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SCREEN WRITING CLASS - MOD - 11


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#1 aroundworld

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 06:08 PM

Story Endings



What we will cover in this MOD.


Identify the different types of endings for movies, including open-ended story and
the story with a surprise ending.

Understand that loose ends are usually tied up in a good ending.

Write an opening scene and an ending for a movie.




Story Endings

In this module we’re going to look at ways to end your story. Story endings are every bit
as important as the way you begin your story. In some cases, it’s arguable that the ending
is even more important. After all, it’s the movie’s ending that the audience mulls over in
their thoughts as they leave the theater—that is, if you’ve given them an ending that’s
satisfying in some way.



Tying Up Loose Ends


This is probably the most preferred way of ending a movie in the commercial realm of
Hollywood. And since we’re gearing up our skills with an eye on working in the film
industry, this is the way you should attempt to end your own stories.

Tying up loose ends is fairly self-explanatory. Essentially, it’s your job not to leave the
audience hanging and wonder what may have happened to one of your characters or one
of your subplots. Now, this isn’t to say that you need to tie up every single story strand,
but you should resolve most, if not all, of them.



Leaving It Open Ended



Here’s another acceptable—though somewhat less preferred—method of ending your
movie. Open ended stories became quite fashionable in the sixties and seventies,
particularly with foreign filmmakers such as Michelangelo Antonioni (Blow-Up, The
Passenger to name a few). Back then it was very much in vogue to end your movie and
leave the audience to their own imagination as to what the characters did once the story
ended on screen.



The Surprise Ending


Where the audience is misdirected - miss-lead.


In some ways, surprise endings are often the most fun. It’s great when a
filmmaker/storyteller has led us in one direction only to surprise us by taking another, less
obvious, way to end the story.

A misdirect is put to use on a more macro level here. As mentioned earlier in this course,
playing with what the audience expects and then delivering something else is good
storytelling.

However, you don’t want to be too manipulative or cheap with your misdirect and there’s
nothing worse than being clever for the sake of being clever.
Your ending has to make sense and it has to be organic to the story you are telling.
Above all, it’s important to create an ending that is both satisfying and believable.




ASSIGNMENT #1



Please name films you've seen, and GIVE EXAMPLES of each of these endings.


Tying Up Loose Ends

Open Ended

The Surprise Ending






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#2 kkffoo

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 08:02 AM

Tying up loose ends

The Wizard of Oz. Oz is saved from the wicked witch(es), all the main characters fulfil their goals (courage, brain etc), and the central character Dorothy, finds her way home.

Open Ended

The Italian Job
Ends with the coach hanging over a cliff, cliffhanger ending smile.gif

Surprise Ending

Planet Of The Apes
It turns out the traveller was on Earth all along, but at a different time.

#3 JosephKw

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 10:33 AM

Tying Up Loose Ends.
"Avatar". It starts with a soldier sent by the military to infiltrate a tribe of aliens. It ends with the soldier assisting the alien tribe by defeating the military who sent him, and kicking the military off the alien's planet.

Open Ended.
"The Thing" (John Carpenter's remake). It starts with an alien lifeform landing in Antarctica. Humans come across this "thing" and it takes them over one-by-one. Paranoia runs rampant as no one knows who has been compromised (taken over) by this alien. In the end, two heroes are separated during the battle with one of these "things", and reunited at the end. They suspect each other, but are both too tired to do anything about it. So now it's up to the audience to interpret if it's a happy ending (happy in that all aliens have been destroyed, even though our heroes are doomed to freeze to death), or a sad ending (one of them is an alien and when the rescue team comes to find them, history will repeat itself as the alien starts to take over the new team).

The Surprise Ending.
"the 6th Sense". This was a wonderfully-crafted and presented tale leading the audience to believe a psychologist is helping a psychic child come to terms with his extra-sensory talents (he sees dead people). Only in the end do we realize that the psychologist is himself a ghost, providing not only a unique surprise, but a very touching, moving, and memorable ending.

#4 aroundworld

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 08:28 PM

QUOTE (kkffoo @ May 23 2013, 8:02 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Tying up loose ends

The Wizard of Oz. Oz is saved from the wicked witch(es), all the main characters fulfil their goals (courage, brain etc), and the central character Dorothy, finds her way home.


Very straight forward ending, to an equally clear story. Great example!


Open Ended

The Italian Job
Ends with the coach hanging over a cliff, cliffhanger ending smile.gif

Great ending / example ... these endings ALWAYS need a solid foundation in the sotry to make sense! GREAT!



Surprise Ending

Planet Of The Apes
It turns out the traveller was on Earth all along, but at a different time.


Ahh! I remember this ending well and how surprised i was at the end of the film. It gave me chills.



How do you think the ending of Maggie's story compares one of these endngs?

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#5 aroundworld

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 08:49 PM

QUOTE (JosephKw @ May 23 2013, 10:33 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Tying Up Loose Ends.
"Avatar". It starts with a soldier sent by the military to infiltrate a tribe of aliens. It ends with the soldier assisting the alien tribe by defeating the military who sent him, and kicking the military off the alien's planet.

Yes! Very clear ending. Very clear reason for things happening. Great example!


Open Ended.
"The Thing" (John Carpenter's remake). It starts with an alien lifeform landing in Antarctica. Humans come across this "thing" and it takes them over one-by-one. Paranoia runs rampant as no one knows who has been compromised (taken over) by this alien. In the end, two heroes are separated during the battle with one of these "things", and reunited at the end. They suspect each other, but are both too tired to do anything about it. So now it's up to the audience to interpret if it's a happy ending (happy in that all aliens have been destroyed, even though our heroes are doomed to freeze to death), or a sad ending (one of them is an alien and when the rescue team comes to find them, history will repeat itself as the alien starts to take over the new team).

I saw this movie .. and was so disturbed i swore off creature movies for 5 years. hahaha!!

Great example!

It would have been less satisfying had we known what the alien did or was going to do.



The Surprise Ending.

"the 6th Sense". This was a wonderfully-crafted and presented tale leading the audience to believe a psychologist is helping a psychic child come to terms with his extra-sensory talents (he sees dead people). Only in the end do we realize that the psychologist is himself a ghost, providing not only a unique surprise, but a very touching, moving, and memorable ending.


Yes! What a vivid example! Another movie that left me quite disturbed.



Where does you own movies ending fit in these?

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#6 kkffoo

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 09:13 AM

My original story would fall under the
Tying Up Loose Ends category I believe.

Coming back to this today, it occurred to me that many movies have a combination ending.
Some loose ends are tied, but others are not...allowing for a sequel?
Joseph's example of the sixth sense could be a surprise ending which ties up loose ends?

Many of the films we watch are part of a series, and it is interesting how the writers manage to give a satisfying ending without cutting off possibilities for future revelations or adventures...sometimes even giving a false ending...where it looks as if everything is tied up...but actually we find out later that it wasn't.
& yet sometimes that doesn't work at all.

We've been watching 'lost in space', sixties tv show on DVD and it is so 'flash gordan' in it's construction...wherever possible leaving each episode with one of the family in peril, which is very quickly solved the next week so the adventure can continue in another direction.
It has made me think about audience expectation, relating to what they've seen before, and how writers get more sophisticated in messing with preconceptions about endings (and sometimes get it totally wrong and overcomplicate stories because of seeming to not want to repeat what went before in previous films)
Sometimes it's ok to be simple!

#7 aroundworld

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 09:36 PM

QUOTE (kkffoo @ May 31 2013, 9:13 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
My original story would fall under the
Tying Up Loose Ends category I believe.

I agree! Your story about Maggie ties up the lose ends nicely and it was a joy to watch you develop the sketch to that story. Which we'll be returning to smile.gif


Coming back to this today, it occurred to me that many movies have a combination ending.
Some loose ends are tied, but others are not...allowing for a sequel?

Yes! And sometimes the writers don't plan for a squeal, but realize there's more of a story there after the films success. These are usually studio driven sequels... but if there done right, the pay off is huge (even if it isn't done right.)

Joseph's example of the sixth sense could be a surprise ending which ties up loose ends?

Yes. Shamahlan did an extraordinary job of giving us both a surprise ending AND ting it up at the en of that film. I hope he does something equally as masterful soon.

Many of the films we watch are part of a series, and it is interesting how the writers manage to give a satisfying ending without cutting off possibilities for future revelations or adventures...sometimes even giving a false ending...where it looks as if everything is tied up...but actually we find out later that it wasn't.
& yet sometimes that doesn't work at all.

Back to the Future falls in that category it think. The first one was great.. but as it progressed the "new revelations" and so forth were forced and uninteresting.


We've been watching 'lost in space', sixties tv show on DVD and it is so 'flash gordan' in it's construction...wherever possible leaving each episode with one of the family in peril, which is very quickly solved the next week so the adventure can continue in another direction.

It has made me think about audience expectation, relating to what they've seen before, and how writers get more sophisticated in messing with preconceptions about endings (and sometimes get it totally wrong and over complicate stories because of seeming to not want to repeat what went before in previous films)


Sometimes it's ok to be simple!

REMEMBER THAT!

IT IS ok to be simple. And many times, simple is far more clever than a complicated ending. I grew up on LOST IN SPACE. I loved that show, and i had a crush on Penny! HA HA HA!!! But I digress. smile.gif

You can learn a great deal by watching those shows.. They're simple straight forward solid story telling. And you're right! Each episode was tailor made to keep the drama coming! The writers gave you:

SOLID, CONCRETE, TANGIBLE REASONS to tune in the following week! Kate, MAKE A NOTE of how these EP's end each "week" and how they pick up in the next EP. IT'S Usually ALWAYS very SIMPLE (as you said) simple is good!


EXCELLENT OBSERVATION on audience expectation!!! Just thinking of those two words can take your story in a whole new direction or even crystallize what needs to happen in your mind! smile.gif Always ask your self.... "what does the audience expect here?"

FANTASTIC OBSERVATIONS!! Thank you for sharing!

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#8 JosephKw

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 11:54 AM

I notice with my own films, they tend to favor surprise endings while tying up loose ends. That is also the trend with current Hollywood films as well. As an audience member, I prefer these types of endings myself. Even though I grew up in the 70's, I absolutely hated those ambiguous 70's movies endings--it was like reading a novel only to find out the last chapter was ripped out, so I had to make up my own ending for the darn thing.

However, some unresolved endings are acceptable, such as "the Thing". My latest film, "Pickman's Model" also has a semi-unresolved ending (those ghouls are still running around), as well as a surprise (Pickman's failed attempt to take the ghouls with him), and tying up loose ends (killing off Pickman and revealing the identity of the true killers). However, since it was loosely inspired by an existing story by Lovecraft, it was designed to capture the feel of a Lovecraftian tale which always ends with the danger still looming out there in the shadows.

The stories I came up with for this course all have endings which tie up loose ends. The Dett assassin tale ends with all the mob bosses being killed off. The "Purgatory Park" theme park ends with the park being a success, and the major nemesis ending up working happily for the park owner.

#9 aroundworld

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 05:09 AM

QUOTE (JosephKw @ Jun 1 2013, 11:54 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I notice with my own films, they tend to favor surprise endings while tying up loose ends. That is also the trend with current Hollywood films as well. As an audience member, I prefer these types of endings myself. Even though I grew up in the 70's, I absolutely hated those ambiguous 70's movies endings--it was like reading a novel only to find out the last chapter was ripped out, so I had to make up my own ending for the darn thing.

Yes, those endings were terrible! I don't think they really accomplished there goal either. They still dont unless a really solid story foundation was developed during the movie that will give you some confidence in assuming the ending. Then I don't mind so much.

However, some unresolved endings are acceptable, such as "the Thing". My latest film, "Pickman's Model" also has a semi-unresolved ending (those ghouls are still running around), as well as a surprise (Pickman's failed attempt to take the ghouls with him), and tying up loose ends (killing off Pickman and revealing the identity of the true killers). However, since it was loosely inspired by an existing story by Lovecraft, it was designed to capture the feel of a Lovecraftian tale which always ends with the danger still looming out there in the shadows.

I thought your film's ending was really well done, and I didn't mind the unresolved ending at all! I thought it was really well done. One of the reasons for that was the fact that you resolved who was doing the killing. I think that helps the aufdiance accept other things that weren't resolved.


The stories I came up with for this course all have endings which tie up loose ends. The Dett assassin tale ends with all the mob bosses being killed off. The "Purgatory Park" theme park ends with the park being a success, and the major nemesis ending up working happily for the park owner.

Yes these endings all worked well and they all had SOLID, CONCRETE, TANGIBLE REASONS for things happening.... it doesn't mater how simple they are.


These are great examples and your work on your own stories really show off your understanding of how these work. Thank you! smile.gif

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#10 aroundworld

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 03:31 PM

ASSIGNMENT #2


Take your original story and write three different endings to it:


Tied up lose ends

Open ended

The surprise ending


You both have very original story ideas! Have some fun with this! smile.gif



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#11 JosephKw

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 09:30 AM

The story so far...assassin Dett kills off mob boss Mr. Sung, and returns to finish off Ming (who holds Dett's marker).

Resolved Ending. This is as I presented it already; Dett causes a chemically-treated marker paper to be placed inside Ming's safe, where it ignites and destroys Dett's marker, as well as the rest of Ming's markers and valuables. Then Dett kills Ming and his henchmen, and escape--free from all mob ties.

Unresolved Ending. The same as above, except after the markers are destroyed in Ming's safe, Ming looks out the window in rage and sees Dett smiling, as he recedes into the shadows--free from his contractual debt to Ming.

Surprise Ending. The chemically-treated marker is accidentally dropped by Ming as he is placing it into his safe, and Ming notices the paper's odd consistency. He sniffs it, and realizes it has been treated. So Ming burns the paper in an ashtray, thus saving the contents of his safe. Dett, seeing his plan has failed, breaks in to grab the marker himself, and kills many of Ming's henchmen. However, Ming himself escapes in the melee and runs to the street and into his car where his driver is waiting. Instead of driving away though, the driver is found to be dead. As Ming tries to escape on foot, he is surrounded by Mr. Sung (the rival mob boss) and his men. Dett exits the building to stand beside Mr. Sung. It is revealed that Mr. Sung's death was faked in order to make Ming complacent, and now Dett is allied with Mr. Sung. Dett hands his marker over to Mr. Sung, who tosses it into Ming's car, then his men firebomb the vehicle with Ming and the marker inside. Dett is now free.


#12 kkffoo

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Posted 09 June 2013 - 02:43 PM

Loose ends tied.

Original, Maggy inherits & gets her man, villains are punished.

Open ended.

We discover that the butler is Maggy's father. he advises her against taking on her inheritance, due to the pain and suffering aristocratic life caused her departed mother (Butler was her lover)
End of film, she looks at burned Foley Manor, reflected in lake, tosses the bracelet to one side, then starts to walk (we don't know where)

Surprise ending.
Maggy is in league with James, she pulls him back from the bell tower, they push Tommy aside and make out he was the villain when the police arrive.
James and Maggy marry, Maggy inherits, James runs a hand through her hair, and smudges the fake birthmark...they laugh as Tommy is pushed into a muddy ditch as they leave for their honeymoon.

#13 JosephKw

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Posted 10 June 2013 - 09:17 AM

Nice surprise, Kate. Love the fake birthmark smile.gif


#14 aroundworld

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Posted 11 June 2013 - 08:06 PM

QUOTE (JosephKw @ Jun 3 2013, 9:30 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The story so far...assassin Dett kills off mob boss Mr. Sung, and returns to finish off Ming (who holds Dett's marker).

Resolved Ending. This is as I presented it already; Dett causes a chemically-treated marker paper to be placed inside Ming's safe, where it ignites and destroys Dett's marker, as well as the rest of Ming's markers and valuables. Then Dett kills Ming and his henchmen, and escape--free from all mob ties.


Unresolved Ending. The same as above, except after the markers are destroyed in Ming's safe, Ming looks out the window in rage and sees Dett smiling, as he recedes into the shadows--free from his contractual debt to Ming.

Surprise Ending. The chemically-treated marker is accidentally dropped by Ming as he is placing it into his safe, and Ming notices the paper's odd consistency. He sniffs it, and realizes it has been treated. So Ming burns the paper in an ashtray, thus saving the contents of his safe. Dett, seeing his plan has failed, breaks in to grab the marker himself, and kills many of Ming's henchmen. However, Ming himself escapes in the melee and runs to the street and into his car where his driver is waiting. Instead of driving away though, the driver is found to be dead. As Ming tries to escape on foot, he is surrounded by Mr. Sung (the rival mob boss) and his men. Dett exits the building to stand beside Mr. Sung. It is revealed that Mr. Sung's death was faked in order to make Ming complacent, and now Dett is allied with Mr. Sung. Dett hands his marker over to Mr. Sung, who tosses it into Ming's car, then his men firebomb the vehicle with Ming and the marker inside. Dett is now free.



Any one of these would work under there respective headings. It would be fun to watch these unfold in on film .. I hope you use this in once of your stories. Thank you!

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#15 aroundworld

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Posted 11 June 2013 - 08:20 PM

QUOTE (kkffoo @ Jun 9 2013, 2:43 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Loose ends tied.

Original, Maggy inherits & gets her man, villains are punished.

Open ended.

We discover that the butler is Maggy's father. he advises her against taking on her inheritance, due to the pain and suffering aristocratic life caused her departed mother (Butler was her lover)
End of film, she looks at burned Foley Manor, reflected in lake, tosses the bracelet to one side, then starts to walk (we don't know where)

The only thing about this ending Kate, is if she were to throw the bracelet away .. you'd want it to be thrown at something meaningful. In endings like these the object relates to something... that the audience has a connection to. Endings like this that are done well, always reinforce our hero's decision in some visual way. Make the impact on the audience deeper by connecting that object to the (Burned rubble) perhaps.

ALWAYS. be specific in you writing even in small examples like the one's we're dong here.

Remember .. Solid, CONCRETE, TANGIBLE reasons for things happening.

In this case, connecting that bracelet to the burned rubble.



Surprise ending.
Maggy is in league with James, she pulls him back from the bell tower, they push Tommy aside and make out he was the villain when the police arrive.
James and Maggy marry, Maggy inherits, James runs a hand through her hair, and smudges the fake birthmark...they laugh as Tommy is pushed into a muddy ditch as they leave for their honeymoon.

A surprise ending indeed! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO MY MAGGY! smile.gif

I agree with JK, strong surprise! HOWEVER! You risk alienating the audience with a turn like this... and since Tommy has outlived his usefulness, why not just push him off the bell tower?


Good exorcise! Thanks you!

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#16 aroundworld

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 08:56 PM

Kate, JK. Is there anything else you want to add to this discussion? If not, we'll be moving on to MOD 13.

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#17 JosephKw

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 06:56 AM

MOD 13 awaits...

#18 aroundworld

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Posted 16 June 2013 - 06:09 PM

Opps! haha, I meant MOD 12

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#19 JosephKw

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 05:51 AM

QUOTE (aroundworld @ Jun 16 2013, 6:09 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Opps! haha, I meant MOD 12

Then I guess MOD 13 will await even a bit longer biggrin.gif

#20 aroundworld

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 07:11 PM

See you in MOD 12!!!

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