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ambiguity, confusion, mystery, THE FLORIDA PROJECT, TOTAL RECALL -

Ambiguity in storytelling is rewarding but tricky. It’s rewarding because, when handled well, we can draw the audience into the narrative. If engaged, they wonder what’s going on and why. Like the characters, the audience actively thinks about the story, examining “clues” (literal or figurative) and making guesses. Mystery as either a storytelling device or a genre is driven completely by ambiguity. Without ambiguity, there is no mystery; we know “whodunnit.” However, ambiguity can also be tricky, because it involves some work to correctly pull off. I have read a lot of spec scripts that engage in only a single...

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