The Ending Should Oppose the Beginning

In episode 44 of Scriptnotes (transcript), John August and Craig Mazin talked about how the ending of a movie should relate to the beginning. One thing Mazin said made this clear:

… if you’re writing and you don’t know how the movie ends, you’re writing the wrong beginning. Because to me, the whole point of the beginning is to be somehow poetically opposite the end. That’s the point. If you don’t know what you’re opposing here, I’m not really sure how you know what you’re supposed to be writing at all.

In my post about The James Bond Opening to a software demo, I recommended starting with something exciting about how another customer is getting value. This should be short and sweet and gets the prospect to lean forward.

But next, talk about the problems the prospect is having right now, which you learned about in discovery. Remind them of this as you start their story—the one you are about to tell, which will take them from their life now to a new life after they buy your software. By the end of the demo they should be convinced to take the next step.

If you want to learn how to tell stories like this, I recommend learning how screenwriters do it. Scriptnotes is a great place to do that. They know how to tell a story where a protagonist makes a decision that inevitably leads them to a changed life. This is like the story you want your prospect to feel they are in.