“WHICH WAY DOES IT GO?!” “No! Not a cliffhanger!!” “Phil! How dare you not tell us which way his line goes!!”
Our newest short film “Crossing Point” has been out for a couple weeks now and it’s quite clear that a lot of people are caught up on the ending. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, take a watch up there before reading more. This definitely isn’t the first time that we’ve left and ending open. I feel like generally we like to do this because we want to encourage our viewers to think for themselves and interpret the story from their perspective because that ultimately makes the short more personal. “Crossing Point” is no different.
The story between Janice and Sean is pretty universal and I believe that people watching brought in their own experiences to the story. And while not everyone drew a graph with their partner plotting their emotional investment, I’m sure every couple had a different ending based on different situations. I didn’t feel like telling the viewer one way or the other.
For me, the most important and meaningful part of this short was not how it ended up, but simply to show that this happens, and perhaps if it can be identified in such a tangible/quantifiable way (what’s more quantifiable than math?) then couples out there would be able to see it in their own relationships and possibly avoid the “crossing point”, or at least talk about it openly.
Usually when I approach a new idea or script, there’s one particular element that keeps me motivated to push through writer’s block or obstacles. It could be a character that I see so clearly and want to bring to life, a story that I feel must be heard, or a shot that that I just really want to create/see to fruition. Most often it’s an overall message I want to convey and end on that keeps me going. But since this short didn’t really have a conclusive moment, the thing I held onto was actually one particular line. This line was essentially my motivation to make the entire short. I really just wanted to create that scene/moment for this line to exist because I liked it so much. This line happens at 5:42.
“And one day, you made me believe too.”
As I struggled through the script, as I doubted if this was a good idea or not, I kept focused on this line, keeping it at the center and building around it. I used it as a foundation because I saw/heard that moment so clearly, when they kissed, cutting straight to her line turning upward. That feeling of being so cautious about giving your heart away, being so guarded, and having that weight suddenly lifted because he/she made you believe that this time would be different, this time they’d be different. Giving away your trust, or gaining someone else’s, is so simple yet incredibly monumental if you think about it, especially if they’ve been hurt before. That feeling, that moment, those words… that’s really all I wanted to shoot. I just had to create a story around it to give it actual meaning.
So if you’re asking me which way he drew the line at the end… honestly, I don’t even know, and I don’t think it matters. The point of the short was to propose a situation and a question for couples to ask themselves. Giving an ending only gives a temporary satisfaction anyway. If it goes down, then you can be happy Janice spoke out and ended a relationship that wasn’t going anywhere. If it goes up, then you can be happy he’s going to make a change. If it goes down, perhaps this is just one period of a longer curve we can’t fully see and they actually return to each other. If it goes up, perhaps it’s just a half-assed fix to a problem they can’t solve. You see? There are an infinite number of points and curves on this graph of their life which we will never know, only they will, and I’m ok not knowing… because that’s life right? And we can’t do a damn thing about it. We can only hope for the best, no matter which way it went at that moment.
Watch the “Behind the Scenes” to see that Dia and Travis at least end up happy as real people! haha