A screenplay's conclusion is frequently more significant than the 90 pages that came before it. Many authors who try to write for a film or video production company struggle to wrap up their stories with appropriate resolution because of how crucial it is. But don't worry, we'll teach you everything you need to know about how to close a screenplay, with simple script examples from The Big Short and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The technical aspects of adding THE END to scripts will be covered. By the end, you'll be well-versed in the formatting standards for screenplay conclusion.
Finding appropriate screenplay endings can be the most difficult part of the entire writing process for some screenwriters. Learn formatting and storytelling approaches for concluding your spec script.
What Is a script?
A script is the detailed written plan for a movie or television program. Character names, dialogue, stage directions, parenthetical inflections, fresh scene headings with slug lines, and scenery descriptions are just a few of the components found in TV and movie scripts. Although screenwriting programs like Final Draft can assist in automating the formatting of your script, you can format screenplays correctly using any word processor you're already accustomed to.
How to wrap up your script
A script's conclusion can make or destroy the entire narrative. How many times have you watched a movie or television show that had a poor ending? I'm talking to you, Dexter, Game of Thrones. A disappointing conclusion can leave a terrific narrative with a foul taste in your mouth. It's crucial that we learn how to close a movie script because of this.
There are a few techniques that will help your story end in a spectacular way, however it's not an exact science.
Six Ways to Wrap Up a Script
You may observe that there are numerous intriguing approaches to handle the script's conclusion as you think back on your favorite films and television programs.
1. A montage: If you need to show how your story concludes for a number of different characters, think about using a montage where you tie up loose ends for everyone, from your main character to the antagonist to the cutest sidekicks. This is a common manner for action films to conclude, including The Dark Knight and Guardians of the Galaxy.
2. Concluding a circle: Bringing the audience back to the opening scene is one approach to wrap up a movie. Pulp Fiction and Forrest Gump both do this well.
3. With just your primary character: If your protagonist is the driving force behind your screenplay, they might be deserving of getting the last few seconds of screen time to themselves. For instance, Michael Corleone's closing scene in The Godfather Part II closes with him reflecting on the havoc he has caused.
4. With an epilogue: Some filmmakers use an epilogue to tie up loose ends in their stories. This is especially true of movies like 127 Hours or Remember the Titans that are based on real-life incidents.
5. Characters begin their next adventure: Some action movies conclude with the characters starting their next journey, setting up the sequel that is unavoidably going to happen. This kind of conclusion is common in superhero films. Showing the characters moving on to their next chapter, even if there isn't a sequel in the works, can still produce a particularly pleasant conclusion.
6. A heartbreaking moment: In Field of Dreams' conclusion, Ray Kinsella is finally able to play catch with his father, which has been the one thing that has motivated him throughout the narrative. Plan on having an emotionally stirring image to conclude on if you want your film or television show to endear viewers to your primary characters.
Three Pointers for Writing Your Script's Resolution
Script closure might be challenging. Consider the following advice to create a truly satisfying finale.
1. Before you begin writing your film, decide how it will end. Some aspiring screenwriters begin a spec script's first draft without knowing how it will turn out. This may result in writer's block later on and difficult stretches to finish a cumbersome work. Create a thorough outline before starting your first draft to avoid this issue.
2. Put continuity first. Your script's conclusion will probably follow the same timeline as the rest of your movie. Pay attention to both large issues like character arcs and the effects of actions down the line as well as minor but important factors like the time of day and seasons. During the rewriting and editing stages, it is very beneficial to concentrate on these components.
3. Mysterious conclusions must nevertheless make logical. If the viewer has some notion of the probable courses the characters can go after the movie or show finishes, ambiguous endings can be effective. The deus ex machina device is similar in that it's typically thought of as a cheap approach to provide a simple conclusion, but it can also serve as a humorous device or add an element of surprise. Make sure your surprise ending's logic makes sense so that the outcome is unexpected rather than disappointing.
Formatting a Script's Ending
For a screenplay writer writing for a film or video production company; you will do well to indicate how the scene shifts to the credits after writing your last line of dialogue, last stage direction, or last description. In this case, you have four main choices. Since they should all be centered within the right margin, as you add more text, the left margin will gradually encroach. All capital letters and a colon should be used for transitions.
1. Fade to black: In your screenplay, you should include the phrase "fade to black," which instructs the director to gradually transition the scene from completely lit to fully black. This can also known as "fade out.”
2. Blackout: This transition denotes an instantaneous period of darkness, similar to turning off a light switch. After an abrupt blackout, a director usually stays in the dark for a while.
3. Smash cut to the credits: In your last transition, mention a smash cut to ensure that the movie ends with the credits and doesn't linger in pitch-blackness.
4. Roll credits over the scene: At the end of some movies, the credits will roll over scenes that are in motion.
Finishing Your Film
Movies are messes in and of themselves. Writing them can be a chore. You are dealing with a completely new act structure as well as several planting and paying off features. You might just want to enter "fade out" to end your story, but there are a few things to think about before.
If you want to leave your plot open for a sequel is one of the important ones. This is more effective in some genres than others. Whether it's an action or comedy film, it's undoubtedly something to think about. Beyond that, you should base the conclusion on what it implies for the characters.
- How will the characters in the story react to the resolution?
- And how would that affect the viewers' emotions?
Be firm and not unsure of yourself. You want the feelings to be succinct and unambiguous.
The final point to bear in mind is the usual blunder of having several endings. There will be numerous scenarios that summarize each character's past. Instead, I would look for a way to group them so that the audience isn't overstimulated.
You must begin with the tedious process of formatting your script whether you want to win the Oscar for best original screenplay, satisfy script readers at a production firm, or enter a short film into the Sundance Film Festival. Using screenwriting programs like the industry-standard Final Draft is the simplest method to accomplish this. The right program will align all of your margins, from the cover page to the conclusion, allowing you to concentrate on the narrative.
Sep 02, 2022