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  • Twists

    I'm at the point of my script where I have a usual acceptable although pretty predictable hollywood ending.

    I recently thought of putting in a usual suspects type twist that might make or break the movie.

    Although forsehadowed the twist comes in right at the end of the movie and throws the audience a complete different direction.

    However I'm quite torn apart because I often see movies that have twists in them just for the sake of it?

    Eg. Collateral Damage, this twist was thrown in right at the end to try and spice up a bad movie.

    Are audiences numbed down from movies trying too much to be like the usual suspects?

    Any views/tips on the subject would be greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    twist and shout

    a twist isnt something you just add in at the end.

    you said it is foreshadowed. sounds flimsy. i cant see how youd complete a script with a twist without integrating it throughout. it involves far more than just a little foreshadowing.

    screenwriting mechanics. sounds like youve got lots to learn about them.

    dont add the twist. if you do, you probably got to rewrite your script several times to make it really work without ripping off your audience.


    • #3
      Re: twist and shout

      Sounds like you've seen a lot of movies with bad twists.

      Done properly, a good twist is the inevitable ending that no one sees coming.


      • #4
        Re: twist and shout

        The best ending--it's a rule for novels, too--is one that at first elicits the: "Omigod!" response from an audience, followed a beat later by: "But of course." It should hit as a complete surprise, then seem completely inevitable in the context of the work.

        So its roots have to be planted from page one onwards. And, if you're thinking of adding something now, go back to the beginning and see if it follows in a logical way the progression of your story.


        • #5
          Chubby Checker & Twists

          A twist is something that is *always there* - in every single scene of the film (or script) - you just never noticed it until it was revealed. Watch THE SIXTH SENSE again.

          I think the problem with twists is what you're proposing - a twist that comes out of the blue that's only there to try and help a weak ending. It rings false because it's forced - unorganic.

          Better thing to do is work on your ending. You want an end that is satisfying the the audience, but unexpected. The resolution happens in a way we've never seen before. Be creative.

          - Bill


          • #6
            Re: twist and shout

            When I think of bad twists, I think of Reindeer Games. That movie had twists for the sake of twists. But hopefully, as others said, your twists are motivated, foreshadowed even. The audience needs the expected, unexpected ending. You give them the ending they are expecting, but in a way in which they aren't expecting.

            I'm pretty sure Rossio/Elliot wrote an article about the expected/unexpected ending, because i didn't think that up (wordplayer).



            • #7
              Re: twist and shout

              Are you refering to this one?

              The Big Finish

              Although my favorite is still Crap-plus-One.


              • #8
                Re: twist and shout

                Often, the best twists are the ones where the audience can see that "something" has to happen to dramatically change the direction of the story - but where they can quite put the pieces together.

                Watch "The Others" again (assuming you've already seen it). On first viewing the twist can come as a surprise, but on a second viewing, ALL the clues and pieces are embedded throughout the story for the audience to try and piece together.

                I think Bill wrote an article about setups and payoffs that probably has relevance to this topic as well.


                • #9
                  Let's Twist Again

                  The twist in "The Others" was not a surprise at all -- especially if you had already seen "The Sixth Sense."

                  People expect twisty endings. My wife is notorious for this -- trying to guess the twist before the movie shows it. She's really good at it, too.

                  So if you really want to get twisty, what you have to do is give your audiences a double twist. Give lots of heavy-handed hints about one, and much more subtle hints about the other. That way, at the end, when you reveal the first one, they'll say, "Huh. Saw that one coming." Then you hit them with the other one. They'll love it. (Of course, coming up with a coherent story and interesting characters that will fit this plot template may prove something of a challenge.)

                  That said, twists are gimmicks. Gimmicks are okay, but the kinds of stories people really love are those with fully-fleshed, interesting, and engaging characters doing believable and emotionally involving things.


                  • #10
                    Re: Let's Twist Again

                    That said, twists are gimmicks. Gimmicks are okay, but the kinds of stories people really love are those with fully-fleshed, interesting, and engaging characters doing believable and emotionally involving things.
                    I disagree. Twists are, and have long been, the mainstay of the Thriller - both in film and novel.


                    • #11
                      Re: Let's Twist Again

                      I'm with Barlow on this. Dickens's novels are filled with twists; likewise many of Shakespeare's plays, especially the comedies, where people throw off their disguises to show that they're someone else (think of Portia in "The Merchant of Venice"). Or he'll use them to show how the tables are turned on a character--such as the duel scene at the end of "Hamlet", where a plain sword is switched with a poison one.

                      Twists are a mainstay of literature as well as films.


                      • #12
                        Re: Let's Twist Again

                        A screenwriter friend of mine told me if you want to craft a script with a dynamite twist ending you have to look at your story as an oak tree with several branches. There are many possible outcomes but they are all anchored by story. Alot of foreshadowing is hidden in small talk and objects. In Chinatown you're living through Nicholson. You're getting ready to meet this mysterious Mrs. Mulwray officially and you don't care about the Chinese gardener and what he has to say. So the audience/Gittes hears but doesn't listen. I try to introduce the clues before the people attached to them instead of the other way around. I try to stay away from on the nose dialogue and too straight line scenarios.