Montage or ... ?

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  • Montage or ... ?

    I'm writing the end of my screenplay and I have a few different characters with storylines finishing up. What I'd like to do is have one story segue into a second and then pick up into the third. In other words, an action a character in one scene will smoothly segue into an action a character is making in the second scene, almost in a continous thread. Make sense? Hope so.

    My question is this: Should I write it as a Montage or ... ? I'm not sure of the other options (fairly new at this, so ... ). I hesitate to slugline everything (although it's probably inevitable) and I don't know if Transition Lines eg. Cut to: Back to: etc. are necessary.

    Any suggestions? Or have I just confused the hell out of everybody?

  • #2
    Re: Montage or ... ?

    duse,

    I would strongly suggest that you go over the the Basics Forum. Not only can you learn about scene transitions, to montage or not to montage, but there's a whole slew of other topics listed that I'm sure you'll find useful. The question you asked was just covered not that long ago, again, in the Basics Forum.


    Good luck,

    KWV

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    • #3
      Re: Montage or ... ?

      Thank you! After I posted my question, it occured to me to look there and, lo and behold!, there was a ton of info.

      Thanks again. If anyone has any opinions they'd like to share, I'm still open to hearing how you guys make it work.

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      • #4
        Re: Montage or ... ?

        Once the hero accomplishes his goal - the story is over.

        Don't tie up lose ends.

        The resolution should continue telling the hero's story. It's usually a thematic coda to give the story greater resonance.

        It's not a time for house cleaning.

        End it and get out.

        Fortune favors the bold - Virgil

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        • #5
          Re: Montage or ... ?

          Could you do me a favor, Deux, and talk with my Producers and Director? LOL They're insisting I tie them up (but not too tight) which is why I'm finding myself with this question.

          It's not hard to do. In fact, I already have it in my head how to tie these up quickly without giving up too much real-estate. The problem lies with the transitioning between the three locations.

          I'm just gonna take a stab at it and see what the ol' noodle comes up with.

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          • #6
            Re: Montage or ... ?

            Sorry, I meant "Deus" not "Deux".

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            • #7
              Re: Montage or ... ?

              To use Sixth Sense as an example, the boy telling his mother what was happening is the climax of the story that solves Cole's problem. Malcolm has achieved his goal of helping Cole. We get enough in that scene to know Cole and his mother are going to be OK.

              The story is over.

              We are no longer wondering if Malcolm will be able to help Cole - because that dramatic question has been answered which means there is no longer any dramatic tension pulling us along.

              Sixth Sense checks out very quickly after that point, but it does it by continuing to tell the hero's story. We aren't tying up loose ends with the teacher or Cole's abusive classmates. We are still telling Malcolm's story.

              We have one minor dramatic question left: will Malcolm be able to fix the problem in his marriage?

              That's the question answered by the resolution. It's more than tying up loose ends, it is answering the dramatic questions that created tension and pulled us through the story.

              That's what I meant by not tying up loose ends. Lose ends to me sound like threads that have not created the dramatic questions that pulled us through the story. It sounds more like the "where are they now" blurbs at the end of Animal House.

              If you look at the codas for Sixth Sense or Toy Story or Die Hard you'll see they do much more than just tie up loose ends, they reinforce the theme to give greater resonance to the story.

              If you are going to tie up loose ends, try and do so in a way that continues to tell the hero's story and reinforces your theme. And do it quickly!

              My .02

              Deus Ex Machine
              Member
              Last edited by Deus Ex Machine; 02-03-2006, 10:17 AM.
              Fortune favors the bold - Virgil

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              • #8
                Re: Montage or ... ?

                I see what the problem is here. My Producers and Director asked me to "tie up the loose ends" when what they probably meant is what Deus ex Machine just talked about.

                Each character has a very clear place in the arc of my story. And, as we rush to the end, a "period", if you will, is put at the end of each Character's "sentence".

                So, what I've done is this:

                INT. BUS STATION

                Character A does ...

                Cut to:

                INT. WAREHOUSE

                Character B does ...

                Cut to:

                INT. APARTMENT

                Character C does ...

                INT. BUS STATION

                Character A ...

                INT. WAREHOUSE

                Character B ...

                INT. APARTMENT

                Character C ...

                Does this seem about right?

                Greatly appreciate all of your input.

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                • #9
                  Re: Montage or ... ?

                  Works for me.
                  Fortune favors the bold - Virgil

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                  • #10
                    Re: Montage or ... ?

                    Jeff,

                    I agree, the resolution needs to be setup and organic to the story.

                    Here's my pet peeve about loose ends.

                    I like them.

                    I don't like a story that tries to tell me exactly how every plot line ends and what the fate of every character is.

                    I like affirmations.

                    I'd rather be given enough info about the plot lines that I can imagine how they will end.

                    I would rather end Sleepless in Seattle when Meg and Tom are on the same elevator than seeing them married and everyone happy. The story has given me enough info to that point that I know they will end up together and happy. I'd rather play that part of the movie in my head than have it shown on the screen.

                    To use the Aristotle analogy, the end is the beginning.

                    The resolution shouldn't be a final conclusion, it should be the beginning of a new chapter giving us hints as to how the character's have been changed so we can infer how their lives will unfold because of their adventures.

                    I think the key to a good resolution is to offer some kind of fillip that adds a new dimension or unexpected surprise or twist that creates irony and unexpected results so the audience will be able to project how the resolution will impact the character's lives and futures.

                    Above all, the resolution should reinforce the messages and themes that inspired you to write the story in the first place.

                    That's my .02

                    Fortune favors the bold - Virgil

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