Notes The Good, The Bad and the Ugly...?

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  • Notes The Good, The Bad and the Ugly...?

    I know the note process is the note process etc etc and it is what it is and what I agree to, etc. I just wondered how common the "remove all hope" note is?

    Does killing your babies mean removing hope from a story? Usually I've heard of notes that lean toward wanting "happy endings", quasi-happy endings.

    Have you been asked to remove all hope from a story?
    Last edited by Ire; 05-16-2013, 12:39 PM. Reason: Various
    #writinginaStarbucks #re-thinkingmyexistence #notanotherweaklogline #thinkingwhatwouldWilldo

  • #2
    Re: Notes The Good, The Bad and the Ugly...?

    I edited the previous post. Omitting this:

    The note amounts to changing a character from a romantic interest to what amounts to a sociopathic killer. And, secondarily to remove all hope for the protagonist who goes from a DSM-er with a chance of getting better to no chance, no hope should be implied. So the other note is to remove all hope from the script. I'm not absolutely sold that the "remove all hope" note is a bad note.

    But literally the note was to remove all hope that the protagonist can change. They want a bleak ending.

    To me these are the bad and ugly notes that suggest a divergence of ideas as to what the story is, genre-wise and what it's about.
    #writinginaStarbucks #re-thinkingmyexistence #notanotherweaklogline #thinkingwhatwouldWilldo

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    • #3
      Re: Notes The Good, The Bad and the Ugly...?

      My experience, generally studios / producers etc want a happy ending, not a bleak one. Writers and directors are the ones who want bleak.
      @ZOlkewicz - Don't follow me on Twitter.

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      • #4
        Re: Notes The Good, The Bad and the Ugly...?

        Originally posted by 8bit Llama View Post
        My experience, generally studios / producers etc want a happy ending, not a bleak one. Writers and directors are the ones who want bleak.
        Yeah. That is exactly my wtf. It's not a horror or noir. It's a thriller.
        #writinginaStarbucks #re-thinkingmyexistence #notanotherweaklogline #thinkingwhatwouldWilldo

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        • #5
          Re: Notes The Good, The Bad and the Ugly...?

          Many famous thrillers end very bleakly.

          If your film is otherwise very dark and bleak, they might feel that a happy ending is tonally unsatisfying. It might feel that the film has been travelling towards tragedy, and the ending is a cop.out.

          When audiences go to watch certain kinds of thrillers, they are often more satisfied with a bleak ending - They might even feel that the premise and the tone of the film doesn't warrant a happy ending.

          Same thing with certain types of horror movies.

          Some varied examples, different kind of thrillers (Yes, I know I'm using the category loosely here): Seven, Rope, Sleuth, Shutter Island, Mystic River, The Conversation, Oldboy, Black Swan, Scarface. I'd argue that all those films were travelling towards a bleak ending, right from the start. Happy endings would have diminished the stories.

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          • #6
            Re: Notes The Good, The Bad and the Ugly...?

            True. Thrillers can end bleakly. I have to say that of those thriller films you listed I've seen Seven and the Conversation repeatedly.

            Shutter Island I've been there and once was enough. I'd watch it again, but only on cable if nothing else was on. It's not making it into my DVD collection.

            I wish this script were in that company, or written with a bleak ending in mind.

            I just hadn't thought of hope being one of those babies that is killed so much as abandoned.
            Last edited by Ire; 05-16-2013, 04:00 PM.
            #writinginaStarbucks #re-thinkingmyexistence #notanotherweaklogline #thinkingwhatwouldWilldo

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            • #7
              Re: Notes The Good, The Bad and the Ugly...?

              One thing, the ending proposed by those notes/suggestions is presently a forced ending and not as organic to the story. At least, it doesn't seem organic to me. The motivation for the supporting character creating this elaborate set up which brings about the protagonist's undoing and imprisonment is not there and would have to be created.

              So, yes, it requires more work for me. I suppose if I was getting paid for the rewrite, I'd be more on board with that.

              I'd rather be on board with it either way, so yeah, it's my deal.
              #writinginaStarbucks #re-thinkingmyexistence #notanotherweaklogline #thinkingwhatwouldWilldo

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              • #8
                Re: Notes The Good, The Bad and the Ugly...?

                How you story ends ultimately decides what message the audience will take away from the story's events. It is the keystone factor in communicating the story's theme. If you change the ending, you will change your entire message. So, such a decision is not something to follow blindly. The ending YOU want (the optimistic one) was chosen to communicate a specific message you desire to give the to world. Changing that ending based off someone else's feedback will warp your story into communicating something you never wanted.

                This is one reason I always say to NEVER TAKE FEEDBACK LITERALLY. Don't just blindly accept the suggestion. Instead, look at your script and try to figure out WHY this person said that. Something about that script caused the reader's perception to skew off onto a different road where what the script seemed to be trying to accomplish was no longer what you really wanted it to accomplish. Some element caused a wrong turn in the reader's mental journey. You have to identify the problem and fix it so the reader's perception of the story stays on the same road as your original intentions.
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                • #9
                  Re: Notes The Good, The Bad and the Ugly...?

                  Originally posted by SCRIPTMONK!!! View Post
                  How you story ends ultimately decides what message the audience will take away from the story's events. It is the keystone factor in communicating the story's theme. If you change the ending, you will change your entire message. So, such a decision is not something to follow blindly. The ending YOU want (the optimistic one) was chosen to communicate a specific message you desire to give the to world. Changing that ending based off someone else's feedback will warp your story into communicating something you never wanted.

                  This is one reason I always say to NEVER TAKE FEEDBACK LITERALLY. Don't just blindly accept the suggestion. Instead, look at your script and try to figure out WHY this person said that. Something about that script caused the reader's perception to skew off onto a different road where what the script seemed to be trying to accomplish was no longer what you really wanted it to accomplish. Some element caused a wrong turn in the reader's mental journey. You have to identify the problem and fix it so the reader's perception of the story stays on the same road as your original intentions.
                  I agree about feedback. True about that. This is feedback from a "project advocate" at a prodco where the project could become a reality. So, that is why I'm more bent out of shape by it. It's the twist factor that is driving the notes to some degree, but wanting an absence of hope is a note that I didn't see coming. And to be honest, imo, removing hope from the ending seems more like a director/producer choice. Like Polanski in Chinatown. It had more impact.

                  Again, I'm not sold on the bleak ending, just thinking out loud if I'm holding onto it because it's a baby of sorts.
                  #writinginaStarbucks #re-thinkingmyexistence #notanotherweaklogline #thinkingwhatwouldWilldo

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                  • #10
                    Re: Notes The Good, The Bad and the Ugly...?

                    IMO, you should go with your gut instinct. It's all you can do as a writer. It's the nature of notes. Do what you think is best for the story.

                    It's either gonna work, or not. Learn from whatever the outcome is.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Notes The Good, The Bad and the Ugly...?

                      It's a little bit hard to comment, since we don't know the details of the story. But:

                      1. Maybe the guy giving the feedback simply likes bleak endings. Maybe he isn't that good at giving thoughtful comments. Maybe he thinks your script is similar to some popular film, which also had a bleak ending. Maybe he wants to change your film to be more similar to that other film, because he thinks that is what the audience for this type of film wants.

                      2. Maybe your script is consistently dark and bleak all the way, and then has a happy ending. This can be a major problem, tonally. The ending feels like a cop-out. If you want a happy ending, you should preferably have moments of happiness in the film long before the ending. At least in the 1st act.

                      3. "Remove all hope" is generally a good note for the 3rd act, regardless of film. Hopefully there isn't any confusion about whether he was actually talking about the very ending, or not. This should probably be very clear, but sometimes notes can be very confusing. Especially if they are given by someone who isn't that good at giving notes.

                      4. Maybe compromise, and have an ambiguous or bitter-sweet ending instead?

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                      • #12
                        Re: Notes The Good, The Bad and the Ugly...?

                        Originally posted by tuukka View Post
                        It's a little bit hard to comment, since we don't know the details of the story. But:

                        1. Maybe the guy giving the feedback simply likes bleak endings. Maybe he isn't that good at giving thoughtful comments. Maybe he thinks your script is similar to some popular film, which also had a bleak ending. Maybe he wants to change your film to be more similar to that other film, because he thinks that is what the audience for this type of film wants.

                        2. Maybe your script is consistently dark and bleak all the way, and then has a happy ending. This can be a major problem, tonally. The ending feels like a cop-out. If you want a happy ending, you should preferably have moments of happiness in the film long before the ending. At least in the 1st act.

                        3. "Remove all hope" is generally a good note for the 3rd act, regardless of film. Hopefully there isn't any confusion about whether he was actually talking about the very ending, or not. This should probably be very clear, but sometimes notes can be very confusing. Especially if they are given by someone who isn't that good at giving notes.

                        4. Maybe compromise, and have an ambiguous or bitter-sweet ending instead?
                        Thanks for the input and feedback. The story goes from gray, to dark, to darker, to an even darker place and darkness, literally, before there's a fade to "epilogue" ending. The epilogue is warmer in tone so yeah it's a third act revision that can fix it.

                        One movie that was comparable that came up in the notes was Memento. The story is comparably dark in tone. But the overall ending suggested was one that makes Memento's ending seem Disneyfied.

                        Like you say, I think there's a compromise territory.
                        #writinginaStarbucks #re-thinkingmyexistence #notanotherweaklogline #thinkingwhatwouldWilldo

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