confusion RSS

CLUE, clues, confusion, engagement, GLASS ONION, mystery, resolution, reveal -

Sometimes scripts mix up the distinction between mystery and confusion. With both mystery and confusion, we are giving the audience a story that is unclear; they don’t know exactly what is happening or why. The difference being with mystery, the script is carefully building a machine comprised of gears made of clues. The script knows exactly what is happening and why, and is revealing both by presenting the audience one piece of the puzzle at a time. It’s a purposeful crafting of narrative, with a clear pay-off for the audience: they have fun trying to guess what’s going on, and...

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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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