by Kirby Ferguson

This is a transcript for the video “THE END: In Praise of Credits.” Click above to watch the video.

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Endings are special. Endings are those final, fleeting moments before a chapter of our lives closes forever. They’re a small window where we acknowledge that a time has passed and will never return.

In stories, it’s often endings that are the most unforgettable. Endings can be heartbreaking. They can be horrifying. They can be hilarious. They can be chilling. They can be triumphant. They can be melancholy. They can be cathartic. They can create a flash of insight. Or offer a moment of solace.

Endings are a goodbye. They’re a goodbye to the short emotional experience of a story. And occasionally, they’re much more. They can be a goodbye to who we were.

This happens most often when a series you’ve watched for years ends. We say goodbye to not just a show and its characters and its creators, but to an era of our lives as well.

And after these stories end, the screen goes black, the music rises, and the credits roll. And we are left alone. Even when we’re with others, the closing credits are a private moment where we can contemplate and absorb an experience.

Closing credits can be a brief meditation, where you can ponder a mystery, where you can mourn, where you can stare into the existential void, where you can just appreciate how a story has enriched your understanding of life. Closing credits allow us to reflect. You can grow a little bit in these moments while the credits scroll past and the music plays.

These moments don't happen often. Plenty of the time, once the credits roll, you just wanna watch something else. But Netflix in particular seems over-eager for you to queue up the next thing. The closing credits are often reduced to a tiny picture-in-picture while a full screen promo runs. Other times, the next episode of a show will autoplay in five seconds.

Again, very often, this is fine. You do just want the next episode of Making a Murderer.

But in those rare and special moments when it’s not fine, it feels crass and invasive when somebody's software won't just leave you alone. In our increasingly fast and noisy culture, closing credits offer a brief respite.

There's one ending in our lives for which there is no autoplay next. This is the final fade to black. And we all go back to where we came from.

This happens to us all once. But only once.

The rest of the time endings are something more. Ending are also beginnings. They’re beginnings that are imbued with new wisdom and new empathy. We start new chapters of our lives where we might be kinder, be braver, be better. Where we take time to appreciate being here, on the very best world of all for one more day.

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New Video: THE END: In Praise of Credits

by Kirby Ferguson

Hey everybody, I’ve got a new video! It’s called “THE END": In Praise of Credits” and it’s a celebration of endings and closing credits, and a criticism of autoplay next. I hope you enjoy it!

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“Cuckoo!” by Mostly Britten
“Breathe Me” by Sia
“An Ending, A Beginning” by Dustin O’Halloran
“Where We’re Going” by Hans Zimmer
“Any Day Now” by Chuck Jackson


E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
Life of Brian
You Can Count On Me
Ex Machina
Lost in Translation
The Shape of Water
The Usual Suspects
The Graduate
Withnail and I
Mad Men
Six Feet Under
The Wire
Breaking Bad
The Sopranos
Being John Malkovich
The Big Lebowski
Twin Peaks: The Return
The Walking Dead
Synecdoche New York
The Shape of Water
Tokyo Story
Game Night
Making a Murderer
Citizen Kane
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Frances Ha
Inherent Vice
The New World

New Video: Palette Power

by Kirby Ferguson

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The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne

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A palette is a selection of colors from which an artist paints. But palettes don’t just apply to visual art. They apply to just about any kind of creative work.

For instance, the selection of instruments in a song is a palette. Two guitars, a bass, drums and a vocalist is a classic rock palette. If you start plucking a harp half-way through a rock song, it’s probably gonna sound out of place.

Another example, a film’s genre is a palette. When people go see a thriller, they expect certain conventions, like a moment where the hero is at the mercy of the villain. This is an obligatory element of the genre. You can—and should—bend and twist and subvert these rules, but you can’t simply ignore them. If you do, much of the audience will be frustrated with your film and they won’t know why. It’s because you didn’t stick to the palette or at least acknowledge it. For more on this, read Shawn Coyne’s The Story Grid.

Palettes are recurring styles and elements within your work. They simplify your aesthetic and make it feel more unified and cohesive. They can also help organize and structure your work.

Palettes aren’t just for visuals artists. Whatever it is you’re working on, see if you can incorporate the power of palettes.