Endings.. Wall Street and Michael Clayton

Our main character, the little man, must fight the corporate power and greed who think they are above the law, and bring them to justice by doing the morally right thing, even if it costs him everything. He will confront the enemy, while secretly recording them, and get them to incriminate themselves.

Are we talking about Bud Fox confronting Gordon Gecko here or Micheal Clayton and Karen Crowder?

It’s the same ending… Michael sits in a taxi and Bud drives to the courthouse both reflecting on where the morally right choice has taken them.

This made me think about using scenes from famous films…

If you have an idea, want to turn it into a story and then finally a script, finding the story spine and completing it from start to end is the key. Structure, Acts, midpoints etc at this stage don’t mean anything and should be put to the side as they hinder more than help.

If you can’t link story part A to B to C to D to an ending that makes sense to a listener then you just have some randoms ideas with no connections.

Having trouble linking the parts and coming up with an ending? Then take pieces from scripts that have already been written. You are not going to steal them, they are just temporary placeholders, and will be removed or re-written at a later stage.

Something changes when you can take a story from start to finish in a logical manner. It doesn’t have to be perfect, be of any particular length, or even be original at this stage.

So you have a story about a woman hunting a murderer but you don’t know the ending? Borrow the ending from the Silence of the Lambs and complete your story.

The whole idea is to move you forward and hopefully spark some ideas. You can’t keep this ending, as it belongs to Ted Tally/Harris, but you have made some subtle decisions here. You’ve decided that your hero will live, and succeed, and the murderer will die. Whether you keep this or not is really up to you.

Ideas don’t just come out of a vacuum they need seeds to grow.


Endings.. Wall Street and Michael Clayton

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