By now, after going through the process of identifying key components of your story you could have settled on a genre and determined who your main character is, the crisis he is facing, the cuest he must take and the conflict that will follow as well as a clock, or device that will help the audience to anticipate a conclusion. The importance of the clock is that without it the audience wanders through an open-ended narrative and may tire of watching.
Thus we have five of the 6 C’s that will form the backbone of your story. The final item we must consider before moving on is the characters change. The movie, at its core, is nothing more than a process we put our characters through. Someone we can identify with has a problem and through an indirect process is at some point forced to deal with the real issue. The resolution of the story should bring about change, for better or worse. things can never be the same for your character once the process is underway and the climax will be the final pivotal point where your character can no longer ignore the inevitable and their crisis must be confronted.
How you change your character is up to you. You can have an up ending or a down ending, but the strength of your story will determine the importance of the change and in turn the change will affect the overall strength of the film.
If you know where the quote in this post’s title came from, congratulations on being awesome. UHF, may not be a the perfect example to illustrate what I’m saying here, but the point is not finding the perfect movie to support my opinions. My point is that you can find these things in any good movie and even most bad ones. UHF is a terrific comedy from “Weird Al” Yankovic, which I highly recommend.
It’s about a chronic daydreamer who can’t hold a job with a relationship on the rocks. He’s finally given his dream position when his uncle wins a UHF station that no one watches and gives it to him to manage. The station’s technician lives there, doing science experiments while reruns of Mr. Ed and the Beverly Hillbillies broadcast on a loop.
In short, it’s a heap. Though George (Weird Al) can do whatever he wants with the station, it isn’t going to last long and a local network owner plans to raze it. George must reach within himself and use his unique imagination to turn the station around, ultimately fighting for his job against the big network affiliate. By the end, he succeeds in saving the station, keeping his job and finally asks his girlfriend to marry him.
It doesn’t have to be so rosy, sometimes the ending has more… crimson. The confrontation your character faces can be a dangerous one and may result in that character’s death or a transformation that is for the worst. In Double Indemnity, Neff is fatally wounded during the climax. The Dark Knight ends with Batman being an outcast.
The change and the crisis are bookends for the character that anchor the story and give it perspective. The only wrong choices are the ones that seem forced or false, but those can be avoided by retrofitting your design to match your desired outcome. When you think all of this through, you have the power to implement clues at the beginning that will pay off at the end of your story.