“Format” in your stories (1 Viewer)

mol31203

Member
This is something that bug me for a while...
a while ago I was told by a teacher that I couldn’t end a story without “hope” (or “light”) and couldn’t end a story without protagonists having some changes at the end.
I disagreed with him and still disagree with him now (I mean, look at films like Mother!), but it does make me wonder how everyone’s opinion on this and how teachers at film schools approach this? Do they also force you to change the storyline to have “hope”?
 

Chris W

Willem was robbed
Staff member
and couldn’t end a story without protagonists having some changes at the end.
I personally think this should be the case. There certainly needs to be some story arc. However it doesn't need to be a positive one. :) (Think joker)

More people will like your story however if there's some sort of hope at the end though as that's why people usually see movies. Or maybe even not in the characters themselves but some films inspire the viewers to think about themselves and their life and make changes if the movie is about bad things.

Most people don't want to watch something of someone getting punched in the face repeatedly. There has to be some hope or redeeming qualities IMO or it's just sadism. :)

The hope at the end of joker FYI was the hint at the
origin of Batman.
 

mol31203

Member
I personally think this should be the case. There certainly needs to be some story arc. However it doesn't need to be a positive one. :) (Think joker)

More people will like your story however if there's some sort of hope at the end though as that's why people usually see movies. Or maybe even not in the characters themselves but some films inspire the viewers to think about themselves and their life and make changes if the movie is about bad things.

Most people don't want to watch something of someone getting punched in the face repeatedly. There has to be some hope or redeeming qualities IMO or it's just sadism. :)

The hope at the end of joker FYI was the hint at the origin of Batman
.

i think I see your point. But I also believe some of the stories need to be hopeless because 1. Sometimes having hope is worse than being hopeless (maybe just accept how it is and what it is) and 2. I think this will shake someone up and motivate them to think about that.
I could be wrong because most of the examples I can think of is not films but plays or novels.
 

Chris W

Willem was robbed
Staff member
1. Sometimes having hope is worse than being hopeless (maybe just accept how it is and what it is)

That's a story arc and character change right there. :)

2. I think this will shake someone up and motivate them to think about that.

Ahh but that's my second point. The hope is then in the viewer themselves. There's still hope then. :)

But a story arc of some sort is absolutely essential in my opinion.
 

Chris W

Willem was robbed
Staff member
All good stories have story arcs. Think of a joke for example... The punchline completes the story arc.

All good stories you tell your friends have a story arc. There's usually a point or change in the story... Otherwise why would you be telling it and your friend wouldn't be happy to hear a long story without a point or something remarkable in it.

The original ending of 28 Days Later had a really bleak ending and the studio wanted them to change it and they did. The original ending is still at the end after the credits.

It didn't tie things up in a knot and you were left feeling helpless.... But the main character certainly went through a story arc and change.
 

mol31203

Member
So for examp
All good stories have story arcs. Think of a joke for example... The punchline completes the story arc.

All good stories you tell your friends have a story arc. There's usually a point or change in the story... Otherwise why would you be telling it and your friend wouldn't be happy to hear a long story without a point or something remarkable in it.

The original ending of 28 Days Later had a really bleak ending and the studio wanted them to change it and they did. The original ending is still at the end after the credits.

It didn't tie things up in a knot and you were left feeling helpless.... But the main character certainly weren't through a story arc.
So for example... not sure if you watch it before, Oslo, August 31, where the protagonist ended up doing drugs again. Do you think there’s still hope in the film? Because the way I ended that story was a bit similar like that. From my point of view, there might not be hope for the protagonist, but maybe there were for the audience. (To make them shocked and think)
 

Chris W

Willem was robbed
Staff member
So for example... not sure if you watch it before, Oslo, August 31, where the protagonist ended up doing drugs again. Do you think there’s still hope in the film? Because the way I ended that story was a bit similar like that. From my point of view, there might not be hope for the protagonist, but maybe there were for the audience. (To make them shocked and think)
I haven't seen that film.... But yes in that example there is hope in the viewer to inspire change so then there's a point to the film.

I think what your teacher was trying to get across (from my interpretation of your original post) was that stories need to have some purpose behind them but you are right that they don't need to have a tied up in a bow everything is perfect and hopeful ending.
 
I don't think you have to have hope, per say (though I personally prefer it), but there does need to be some sort of arc. Because if we start and end in the same place without learning anything, what's the point? I've got a classmate who works really dark, in terms of story and tone, and when her protagonists make the "wrong" choice, there's a sort of comeuppance or reconciliation with the world around them.

Uncut Gems (which will be on Netflix at the end of the month) is a GREAT example of a flawed character who doesn't change and how the world around him reconciles his behavior.
 
I personally think this should be the case. There certainly needs to be some story arc. However it doesn't need to be a positive one. :) (Think joker)

More people will like your story however if there's some sort of hope at the end though as that's why people usually see movies. Or maybe even not in the characters themselves but some films inspire the viewers to think about themselves and their life and make changes if the movie is about bad things.

Most people don't want to watch something of someone getting punched in the face repeatedly. There has to be some hope or redeeming qualities IMO or it's just sadism. :)

The hope at the end of joker FYI was the hint at the
origin of Batman.
In the script, Bruce Wayne is murdered too.
 
Indiana Jones doesn't have a character arc. Lots of main character don't evolve or grow. I wouldn't even classify it as the exception to the rule. Really, it's just filmmakers that know when its ok to break the rules. But that's why they teach you the rules first, so you know when and how.

Read recently that the producers wanted Fincher to change the ending of Se7en to be less bleak. Ultimately it worked out because he knows what he's doing.
 
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