Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Build Your Story World
Sample Movie Deconstruction (5)
“At the end of a scene, we want to feel that something important occurred. A change took place. The fortunes of the character and the path of the story have shifted.” Donald Maass
Not only does each scene need to fulfill this movement, but also the end scene needs to maximize and bring to completion the story’s beginning question. In the first blog I asked you to journal if the movie met your expectations and why or, why not? If it did not, chances are it did not fully answer the beginning question, or at least not to your emotional satisfaction. Have you ever wanted to throw a shoe at your television in frustration at a bad ending?
The character needs to be transformed in some way. His perspective on life has shifted. Her values have reshaped. Something new has been added to life or some hindrance removed freeing up a new beginning.
The beginning story situation needs to be resolved, even in an ongoing series. If there has been a murder—justice, if romance—decision, a journey—completed. The main character can leave the question or possibility that he will return again, such as Indiana Jones, but the main quest, conflict or dilemma right now has to be answered.
Sometimes both can be answered with a surprise or twist, but that too needs to fit naturally within the genre. For example, in Avatar, at the beginning all Jake Sully wants is to be able to walk again and he is willing to do whatever is asked to fulfill his personal need. He really doesn’t care about anything or anyone else. At the end, he is willing to die for the Na’vi. However instead of death he becomes one, with full restoration of his body beyond any possibilities he could have ever conceived.
1. Go back to your notes and write out exactly how and why the character changed and the story question became resolved.
2. Are they reasonable or not? Are there holes? Is there emotional satisfaction?
3. What could have been an alternate ending?
Share: What would you have changed in the ending if you could?