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Old 04-19-2016, 11:21 AM   #1
kjninja
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Idea Is it a big no-no to make it all a dream?

I''m currently writing a short film based in an apocalyptic universe. It's set in one room and is primarily moved forward by the dialogue between two strong characters. The point of the short is to send a message or help the viewer to learn a lesson, an Aesop's Fable kind of vibe. Without wanting to reveal too much about the cause for the film, it needs to end on the premise that 'it was all a dream'. I've always understood that this was a big no-no and I completely understand why. My only issue is that for the viewer to learn the lesson or understand the message, then this is a must for the end of the short. Is it such a terrible thing for me to do if there is a genuine reason for it? Or should I just leave that part out altogether and hope the audience understands the point? That only leaves me with having to find another ending which is just as effective as the original idea.

Any comments you have would be super helpful. Maybe we can just discuss the idea of 'It was all a dream" in filmmaking.

Thanks.
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Old 04-19-2016, 02:38 PM   #2
Filman
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Funny. You say it's a total no-no and still look for a reason to do it. The reason it is a no-no is because it is cheap - the easiest way to lie. The twist ends that you can get away with are those where you feed your audience with all the hints, during the whole film, and still manage to surprise them at the end. Meaning, if you have an important lesson to tell with your film, you can't get away with a cheap end twist. That's against the nature of your film.
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Old 04-19-2016, 08:43 PM   #3
directorik
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It is not a “no-no” for beginning film makers – it is almost a right of passage.
In most cases the “it's a dream” ending is done poorly which it is often
considered a “no-no”. Since you understand why the general consensuses is
to not do it then you must find a way to make it work.

I say do it. Make the film exactly as you want it made. Put it out there and
listen openly to what people say. Learn from the movie and make a few more.
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Old 04-20-2016, 01:34 AM   #4
Sweetie
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It's fine. It's far from a no-no. It's another storytelling tool.
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Old 04-20-2016, 03:55 PM   #5
Wolverine237
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There is no such thing as a "no-no" in writing and there should be no boundaries or restrictions on your creativity and imagination. It sounds like you're asking if this works as an ending, but I cannot know that because I do not know the story or your characters.

My best advice without reading your screenplay is to take a step back and look at your story from the perspective of your audience. How does the story and the ending make you FEEL?

Then simply ask yourself as the artist: Is this the feeling I intend for my audience? Does this ending fit into the story and themes? If the answer is a resounding, yes; then go with it.

Happy writing.
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Old 04-20-2016, 04:49 PM   #6
HU_Nathan7
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I agree with the others that there should be no restrictions in writing and creativity. That being said, I'd encourage you to challenge yourself to find a way to have that kind of "it was all just a dream" twist, but hopefully in a more original way.
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Old 04-20-2016, 05:45 PM   #7
WalterB
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Just do it.
Things that work out fine are never a no no.
Things done badly are always always a no no.
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Old 04-20-2016, 07:20 PM   #8
Alcove Audio
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Most of the time I feel cheated when it was "all just a dream." But "The Wizard Of Oz" makes it work just fine, although I would have liked a pull back and seeing the ruby slippers peeking out from under Dorothy's bed. Something like the could be your twist.
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Old 04-20-2016, 07:28 PM   #9
Murdock
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Couldn't movies like Shutter Island, Inception, or Fight Club be considered dream-esque??
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Old 07-02-2016, 07:37 PM   #10
aussielung
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It's not a no-no but I personally would be more interested in watching a film that implied or hinted it was all a dream but left the audience questioning if it was or not. Like Inception and why the talisman didn't fall on the last shot.
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Old 07-02-2016, 09:10 PM   #11
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Wizard of Oz was all a dream.
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Old 07-02-2016, 11:10 PM   #12
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If your overall idea is about apocalypse that ought to be "prevented", then I`d personally prefer a "sci-fi" resolution, when it is not suggested that something did not happen, but rather the heroes had been given a "second chance" with their lives, returning to a normal state of affairs, where they could take things further.

I see its a bit oldie post, you`ve probably finished it a long ago
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Old 07-03-2016, 12:58 AM   #13
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No rules, just have fun.
My personal reservation about it "all just being a dream" is that any/all the stakes you've worked so hard to get your audience to accept will go out the window. As result, they walk away from the story emotionally divested from the drama.

This isn't a rule, just my $0.02
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Old 07-03-2016, 01:40 AM   #14
Cracker Funk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _Rok_ View Post
No rules, just have fun.
My personal reservation about it "all just being a dream" is that any/all the stakes you've worked so hard to get your audience to accept will go out the window. As result, they walk away from the story emotionally divested from the drama.

This isn't a rule, just my $0.02
Exactly. It's like pulling a rug out from under the audience's feet. The audience might think, "great, so everything I thought I cared about doesn't actually matter?!"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Murdock View Post
Couldn't movies like Shutter Island, Inception, or Fight Club be considered dream-esque??
Shutter Island and Fight Club? No. But Inception? Quite literally. I wonder if maybe the OP could benefit from an Inception-esque ending. Don't spell it out for us. Make us wonder. Is it all a dream?
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Old 07-03-2016, 10:04 AM   #15
directorik
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So two people mentioned "Oz" as a good example. Is that it?
Is that the only movie to successfully pull of the "it's all a dream"
device? As Murdock asks, those films "could" be considered
dream-esque but they do not state that it was all a dream as
"Oz" does.
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