Making a good movie ending

written by Ken Wegorowski on September 16, 2017

Basically there are some standard techniques that film makers use to signify and end to their movie. I want to touch on just one of those that I had never seen done before. In the film “Margin Call” they didn’t end the verbal sound track.

Most films will conclude the voice and atmospheric sound and then start roll of credits with music. This film went to black, started the credit roll, but never turned off the sound for what had been going on in the scene prior. This was a great technique for this particular film that instead of ending the entire movie made it so that we were still there but just not visualizing it. This happens in life and it is why this technique can be effective movie making. We sometimes play these events in our minds visually and with sound, but sometimes we cut the sound and keep the visuals, or keep the visuals and cut the sound. Did you catch that? I said the same thing twice. Just be careful to not “Blair Witch” this movie ending technique!


Add some excitement

What could have been a boring presentation as to how to remove algae from a swimming pool was turned into something fun. Few film makers will go to these lengths to make sure their viewers get a real kick out of what they are watching but when they do, it makes the movie what  it should be, entertaining.


As you saw instead of just narrating how it should be done, he let the props lead him into what really happens and then what should be done about it.

This technique should be employed in all films. I call it “getting dirty”. It provides more excitement, intrigue, inducing smiles and laughter with simple effective presentation as to how to solve a common problem.



Guy visits “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” house

I noticed a couple of nice filming techniques that a guy did in a film he made that started by visiting a “ghost town” Bartlett, Texas. I think the term isn’t really being used correctly as there were people still living there, most ghost towns are abandoned completely.

See if you notice them for yourself. One is where he’s walking away from the camera. The angle of the camera is low, he looks big then walks off into the cornset. It’s at the end.

The feature image where he’s blocking the house is a great technique but he really missed the opportunity in this film to use it. I snapped him in this position and it was just for a split second. Had he stood there longer (and if it was the first thing we saw) in the way of what he wants to present as the feature, it would have been awesome. This is that special house that everyone has seen from the movie, and he could have used that BLOCK as a way to unveil it. He could have stood there for a short enough time to make it intriguing, mysterious, and then movie to the right and there it is! Unveiled.

Another technique done very quickly in this short segment is a very quick pan in/out in a bit of a blur. This adds an element of intrigue, and possibly even fear knowing the history of this house.

As far as narration goes, he states something about the house being on private property (people live there?) and goes on to say that “the owners are not so nice”. I don’t think that’s really appropriate to say that. Maybe he went to the door to ask if he could film? If so, and they “weren’t nice” why not just say that he wasn’t allowed, something less judgemental.


Spotlighting tells a bedtime story


Madonna – Bedtime Story (4:59)

This snapshot of the video shows a great moment where Madonna walked down off the stage and touched the audience up close, the spotlight was following her. Notice this look of the round circle of light. It’s an effect that presents a unique scene amidst the other frames of video capture, which for a moment highlights a different part of “the story” and presents it as if a father is walking his child by the hand closer to a pool of water to see the pollywogs up close. In this short segment the use of video editing, and another camera angle helps with the story. If we were only using just one camera, without video editing, and just panned back, turned the one camera to the left, and zoomed in, there wouldn’t be this kind of story being told to the finished video viewing audience. See for yourself how this technique plays out below.

Another technique for effect is the use of wind. Notice how in this performance we see her flowing long blond hair being blown so unnaturally in the wind. Stage performances never really are windy areas and wind outdoors doesn’t naturally flow UP like it is in this scene. It creates another element of mystery, trance, and mood.