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Is this ending, possibly boring?

For my script, I was told before by other readers and writers that the felt the ending didn't work cause there was a legal plothole in the story.

Basically the evidence that the main character collects on the villain couldn't be used cause he wouldn't have been able to get a warrant to obtain the evidence legally. He recorded conversations and performed a search, both without a warrant or a wire tap order, so therefore it couldn't be admissible in court, when the villains were arrested.

That was the original ending. So I came up with a new one. In the new one the MC is surveying the main villain and follows him out of the city to in the middle of nowhere. The villain digs a hole in the ground and puts a bag in it. The MC calls for back up, and him and other cops dig up the bag to see what the villain buried. In the bag is leverage, he is using to blackmail his fellow gang members to keep them from possibly turning on them. The villain buries it in the ground, so if the police search his property with a warrant in the future ever, they will not fight it.

So the police have evidence on some of the gang members, and they use this to arrest those members, hoping they will cut deals to turn in the leader, as well as others. This is the new ending. It fixes the plot hole since the evidence is buried in the ground, in the middle of nowhere, and not on private property, which the police would need a warrant for.

So I feel this fixes the legal plot hole, but I was told the ending is boring and not taut or suspenseful for a thriller, even though it sort of works, plausibility wise. What do you think? Is their a problem with the ending, or does it sound like it is lacking in suspense or drama? Or what is more important? Drama or not having legal plotholes?

Thank you everyone for your opinions. I really appreciate it.
 

mlesemann

Staff Member
Moderator
You could make it more suspenseful by making it a challenge to find, even after he saw it being buried, and by putting a "ticking clock" on it.

Maybe he marked it as being by a certain tree, but a storm blew down all the trees. Or there had been loose dirt but now all of the dirt around it is loose. And they need to find it before a certain time otherwise something bad will happen - you need to pick what that something is. So the challenge of finding it as time counts down gives you the needed suspense.
 
Make the MC conflicted about what to do first before he makes his choice to call for backup.
Maybe he follows the villain deeper into the woods first so see where he is going. (A cabin.)

When he learns the backup is almost at the bury spot he sees the villain coming out of that cabin again: making it a race against the clock to run back and excavate the stuff and put the dirt back so nobody would see the evidence was collected.
To make it even worse: the villain buried 2 bags on top of each other. The first one is filled with actual garbage or magazines full of naked girls, lol, I don't know. But it makes the MC look silly, since he for some reason missed that detail: he had to hide, because he made some noise, while the villain was hiding the evidence.
In a haze of panic he starts looking around for more fresh dirt but there isn't. He knows time is ticking: the villain will return soon and he doesn't want him to know he was being followed. In the mean time the cops 'congratulate' him with the fine 'evidence' he collected.
In a moment of dispair he continues to dig in the existing hole, only to discover the first bag was a diversion.
Now he has to put the the bag with the magazines back, much to the dismay of the other cops who were enthousiastly and jokingly examining the found 'evidence'.
Just in time they all get out of there.

Always end in a cliffhanger.

It is not a horror movie :P
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
Sounds more TV than film...

CSI: Miami

Villain buries evidence. Horatio stands behind him, takes off sunglasses. Villain, sweaty, on ground, turns around to see him. "Thought I might see you here."

Slow-mo of perp walk into precinct with music. Horatio puts on sunglasses, walks off.

:D

Sounds very episodal to me.
 
Okay thanks. I could go with the diversion bag idea.

However, I thought I would write it so that the reader, or audience, doesn't know that the villain is being followed. They will see the villain bury the collateral, and then ask themselves "the movie is almost over, how is the MC going to find it"?

Then in the next scene, which is a few hours later, the cops come to arrest all the villains and say that they have the evidence, and that the main villain was being tracked and surveyed.

So I thought I would make the bust a surprise, if that helps.

But Walter's suggestion was interesting as well. I guess it does come off as episodal. The original ending I had lead to kidnapping, coercion, revenge and backstabbing, but I kept getting the characters painted into a corner, for which the law wouldn't work, to bring the villains down in a legal technical way.

But I could still have say, the villains try to escape arrest, and the wrong people get killed and things like that. But I feel that maybe I need a legal 'plant', to start off with, so the pay off will be legally satisfactory to the reader and create any legal plotholes, if that makes sense.

I was told by a couple of people that they also did not buy the villain burying the collateral in the middle of nowhere, and that it felt forced, just so I could work around the legal loophole, that it cannot be on provide property. What do you think?
 
Or what is more important? Drama or not having legal plotholes?
I wouldn't call it a plot hole though. I think of a plot hole as a plot conflict that cannot be explained, like Joey Pants going in and out of the Matrix without help from the crew. This sounds more like an inaccuracy and I think audiences are more forgiving of them than a "real" plot hole.

What do you think?
I think there are too many cooks in the kitchen. I lurk this board quite a bit and know that many of the users here have some great ideas, but I also think if you shop your story to too many people and try to please them all, you'll be left with a shell of what was once a great idea.
 
Oh okay, thanks. They said that the villains decision was a plot hole, since it's riskier to have evidence buried on open land, compared to keeping it on private property.

Another climax I had in mind was for the hero cop, to go into the villains private property, and break in, to find the evidence. Once he has it, he knows it will not be admissible in court, cause he broke into private property, to get it by himself, without a warrant.

So the MC decides to go out to the middle of nowhere on outdoor land, and bury the evidence himself, and then claim he was tracking the villain to this location and that the villain stayed there for some time on the tracking device, or whatever the MC would use. He then tells the other police that sees dirt that looks like it was freshly dug up and that maybe the suspect buried something there. So he gets the police to that location and lies about, cause he is the one who illegally stole the evidence, and buried it there himself, so it would be admissible in court.

But I don't know how much the lies would hold up since if the MC is tracking the villain by GPS to keep out of site for example, the police may expect a record of the villains movements. If they do not get one, they may think this is suspicious, and the MC cannot give them one, if he goes out there himself to bury it and the villain was nowhere near there.

The villain would be using burner phones, so the MC would not be able to track the villains personal cell phone. But the MC could put a phone of his own on the villain's car though, without the villain knowing, and track that phone. This will make the lies hold up, if he brings his own phone out there maybe. But not sure if planting the phone on the villain's car is legal or not, since the villain had no probable cause to be declared an official suspect.

But this is a longer and more complicated climax that will delay the pacing probably, and take longer to get to an action and suspense pact, police arrest scene. It also ruins the element of surprise, since the audience would know that the MC found the evidence, and the bust no longer becomes a surprise, when the villain is arrested. What do you think?
 
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It doesn't have to be a horror movie to end in a cliffhanger. When you're doing any film/video you want the audience to want more when it is over. That's what allows them to come back.
 

sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
Take that original ending .. the evidence is thrown out, but then your cop is all pissed and he throws his badge BAM it impales right into the wall next to the judge. He quits his job as a cop!! Then he goes vigilante and the bad guys are all like hey you're not even a cop anymore!! and he says "do you think that makes me less dangerous, or more dangerous?" and then he kicks all their asses. And other cops see it but they recognize him and they don't do anything.

Actually nevermind that was the Shaft remake with samuel jackson and christian bale
 
Okay thanks. I could go with the diversion bag idea.

However, I thought I would write it so that the reader, or audience, doesn't know that the villain is being followed. They will see the villain bury the collateral, and then ask themselves "the movie is almost over, how is the MC going to find it"?
.................

If someone thinks like that, your story is boring.
Only with bad and boring movies I can't zap away or walk away from will trigger such a thought in my mind. (Or when my seat is uncomfortable)
All the others: not a moment I'm thinking about how much time there is left.
I watched the director's cut Miike Takashi's '13 Assassins' in the most uncomfortable venue in Rotterdam (I'm tall and I can't really put my legs in a comfy way), but never, n e v e r, did I think about how much time had passed: that movie was awesome and I had no time to think about time.

And yes, you found a boring way to write the end by keeping the viewer in the dark, while the desperate sneaky chase could add so much suspension. If there is an extra time pressure for the MC to be back somewhere in time to, I dont know, make sure someone is safe, or because of something important in his private life or work related stuff (like testifying in another important case), you can add more tension to the situation.
 
It doesn't have to be a horror movie to end in a cliffhanger. When you're doing any film/video you want the audience to want more when it is over. That's what allows them to come back.

Most movies don't end with a cliffhanger. Or maybe you define it differently than me: in that case we are in a babylonial conversation ;)

When you are making a movie you want people to experience something. That doesn't have to be the cliffhanger feeling. Yes, if you make them feel like wanting more, like in 'too bad the movie is over, because it was awesome': that is great goal to pursue. Some great movies don't even do that. Requiem for a Dream just punches you in the face, make you cry and makes you even want to be dead. No way you want more of that.

Make your audience laugh, make them happy, make them see the magic of existenc, make them cry of joy, make them weep in a bittersweet mix of grief and redemption, make them feel like justice was served, make them feel relieved the kids are alright, make them feel hopefull despite of all the darkness, make them feel gratefull for the sacrifices made, make them feel one big rush of adrenaline, make them feel peaceful and comtemplative, make them feel terrified for the monster that didn't really die, make them exited to see how the story continues, make then feel angry about the unfairness in life, make them feel the awe of the sublime and the beautiful, make them feel smart, make then feel tiny, make them feel inspired and empowered, make them feel glad that good defeated evil, make them feel amazed/surprise, mae them feel caught of guard, make them feel like punched in the face, make them feel like you squeeze their heart out, make them feel disgusted.... Make them feel.
But most of those feelings aren't cliffhanger emotions. ("OMG! How will this end?!")

Cliffhangers are great for soap operas, series with longer story arcs (like GOT), movies with a sequal potential, horrormovies. This list can be made a lot longer of course.

I think it's better to have a few cliffhangers in your script if you have a few storylines.
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
Cliffhanger means you need to "tune in next time" for resolution and it ends with you gripping the edge of your seat. "Who shot JR?" is a good example.

If I paid good money for a flick and it was a cliffhanger quite frankly I'd be pissed... that's all business-end stuff (sequel prep). ;)
 
If someone thinks like that, your story is boring.
Only with bad and boring movies I can't zap away or walk away from will trigger such a thought in my mind. (Or when my seat is uncomfortable)
All the others: not a moment I'm thinking about how much time there is left.
I watched the director's cut Miike Takashi's '13 Assassins' in the most uncomfortable venue in Rotterdam (I'm tall and I can't really put my legs in a comfy way), but never, n e v e r, did I think about how much time had passed: that movie was awesome and I had no time to think about time.

And yes, you found a boring way to write the end by keeping the viewer in the dark, while the desperate sneaky chase could add so much suspension. If there is an extra time pressure for the MC to be back somewhere in time to, I dont know, make sure someone is safe, or because of something important in his private life or work related stuff (like testifying in another important case), you can add more tension to the situation.

Okay thanks. I thought that keeping the viewer in the dark, and then surprising them was a good thing, cause there have been endings like that before, such as endings of Columbo episodes, where you think the villain is almost free and clear, and then it turns out that Columbo was watching him that whole time, or something like that. That is sort of the in the dark climax I was talking about.

But if that is bad, then I can show the sneaky chase from the MC's point of view as well. There is one thing I was thinking of doing for the ending as well, but not sure if it would work though. Mainly I wanted for the MC to trick the villains into all meeting up with the same place, at the same time. So that after he got the evidence, from the bag, him and the cops could arrest them all at the same time, which could lead to a suspenseful stand off, or something like that, rather than having the cops arrest them all in different places at the same time.

But I am not sure how to do that exactly. The villains having been making kidnap and ransom videos, which the will anonymously send to the people they are trying to extort. Kind of like in the movie Ransom (1996).

In the videos, all the villains wear masks and gloves and the speaker speaks in scrambled voice while making demands. Now my story takes place after the kidnappings have gone awry, and this is the aftermath, where the villains are laying low and the police are trying to catch them.

I was thinking what, if the MC cop, makes his own video and makes it look like it's from the kidnappers... he puts on a similar mask and black outfit, and speaks in a scrambled voice... He identifies himself as speaking on behalf of the same group of kidnappers with new demands, or a new hostage is going to be killed. He also, takes credit for a murder that the kidnappers did not commit and pins it on them.

The kidnappers see this new video after it is broadcasted online and sent to the media. They panic, and decide to make their own rebuttal video to show the public to try to explain that someone out there is framing them. They decide to all get together... Not just one or two, but all of them to show that the person who is framing them, is just one person, where as they want to prove to everyone that they are a much larger group, compared to the person framing them. The public already knows this though, so maybe it's not necessary to get together to emphasize it?

This is the MC's plan to force them all to get together so him and the police can catch the kidnappers in the act of making this new rebuttal video, but also to get them all together in the same place at the same time. After they all leave, the cops can arrest them with the collateral evidence they dug up.

However, does this plan make logical sense to get them all together? Would the kidnappers feel that it was necessary for them to ALL get together, to make a rebuttal video to tr y to discredit whoever is framing them, or would they feel that only a couple of them are necessary for a rebuttal video?

Is this a good enough reason for them to all get together, do you think?
 
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blablabla.

Things work when things work.
I'm not saying the Columbo thing is a bad thing in itself.
All I said was that if people start wondering about how long the movie still is, your movie must be boring.
The other thing I said is the way you described your ending with a villain burying something indeed seemed a bit boring. Where is the emotion in that? What is at stake for the MC while the audience thinks the villain is peacefully burying the evidence?

It seems you are so caught up in finding a legal contruction to make your ending work you forgot that movies are about emotions.

Any kind of twist can be a good twist in the right context.
Any kind of scene can be a great scene in the right context.
In the wrong context they are either boring or make no sense.

You keep on mistaking context for rules.
Someone says: that doesn't work.
You say: but in TITLEofSOMEMOVIE it works, was that wrong then?

No! It works when it works!

Just make something short, maybe it will enlighten your view on how everything depends on everything. Maybe then you will also realise that you will never get a complete solution from IT because your question was never complete to start with.
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
If they were recorded with no expectation of privacy, then it is not a private conversation and it can be admissible.

For example, if talking in a cafe and the FBI has a wire in the napkin holder, there is no expectation of privacy because they are in a cafe. Even if they are whispering at a table.

In your own home you would think always expectation of privacy right?

It was recently brought up that Taylor Swift might sure Kanye for releasing their phone conversation. However lawyers pointed out, it was on speakerphone, and she knew it was. And other people were in the room. A doc was being taped as well, which is how it got recorded. There was no expectation of privacy, so she would have no case. Meaning if this ware a criminal case, it could be admissible.

There's ways you can make your idea work. ALL states have different laws as well as Canada. You can find the right location for this to work, etc. and work with no expectation of privacy, even if it appears private.

Don't worry over such details when dealing with the story as a whole. Get it hammered out and see if it works as a whole first.
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
Ugg, I mentioned Kanye and Taylor Swift lol.
 
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