.

The a-ha plot point is a moment of realisation by the main character.

Where is the Aha Moment

The thing about this plot point is that you won’t find it always at the same point in a film. Sometimes we can find in the end of Act 2 but other times you’ll find it in the beginning of Act 3. When it is in the end of Act 2 most of the times it works as the second plot point and it is usually very very close to the low point. But sometimes the low point and the “a-ha” point are not that close, so Act 3 has already begun. However, it’s always around there: after the low point and before the Climax!

What is the Aha Moment

The hero is having an aha moment. Now she knows what to do!

At some point, right after the low point of the protagonists, when they have lost everything and they’re sad and have no idea what to do next, there’s a new piece of information that reaches them unexpectedly.

Something that they hadn’t noticed before, something that they hadn’t thought of before. It’s a new clue. Perhaps a friend tells them something seemingly insignificant, but now it makes sense. It’s the last piece of the puzzle, that no matter how small, it helps our main characters to see the big picture. And that’s when they get it.

Now it is the moment that they say “Wait a minute… I think I got it”, or “aha, that’s interesting”. It is one final twist. After this moment our protagonists are ready for the final step. They have a plan now; they know how to win the antagonist. They are ready for the “Big fight”.

Let’s see some of this plot point examples in movies:

The Game

The aha moment of the movie "The Game" by David Fincher

In the Game, Nicholas after losing everything, he wakes up buried in a cemetery and in his return he meets with his ex-wife. During this meeting, he sees Jim Feingold, his interviewer before starting the Game, starring on a TV commercial. That’s when he realises that Jim is a hired actor and he decides to find him.

The Sixth Sense

Shot from movie the Sixth Sense. Malcolm and Cole are discussing.

In the Sixth Sense, Malcolm is trying to help a child, Cole, who tells him that he sees ghosts. Near the end of the second act, Cole tells him that he can’t help him, if he doesn’t believe him. Malcolm then, listens to an audiotape from a session of an older case with another patient, Vincent, who reminds him a lot of Cole and in the tape he hears a man begging for help in Spanish. That’s when he realises that Cole is telling him the truth, he sees real ghosts.

Silver linings Playbook

Shot from movie Silver Linings Playbook. Tiffany and Pat are rehearsing their dance.

In Silver Linings Playbook, Tiffany shows up at Pat’s house and in an effort to convince his father that his favourite team does better when she and Pat are together, she uses a couple of times the expression “if it’s me reading the signs…”

Pat gets out in the front porch and he starts rereading Nikki’s letter. That’s when he notices that this expression is also referred in the letter “…but if it was me reading the signs…” and Pat realises that Tiffany wrote this letter, not Nikki. It’s the moment where he understands that Tiffany loves him.

I hope the “a-ha” moment is now clear for you, so you can use it in your scripts.

Go ahead and watch the relevant video I’ve made:

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