The first and last pages of your screenplay should arguably be the most memorable. They represent the first taste of your film which draws the reader and in, and the final impression.
Here are some different types of endings you may consider:
BOOK END ENDING
This is an unusual type of ending where the final scene is identical to the opening scene. A full circle if you will. This can be demonstrated in the same images, character actions or dialogues. This type of ending indicates that the character has ended up in the same place after their journey, but a changed person.
This one is self-explanatory. It is depicted as voiceover dialog (or a graphic) over a still or action image. It typically confirms the theme of the film with a logical conclusion about the story and where it might go.
These endings are inevitable, but not predictable. They are typical in thriller and mystery movies where there are multiple plot pivots in the story.
These endings conform to genre conventions. If they aren’t included in your screenplay the audience will notice something lacking. A example is a romantic comedy. We all know the fated couple will eventually end up together. We enjoy these films because the characters have overcome multiple obstacles and have earned their relationship. It’s more about the journey rather than the destination.
These are morality tales and the audience must sense that justice has been served. The main characters have learned a valuable lesson about life and have grown as individuals. The characters may either verbalize their journey or simply apply their character evolution to their new world.
DUBIOUS MORAL ENDING
The main characters have achieved their goal, but they are feeling morally conflicted. Was the journey worth it? Did they achieve their goal? If so, at what cost? These are often bittersweet endings where the characters question their choices despite having achieved personal growth.
These types of endings require the audience to have either an intense positive or negative response. The audience might be in tears (of happiness or tragedy) or warm and fuzzy inside.
This type of ending incites the audience to want more; either by a cliffhanger where the audience is excited to know what happens next, or via a teaser scene which gives them a glimpse into how the story continues.
This is a light-hearted farewell to the story. It could end with a joke, punchline or sight gag to leave your audience laughing.
This could be a gruesome image in a horror film, a symbol that conveys mood and underlying meaning or a montage which tells the logical conclusion of the story.
This is the domain of screenwriting auteurs. It doesn’t give a clear indication of the story conclusion and is designed to initiate debate since the vital story details haven’t been given.
This should convey the central message of the screenplay and can be verbalized or simply shown on a graphics board.
This is more of an audience inclusive devise rather than a storytelling one. It also includes out takes.
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