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Is it worth not revealing a twist, if people can see it coming?

In my script there is a scenario where these kidnappers have a hostage, and want to negotiate. A negotiator arranges to meet them in a public place. The negotiator wants revenge on them, cause they killed his loved one before in the script, and setting up this whole negotiation, was a way to get them to meet him for his plan to work.

However, I showed the script to some others into filmmaking, and they said that I should write it so that the audience does not know that the guy wanting revenge, and the negotiator, they are going to meet are the same person. I already wrote it so that the audience is aware, but they say I should rewrite it so they do not for the next draft.

This is the climax, and if I write it this way, it will be a surprise they say. However, I really don't think it will be. You know how when you go to the movies with your friends, and they can spot a surprise coming a mile away, especially if it's predictable. If the protagonist has a revenge motive against the antagonist, then you can bet a that any off screen character the antagonist has arranged to meet in the climax, is going to be the protagonist. It's just you can see the twist coming a while away, cause it wasn't intended to be a surprise in the first place.

So it is it worth making a twist, if it's already predictable? Is predictable always bad? For example, when you watch a movie like Fracture (2007) for example, they made it very clear who the villain was right in the opening of the movie. They never said let's make the audience think he is innocent till later. The reason being is because you would predict that he is the villain anyway. Perhaps I could throw in some misdirection but not sure if that would be enough cause the audience may just assume that it's misdirection.

So the question is, when it comes to the next rewrite, is it worth creating a surprise twist, out of something the audience would probably see coming, if it was kept from them? Or are twists only worth having if they are unpredictable cause you cannot see the character's motive for it to happen?
 
Well some movies still have twists in even though the audience can see it coming, but the filmmakers still thought the movie was better with them. Like in Braveheart:

SPOILER

The English want to negotiate with William Wallace and talk terms in the end. William's friend tells him it's a trap. I also though it was a trap before it came. But the filmmakers thought it was best not to reveal it was a trap, until it happened, even though you can see it coming, and there were hints.

I guess my question is, how do you know if a twist is worth it since other movies do have them even though they can been seen coming?
 
Not everyone watches in the same way as you do. If you watch as a filmmaker or a screenwriter then you will deconstruct the plot as you go along, spot the red herrings and make a mental list of things the camera draws attention to which need a pay-off, so it's very hard to ever be genuinely surprised by anything a movie does.

Many normal people, on the other hand, just watch with one eye on the story. the other on the guy/girl they're watching with, the occasional glance at their phone etc, and just go with the flow. That's why movies are so full of what are (to us) absurd or obvious 'twists'.
 
Okay thanks.

For my script, I have to decide whether or not, it's best to go for the twist route. I mentioned Fracture as an example, they did not try to hide the fact of the villain's guilt and let you know who the killer was right away.

I have to decide whether or not I should reveal from the beginning that the protagonist and the negotiator are the same person. This way it's a build up for the audience, as they know his plan, but they may also think the climax is perhaps a bit too simple and predictable as a result. Or I could keep it a surprise, even though it's not that hard to figure out probably, but it still may or may not add an extra layer to the climax therefore.

What approach do you think would be best?
 
Nobody can answer that without a detailed breakdown of the story and its narrative structure. Don't worry about what the audience will think: how does the story gain by revealing the twist early or vice versa? Tell a good story well and the audience won't care what structural choices you made.
 
Okay thanks. I think the audience may get confused though, as they may not connect that the protagonist and the negotiator were the same character all along, if I rewrite it so that they are set up to believe that it is someone else. They may think the negotiator is still a different person, and I would have to explain it, thereby disrupting the current suspense.

If the audience will be thinking about it, in the moment when the protagonist has come to get revenge, and that's not the time to be backtracking in your mind, figuring out a tiwst. Because of that, I am not sure if it's the right way to go.
 
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Now I'm completely baffled. You seem to be assuming that your audience will have too poor a memory to remember what the protagonist looks like. Unless he wears a mask for the rest of the film... but I suspect this isn't a superhero movie...

Again: that sort of bait and switch is a fairly standard trope in the movie twist stakes, and it works because the audience recognises a face and gasps when they realise that X and Y are actually the same person. Or are you forgetting that the whole point of a written script is to end up with a visual movie?
 
H44, you half-witted git. Learn to ask the question you mean to ask.

Crap twist = crap twist. If this is a suspense movie and it's a crap twist, you're failing your audience. If your audience expects a great twist and you give them a half-assed twist, you're going to ruin their experience. It really comes down to audience expectations. You're the author. You're the one molding the story. You're the one who has chosen the audience demographic with your story choices. What does your audience expect? Do you deliver with what you've written. Unless you're supplying the script, you're the only one who can answer these kinds of convoluted questions.

I am not sure if it's the right way to go.

You're the king of bad ideas and poor execution. If you aren't sure this is the right way to go, then it's really not the right way to go.
 
FWIW, I knew this thread would have a predictable "twist" ending: Dopey question --> Sincere legit answers --> FUBAR twist --> Outrage --> No demonstrable resolution.


Been there.

Done that.

Seen it a hun'rd times.

Always surprised.



I keep hoping for a resolution, but...
 
H44, just write your script the way you ask questions on IT:
leave out essential information untill the end and then baffle everyone with the complete information.

That will surely be a twist.

Unfortunately most viewers will have left in anger before that :P
 
Now I'm completely baffled. You seem to be assuming that your audience will have too poor a memory to remember what the protagonist looks like. Unless he wears a mask for the rest of the film... but I suspect this isn't a superhero movie...

Again: that sort of bait and switch is a fairly standard trope in the movie twist stakes, and it works because the audience recognises a face and gasps when they realise that X and Y are actually the same person. Or are you forgetting that the whole point of a written script is to end up with a visual movie?

Well the negotiator is only talked about by the character paying the ransom. He hires the negotiator. The main character and him talk about how the negotiator should go about it, but since the main character is the negotiator, they have to talk about it in a way that the audience believes they are talking about someone else or something. Basically I just need a red herring or something to make it work.

I originally did not intend this to be a surprise twist, but was told I should make it one, since we already know what's happening at the start of the climax. But I find that often when someone tells me to change something in a script, it can be tough since the treatment has already written and it's hard to rewrite without unraveling the rest of the script in some ways.

I will keep thinking of a red herring. I only ask if I should show a flashback cause some movies do that in a twist, thinking that the audience will trouble remembering. Like how in The Conversation (1974), Gene Hackman flashed back to a certain sentence that was spoken, so the audience, would get the twist without having to think back much.
 
I can imagine h44 on set.

LEAD ACTOR: "I quit"
H44: "Yes, positions. Get into position."
LEAD ACTOR walks off set.
H44: "Turnover"
CREW look at each other.
H44: "Action"
CREW wave their arms around pretending to do work.
H44: "Cut. Perfect. The best take of the film. Print that. Moving on"
CREW go to a permanent lunch now knowing that H44 won't notice their absence.
 
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