June 30, 2018
While a deus ex machina may save your character’s life, it’ll often kill your script.
There is no right or wrong way to write a screenplay—but there are some seriously lazy tropes that you may be unintentionally employing in your narrative. One of these is a plot device called deus ex machina. Even if you’ve never heard the term before, you’ve definitely seen it a thousand times and unless the move is self-aware and/or for laughs, it pretty much never leaves the audience satisfied.
In this video essay, Fandor’s Jacob T. Swinney dives into the concept of deus ex machina, what it is and how it different filmmakers have used it (sometimes successfully but mostly unsuccessfully) in their films. Check it out below: