Wrapping things up with a bow is only for presents

I saw Cloverfield this week and got into a debate about it with a fellow screenwriter.  He didn’t care for it because he felt it left too many questions unanswered.  Where did the monster come from, what happened afterwards, and other points I won’t bring up to avoid spoilers. Now I’m an admitted fan of Giant Monster Movies, but even then I didn’t have a problem with the unresolved issues.  I actually rather liked it.

I heard a screenwriter talk about this issue in a podcast, and he put out that it is somewhat generational.  That nowdays younger people are so used to having all the answers at their fingertips, Googling information, texting friends, reading websites, that not being able to find something out just… bothers them.  It’s abnormal.  I think he’s onto something.

I don’t mind open ended movies.  Memento made me think, made me puzzle through things on my own, and led to great conversations after the movie.  I rewatched it recently and still don’t have all the answers, but it is just as fun to ponder.  It engages me, makes me part of the story.  Life rarely comes with neat explanations, and my movies don’t need to either.

It’s important to give a sound finish to the story, to not cheat the audience, and that line can sometimes be fuzzy.  Follow your characters and events and you will usually find you say all that you really need to.  If there is one all important secret, one valuable tidbit I can give to ending your story, it is to always remember to

About Jeff Moriarty

A dabbler in many arts, from Ignite Phoenix to Improv, and from Information Security to Screenwriting. Jeff loves creating new things, and tries his hand at many forms of writing from screenplays to prose. He pontificates on his personal blog, and helps authors get their works online.


  1. Oh, boy. That’s one of those jumbo size can of worms like you get at CostCo. Part of it is what you want out of a movie. I like to be engaged in the movie and I like that engagement to continue after the credits roll. I figured most people were like that because that’s the kind of people I go to movies with. Turns out there’s a whole ticket buying demographic that just wants pretty pictures moving in front of them for ninety minutes. They tend to resent a movie that might cause them to, you know, think.