The twist in M. Night Shyamalan’s overnight success


It’s midnight and I’m rewatching The Sixth Sense. Probably not the best life decision, but whatevs. I’d actually been thinking about this movie the other day. The clever storytelling. The phenomenal performances. The simple, sharp writing.

Cole: Everyone got upset. They had a meeting. Mom started crying. I don’t draw like that anymore.

Malcolm: How do you draw now?

Cole: I draw… people smiling, dogs running, rainbows. They don’t have meetings about rainbows.

As usual, I did some quick googling and wiki-ing, to learn more about how this movie came to be. I knew it was writer/director M. Night Shyamalan’s breakout hit — but what I did not know is that he had been making films for years before. Years and years and years, in fact. Ever since he was a kid. And all during school. Throughout college, and onward. He was always writing and directing. Always practicing. Always improving.

I thought The Sixth Sense was his first. I thought he was an overnight success.

Instead, he’s a perfect reminder that “overnight success” typically comes after tons of hard work. Which is just as special — just as remarkable of a story — if not more so.

Like this:



A few things I’ve written recently


How a story starts


  1. One of the best things about the movie is that the twist doesn’t really matter. I knew it going in (I’d pieced it together from reading a few reviews — each one of which hinted at it from a different direction ), but the movie still worked very well. That takes skill and confidence, to know the audience’s reactions that well.

    • Oh, I totally agree! I had only watched it the one time (not knowing) so this rewatch was super interesting, to have the key info and get to view everything through a different, equally satisfying lens.

  2. I didn’t know it wasn’t his first either! Makes sense–overnight successes are rare. Even when they are firsts…they come with years and years of hard work leading up to them.

  3. Yes. I think there are probably very few “overnight successes.” Artists work hard before fame is achieved.

    Interestingly, my 14-year-old watched this movie for the first time and she guessed what was going on within the first 15 minutes.

    • What a smartie! Well one of the things I love about The Sixth Sense is that it’s a great story even if you already know the twist.

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