ending the story

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  • ending the story

    I've almost finished writing a screenplay for a short film about a man who is being haunted by the ghost of his brother, whom he killed a year ago to claim on the will. I'm having trouble with the ending though. Any suggestion on how to wrap it up?

  • #2
    Perhaps the first death, the death of the father, which led to the original dispute over the will can come back around to illuminate the entire story and provide an ending?

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    • #3
      Perhaps I should've given more detail. The two brothers were both wealthy and had an agreement that they would leave all their money to each other if one of them died. But one brother changed his mind and decided to give his money to his future wife. Before he got a chance to change his will though, he was killed by his brother. Now one year later, that brother is being haunted by the ghost of the brother he murdered.
      I'm just struggling to come up with a way to end it. Practically the whole film takes place in the one house and I only want to use the two actors. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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      • #4
        Ok,
        I don't proclaim to be a writer by any means... but here's the way I tend to end my scripts.

        Don't feel that you have to "END" it... just let it end.

        Maybe your story dosen't "HAVE" to end... maybe you just reach a point at which the part of the story you're telling ends... but their lives continue.

        So, my advice would be to follow your gut and just let the story end itself.

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        • #5
          Fun question. What's the storyline? I guess the ending should answer the story question. Also, every ghost wants something. Aside from revenge, is there something else that he wants, and if so, do you want him to succeed in getting it or not? Also, it would be cool to show some kind of change in the main character by the end of the story, and that will help you with your ending too - either he becomes a better person, gets punished in some way for not becoming a better person, or becomes a better person but gets punished in some way in the end anyway - whatever the case, he is not the same person as the beginning of the story. How long is the story? If it's super short, maybe you don't have time to tell the whole story, so if you're just presenting a flash of this person's situation, how do you want his actions (killing his brother) to affect him in the end? Is he sorry? Is he satisfied? Is he truly evil? Maybe you have time for a twist? Rather than just answering the obvious story question, maybe you want to create some kind of surprise ending? Is the star of the movie the man or the ghost?
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          Jody Michelle Solis
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          • #6
            Whoa, Jody...long time no see on the forums...Where ya been?

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            • #7
              Thanks for the help. My brain took all your suggestions in.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by DerekEastham
                Ok,
                I don't proclaim to be a writer by any means... but here's the way I tend to end my scripts.

                Don't feel that you have to "END" it... just let it end.

                Maybe your story dosen't "HAVE" to end... maybe you just reach a point at which the part of the story you're telling ends... but their lives continue.

                So, my advice would be to follow your gut and just let the story end itself.
                Well, I proclaim to be a writer, so I can say with great confidence that what Derek said is correct. In fact, he told me the same thing.

                Let the story end itself. Now, if it ends up to be 10,000 pages, you can edit down a little. There's only one thing that long, it's called the bible. And it's hella boring.

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                • #9
                  There's only one thing that long, it's called the bible. And it's hella boring.
                  How can you call the Bible boring with all that sex and violence? Personally, one of my dreams is to make a series of movies of the entire Bible, completely uncut... those long 'begatting' sequences alone should be a lot of fun .

                  Back on topic, I often find it's better to work out the ending first and then build up the story to reach it. Finding a good ending is one of the most important things about a movie -- an audience will forget a lot of crap in the middle if you give them a good ending -- so starting there and working back can at least guarantee to give you that much.
                  Sony Z1, P4-3.06/2GB RAM/2500GB IDE/SATA. Avid Media Composer, Lightwave, Eyeon Fusion 6.

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                  • #10
                    My favorite book is the Bible. I think I know what you mean by letting the story end itself, but what about the climax and crucial scene? Those things won't just come, they have to be planned out. In general, it helps to be more organized by using an outline.
                    ___________________________
                    Jody Michelle Solis
                    Editor-in-Chief
                    StudentFilmmakers Magazine
                    HD Pro Guide Magazine
                    www.studentfilmmakers.com
                    www.hdproguide.com

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                    • #11
                      In general... when I'm writing... I find that the story tends to tell itself.

                      Basically, my philosophy is that the best writing is the writing that writes itself... in that you never have to force yourself to write... it just pours out of you.

                      I've found that my climax's & plot points just tend to pour out of me. Maybe this dosen't work for everyone... and I've used outlines in some cases as well... however, even when you use an outline, you shouldn't plan yourself into a corner...

                      Let your characters flow through the story as though it were happening to them... not as though they were happening to the story...
                      you'll end up with a much better script that way.

                      Outlines are great... but they should be used in the same manner as the "rules" for writing a screenplay... with the exception of format, it's all just guidelines. So let the outline guide you to your eventual goals... but let the characters take you through the story to those points...
                      and who knows,
                      maybe you'll even surprise yourself.

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                      • #12
                        An outline can't plan a person into a corner because outlines can be rewritten. With or without an outline, nothing is set in stone because you are the writer, and you are the creator. If you've accidentally planned yourself into a corner while using an outline or not, you can get yourself out of it. Things can be reworked, rearranged, or thrown out the window. An outline, when used correctly to help rather than hinder, acts more as a "blueprint" than a list of guidelines.
                        ___________________________
                        Jody Michelle Solis
                        Editor-in-Chief
                        StudentFilmmakers Magazine
                        HD Pro Guide Magazine
                        www.studentfilmmakers.com
                        www.hdproguide.com

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by jodymichelle
                          An outline can't plan a person into a corner because outlines can be rewritten. With or without an outline, nothing is set in stone because you are the writer, and you are the creator. If you've accidentally planned yourself into a corner while using an outline or not, you can get yourself out of it. Things can be reworked, rearranged, or thrown out the window. An outline, when used correctly to help rather than hinder, acts more as a "blueprint" than a list of guidelines.
                          Exactly the point I was making...
                          However, I was making that point... because sometimes people begin to believe that their outline is set in stone.

                          Happy writing!

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                          • #14
                            Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought you were making a few different points. You were talking about how you feel that you write - that "the story tends to tell itself." You mentioned "letting the story end itself," and you said you felt that "the best writing is the writing that writes itself... in that you never have to force yourself to write... it just pours out of you." You were talking about your approach to writing, but it also almost sounded like you were implying that outlines were limiting, which is why I responded that way, but I could have misunderstood you.

                            You mentioned, "Outlines are great... but they should be used in the same manner as the "rules" for writing a screenplay... with the exception of format, it's all just guidelines." I think that outlines become limiting when they are used only as guidelines. There are rules and guidelines to building a condominium complex, but then there's the actual "blueprint" used to build it.

                            A lot of things pour out of people when they write, but how do they know that it's any good?

                            Maybe I don't know what you mean by letting the story end itself then. Good storytelling involves things like logic, good structure, timing, etc... I guess there's the option to plan these things ahead of time before you begin writing, and there's the option to just start writing, and when it's time to edit down, that is when you're going to start thinking about logic, story structure, timing, etc...

                            For some reason, I don't believe that a person could write a complete story without using an outline. Would they have to write their scenes in the order that they come in the story from beginning to end? If there wasn't a hard copy outline, I'm sure there was some kind of mental outline?
                            ___________________________
                            Jody Michelle Solis
                            Editor-in-Chief
                            StudentFilmmakers Magazine
                            HD Pro Guide Magazine
                            www.studentfilmmakers.com
                            www.hdproguide.com

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                            • #15
                              Re: ending the story

                              I would say the guy should go insane. I mean I'm sure he's talking to himself. And others might be questioning this man because of his doings. So then this can have an enormous effect on this guy, making him fell alone, insecure, and horrified.
                              So I gues you can end it with him all alone or in a nut house.
                              I really like your concept.

                              By the way at the begining Never Play The End.
                              Like if the ending is sad and hopeless, make the begining happy and fun.
                              It's an acting technique.

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