The point of view of each scene gives the point of view of the entire story.
Writing is a lot about control. You have to be the one who feeds the viewer details and the plot points and then cashes it all out.
It’s this kind of control that makes me write films and television. You are like God because you can choose what happens when. They deliver the story to the audience and deal with their emotions.
One of the biggest decisions you need to make, not just from scene to scene but for the entire movie or television show, is of your point of view.
Today I want to talk about the point of view and how it affects the way you tell a story. It will also change the way you develop characters and their arcs. We’re going to look at examples of viewpoints in film and television and analyze some tips for you to use while writing.
All right, let’s start.
This is how you control the perspective of your story
There are many different ways to analyze the point of view of your story. When you write and direct, you have to decide how the audience will digest the story. How are you going to feed them the facts? Will it be restrictive? Are you going to ditch it all and let the audience sort it out? Are you going to use a character to tell us little things?
Point of view counts.
In storytelling, the point of view refers to how the filmmaker, Character, or teller says that Story the audience can see on the screen.
This perspective is chosen by the author. It can be omniscient, limited, or specialized, depending on what the author chooses.
Why is the point of view important?
This point of view affects how the movie or show is shot, how characters come and go from scenes, and how much the audience knows compared to the people in the scene.
Think of a mystery film in which we could be ahead of the characters, or one in which we take the clues at the same time as the detective. How about a film with voice over where someone tells us a story? What if that voice over is unreliable and tells us a story that isn’t reflected in what happens?
Also, think about how your favorite films and series are made. Sometimes the point of view can refer to the way a scene is shot, like when we are in a slasher from the killer’s perspective. Maybe we can see someone hiding in the closet, but the killer in the room can’t.
Or maybe in the comedy we can see what body fluid is hanging on someone’s ear, but the character can’t.
The way you write and stage these scenes must take the audience on a journey and match how they come together as a whole.
Examples of viewpoints in film and television
I think the best way to understand the point of view in film and television is to look at a few examples.
First, let’s talk about a character’s point of view. in the The Shawshank Redemption, we hear the story of Andy Dusfrane that his fellow inmate Red told us. There’s a great article out there that analyzes this point of view in terms of main characters and protagonists, but rest assured that the whole movie is told from Red’s point of view. This means that Red has no idea when Andy is planning his escape. That’s why the reveal is so fun. The audience only knows what Red knows as we go.
But all voice overs do not have reliable speakers.
in the The usual suspects‘Verbal Kint is our narrator who tells us a story that in the end is not true. We have his point of view on the story, but it is actually incorrect. Sure, there are scenes outside of his POV when the cops try to get a picture of Keyser Soze, but all flashbacks are from his point of view.
A film with an omniscient point of view, but also voice-over, is Small children. We have scenes from each character from the point of view of the movie, and we can hear their inner thoughts from a disembodied voice talking about them.
Of course, most films have views that change depending on the character in which scene.
Think of a movie like that The birds. In this scene we get the main character’s point of view without knowing that if we expand the scene there will be a lot of birds behind her. Writing this scene would be important because you want to write in the description that she has no idea that you are ending up behind her.
You can also use the point of view to challenge the audience.
At the opening of Touch of evil, the audience is ahead of the characters. We know there’s a bomb in the trunk of a car, and we see the car drive around everywhere, nervously waiting for the timer to expire.
Viewpoint also plays a role on television, especially when writing subplots and B-stories.
Think big breaking Bad Season 2 cold starts with things falling from the sky. Those are the limited point-of-view moments that add up to pay off the story of a grieving father who Walter White never meets, but one who was struck by him for overdosing on his daughter, and this one Type therefore caused several aircraft to collide in mid-air.
Finally, let’s talk about the most recent hit Mare from Easttown. This is a detective show where we’re privy to the clues Mare finds while searching around town, but since the show’s point of view spans multiple characters and storylines, we also have clues and ideas she didn’t stumble upon is.
As you can see, as a scriptwriter and director, your point of view is crucial in planning the scene and telling the actors what their characters are doing or not knowing.
Summary point of view
The point of view not only determines what characters can see and feel, but also how the audience reacts to certain moments and rewards. Telling a story from a certain perspective can transform the narrative and only give us information when a character picks it up.
The point of view is one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal. As a writer or director, it determines the exact way you want the audience to take in the details of the story, and can also change the angles from which you want to shoot and how you want to edit later.
What are your insights when it comes to the point of view?
Let us know in the comments.