The denouement is the final scene (or scenes) in your screenplay. It comes after the climax is over and everything has been resolved. It’s the ‘come-
The denouement is where everyone lives happily ever after (or not).
Sometimes the denouement is called the coda or the epilogue (or the ending). They all mean roughly the same thing in the world of film. It’s what happens after your story is told. When all the plot-
If you just cut to credits the second after the climax, your audience is going to be disoriented. They’re
When it all comes down to it, the first act is about the original status quo. The first turning point is the protagonist’s choice to try and change that status quo. He actually accomplishes that, and changes the status quo forever at the climax. And, the denouement is where everyone gets to take a breath and the protagonist gets to contemplate the new status quo, the new-
going to be left wanting more. You need to give them a minute to digest what they just saw. To think about it for a few minutes.
The audience also wants to know what happens to the characters after the story is over. That is why so many movies end with freeze-
In The Terminator (1984), the denouement has a boy taking a photograph of Sarah Connor. She purchases the photograph -
The denouement ties everything all together.
In the sequel, Terminator 2 (T2), the denouement has Sarah looking to the future, with hope this time.
‘If a machine... Can learn the value of human life, maybe we can too!’
Shawshank Redemption (1994) has, what appears to be, just about the longest denouement one could ever imagine. Although, that movie is a special case. The denouement isn’t really the denouement. It’s actually the third act. The structure seems all screwy -
It’s called Shawshank Redemption. Tim Robbins character wasn’t redeemed -
The real denouement is on the beach at the very end. Not the half-
Raiders of the Lost Ark has one of the more-
In Saw, the big twist-
The denouement can be, pretty much, any length you want. Although, you’ll want to err on the shorter-
So, anything up to 5 pages or so would work. Too much longer than that, and you’ll be boring your audience. They just want a quick scene or two that wraps everything up neatly and shows them a bit of what the new status quo is like. If you have a big ensemble cast, sure, you might want to go quite a bit over five pages. But, as a rule of thumb, it should be good.
After you’ve written your denouement, your script should be finished. So, you’ll be tempted to do stupid things like put artwork on the back page or have your script bound, etc…
Hollywood hates all that bullshit. They want a plain old script. No bells and whistles (other than a couple brads and maybe a sheet of hard-
I once worked with a guy who was writing his own movie -