Monday, October 26, 2015

TODAY'S NUGGET: A Serious Man (2009) - Ending Scenes with a "Button"

[Quick Summary: Prof. Larry Gopnik cannot believe the events in his Job-like life.]

This wasn't my favorite script, but I did like how the writers ended their scenes.

Each one ended with a satisfying "button."

Sometimes the button was tying up loose ends. 

Other times it was more open ended: a question was left unanswered, an uncomfortable moment that remained unresolved, a setup for a later payoff, etc.

Buttons gave me confidence that the story was making progress and kept me reading.

ex. "SY: You know, Larry - how we handle ourselves, in this situation - it's so impawtant.

LARRY: Uh-huh.

SY: Absolutely. Judith told me that she broke the  news to you. She said you were very adult.

LARRY: Did she.

SY: Absolutely. The respect she has for you.

LARRY: Yes?

SY: Absolutely. But the children, Larry. The children.

He shakes his head.

...The most impawtant.

LARRY: Well, I guess...

SY: Of coss. And Judith says they're handling it so well. A tribute to you. Do you drink wine? Because this is an incredible bottle. This is not Mogen David. This is a wine, Larry. A bawdeaux.

LARRY: You know, Sy --

SY: Open it - let it breathe. Ten minutes. Letting it breathe, so impawtant.

LARRY: Thanks, Sy, but I'm not --

SY: I insist! No reason for discumfit. I'll be uncumftable if you don't take it. These are isgns and tokens, Larry.

LARRY: I'm just - I'm not ungrateful, I'm, I just don't know a lot about wine and given our respective, you --

He is startled when Sy abruptly hugs him.

SY: S'okay.

He finishes the hug off with a couple of thumps on the back.

...S'okay. Wuhgonnabe fine."

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: Button your scenes.  Let the reader know where you're going.

A Serious Man (2009)(draft dated 6/4/07)
by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

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