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Old 06-22-2016, 03:18 AM   #1
harmonica44
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How can I explain a twist, without doing it in a James Bond corny way?

For my script, basically it's a thriller and one of the main characters, who the reader or audience, is thought to have been innocent the entire time, all of a sudden pulls out a gun, takes the protagonist hostage, and starts a sinister plan in the works.

However, the audience has no idea that she is bad up to this point, and they are going to be wondering WTF is going on, why is doing this all of a sudden?

So I am wondering how I can explain it to the audience without it coming off as a corny James Bond way. By that I mean, where the villain will hold Bond hostage and explain the entire plan to him, like Red Grant did in From Russia with Love, as well as others.

I could also not have the villain explain anything at all, and just show flashbacks. But there may be two disadvantages to doing this.

1. The main character doesn't know the reason, only the audience... If the MC hypothesizes as to why she was bad the whole time, it will just be a theory, and he will not be totally sure, if that's okay.

2. The flashbacks sort of break away from the suspense, cause the rest of the story has to be put on hold in favor of a visual recap, if that's okay. Before in the script, I described a hand with a glove on, breaking a window and unlocking the door to a house, while sneaking in. So if I show the flashback, the audience will then see that that hand, is that of the newly revealed villain, which they did not know. But could doing it that way come off as cheesy?

What do you think? The hostage taker has a reason to keep the MC alive as part of her plan to set him up and all, but I don't know if she has a reason to bother to explain WHY to him, even if out of ego.

Or I can do the flashback recap method. What do you think?
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Old 06-27-2016, 04:42 PM   #2
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Does the villain even have to explain to him the "why" of their actions? It could just go like this:

MC: Why?
Villain: It doesn't matter. What matters is I now have the upper hand.

Or something to that effect.
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Old 06-28-2016, 03:40 AM   #3
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But if I did it that way, the audience will not know why or what the villain is doing or how they got there.
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Old 06-28-2016, 07:38 AM   #4
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"Breaking Bad" handled this in a few great ways. They would nod to the audience without any of "victims" knowing what was going on, using foreshadowing type elements earlier on, like with the poisining storylines.

It made it even more intense that you knew, the MC knew that he had the upper hand, but the victim nor his family knew, though they somehow suspected without any real proof.
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Old 06-28-2016, 12:41 PM   #5
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Yeah I could that and use foreshadowing maybe.

Mainly in my story, the villain fakes a burglary on her house, but I wanted the reader to not know she is the villain yet, since it is told from the detective's POV.

I wrote it so that someone wearing gloves breaks into the house, but all you see is the the person's hands and feet doing the break in work, without seeing who's face it is.

Later I want the reader to figure out it was her, but without her actually having to admit it to the detective if possible, after it's too late for him to get her on it.
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Old 06-28-2016, 09:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harmonica44 View Post
Yeah I could that and use foreshadowing maybe.

I wrote it so that someone wearing gloves breaks into the house, but all you see is the the person's hands and feet doing the break in work, without seeing who's face it is.

Later I want the reader to figure out it was her, but without her actually having to admit it to the detective if possible, after it's too late for him to get her on it.
You could potentially show those same gloves in the burglar's garbage can, for example, or and the camera shows them seeing them and acknowledging them (like taking the trash out, etc) as a thing they need to discard, which is what pays off to the audience that this is your burglar.


Good luck with it.
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Old 06-29-2016, 05:44 AM   #7
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Okay thanks. But if the audience sees the same gloves in the garbage can, wouldn't they figure out the twist too soon then?

Or do you mean to show the gloves in the can after the twist is revealed. The thing is, is that by the time the twist is revealed, the house where the burglary was arranged, is a long gone location by then.

Let's say I am at the scene where the audience finds out who the villain behind everything is. Then I would have to cut to the location of the house, which the audience has not seen in a while and cut to the gloves in the garbage can. Then cut back to the current scene, where the audience found out who the villain is.

Would this be an awkward cut that could perhaps come off as random? Or were you thinking of something different?

Last edited by harmonica44; 06-29-2016 at 05:48 AM.
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Old 06-29-2016, 09:44 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by harmonica44 View Post
Okay thanks. But if the audience sees the same gloves in the garbage can, wouldn't they figure out the twist too soon then?
depends on the order of the shots, i suppose.
for example, if you showed the gloves in the trash early on but then later showed the burglary happening with the gloves on, putting 2 and 2 together.
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Old 06-29-2016, 09:54 AM   #9
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(Re)watch The Usual Suspects - it does a great job of explaining it all visually at the end.
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Old 06-29-2016, 11:01 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by harmonica44 View Post
...........

Or do you mean to show the gloves in the can after the twist is revealed. The thing is, is that by the time the twist is revealed, the house where the burglary was arranged, is a long gone location by then.

Let's say I am at the scene where the audience finds out who the villain behind everything is. Then I would have to cut to the location of the house, which the audience has not seen in a while and cut to the gloves in the garbage can. Then cut back to the current scene, where the audience found out who the villain is.

Would this be an awkward cut that could perhaps come off as random? Or were you thinking of something different?
Who says the gloves have to be in the can in that house?
There isn't only black and white. With some 'parallel liquid' thinking you can imagine other locations for the gloves that might be other objects that get revealed in different ways on different moments...

And you are right: it makes no sense in this situation to show gloves in a trashcan on a location none of your characters is present. This technique can be used to foreshadow danger or a joke: showing a character forgot something he really needs now. Or to foreshadow tragedy when a character suddenly realises he forgot something.
But as you describe it would be terrible. So, find a better solution.
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Old 06-29-2016, 03:57 PM   #11
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I could have the MC say to the villain "It was you who staged your own burglary", or something like that, maybe.

The villain doesn't have to explain anything then, and maybe it can still be explained to the audience that it was probably her anyway.
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Old 06-29-2016, 06:02 PM   #12
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Maybe you should 'show/tell' the twist instead of explaining.
Movies are usually stories not lectures.
This remark might look strange or obvious, but if you replace the question 'how can I explain..' with 'how can I surprise/shock the MC?' you might find different answers.
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Old 07-01-2016, 05:00 AM   #13
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Well I could flashback to the break in/burglary, showing the person. It's just when I see this done in movies, I think it kind of comes off as considerably cheesy sometimes, cause the moment has to be put on hold for a flashback explanation. That's one way I can think of showing the twist, but is that better than the villain explaining it?
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Old 12-29-2016, 07:28 AM   #14
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Its always good to have faith that the audience will put 2 and 2 together. You dont need to explain absolutely everything, just give them the tools to piece it all together or follow another character figuring it out.
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Old 12-29-2016, 01:28 PM   #15
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Although Bond does it cheesy, I thought the way they did it in Casino Royale with Vesper was alright (not one of those "Aw @#$% I did NOT see that coming!" type way).

Not sure if there is an official way to do it but what I have seen that I like is what I call the "bread crumb" method.

That is, leave little unanswered questions or small sideplot "bread crumbs" before this. Better is if the items don't on the surface appear to have anything to do with your "twist" character but then when the betrayal happens it becomes a self evident "It was you?"

Movies do this all the time and it goes back to good old Agatha Christie and before that as well.

Classic "who dunnit".

Heck even Star Trek does it as well.

Generally plays out in films in a "Ok we know which action to take, let's go!"

Everyone starts pursuing that action with determination...except ONE.

The protag or whatever turns around and faces a Gun in our "surprise, it was me!" twist character.

"You? It was you?"

Then the inevitable, "but Why?"

And the traitor gives the last little puzzle piece that makes it all clear.

See if you can do it in a unique way.

In the Bond/Vesper reveal it wasn't in a facing the gun, it was in the phone call that revealed it but we didn't suspect her before this as there wasn't an unrevealed "menace". The main antagonist had already been killed and this was just another weak "loose end" that needed to be tied up.
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