“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.” – Frank Herbert
As with many filmmakers, the closing shot is my final chance to engage the imagination of the viewer and ask them to carry the story on after the film fades to black. Film is collaborative in expecting the viewer to participate, and I think one of the most important aspects of being a storyteller is compelling another to fire up their own creativity. The frame grabs below are the closing shots from nine of my films, each with a similar tendency to extend the final thought past the credits. None of which (other than the TITANIA Prequel) purposely leaves you hanging because a sequel is coming. They are all true endings. But beyond that, it’s inviting the viewer to let go of the character they just saw on screen and insert their own experiences and biases into the story. At some point in an artistic career you have to become Ok with that – with someone else owning your story. Once it’s on a screen, on a stage, online – you’re giving it to someone else to do with as they please. You can edit and manipulate all you want, but conversation comes round and eventually that audience member will make their own decisions. So, at some point in my career, I went from “thoughtful closing shot” to working that angle. I like to provoke the viewer to actively engage now. Story is an open-ended invitation to the table, yes? And where I choose to stop the story is of little consequence to everyone else’s imagination. But the other, and more beautiful side, of this coin is that there exist in the world perhaps thousands of versions of my characters, their journeys and heartbeats that people have carried with them well out of my sight-line and across the horizon. A movable feast of sorts. And that to me, is the point of it all.
This month my production company, InByTheEye, turns 14 years old! It almost slipped by me – I guess I should plan something fun for next year. And I’m so very grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had, and all the wonderful people I’ve been able to work with. Looking forward to the next 14. Thank you!