Monday, 24 September 2007

To POV or not to POV?

There's recently been a question posed on Dom Carver's blog-site, regarding the use of a cinematic direction in a Slug-line. He seems to be keen to use it, and I say it's his script and he should do what he wants. The vast majority of those that have commented on this though, advise that this should not be done - the main reason being that a 'reader' is likely to discard the script for the impertinence of suggesting what the Director should be doing.

As I commented on his site, when I write I visualise my action, characters, settings etc and as a result think in a 'cinematic' fashion. I'm sure that I'm not alone in this, but how we as (aspiring) script writers can manipulate the script to accommodate what we want to get across in tone and pace etc, and satisfy a 'reader' that we aren't telling a Director wat they should be doing is, I'm finding out, not at all easy. Established writers seem not to have to worry about this too much, or at all.

I posted a question on the Shooting People Scriptwriters bulletin regarding the use of POV. The example I gave was that I have a scientist trying to activate an (evil) item, and in the course of doing so has a series of flashback montages showing some of the Items creation and use. The final element of the montage is one of the Supernatural bad guys effectively 'looking' at the scientist before something really nasty happens to him. I said that I didn't want to use POV and asked those that read the bulletin if they had any suggestions how I could otherwise get around this.

The responses I had differed greatly. Some were from Directors that said " put it in, tell me what you're intending to happen", others were from 'readers' that said "DON'T put it in!" and a host of other responses between the two extremes. Lucy said to use it only if the script needed it, and gave an example of how it may be done. Out of all the responses, this was the most helpful, although it still didn't really help me a great deal. That's not to say that I'm ungrateful for any response or opinions I got from posing the question; I just think that I may not have worded the question quite how I meant.

In my short time writing I've been advised that simply because writers know what they mean in their head, when it comes to writing it does not necessarily mean that our intent is conveyed suitably for those reading to understand as we do. Interpretation is crazy and whacky thing.

Over the last few days whilst I was in That London (going to a property show) I spent a lot of time on trains and tube, and just thought. And in that meandering way that our brains seem to work out the most complex things when you least concentrate on them, I knew how to get around the use of POV or not: in the last montage the scientist finds 'himself' in the prescence of the bad guy (an impossible event) and the bad guy laughs at him before the scientist 'returns' to the real world and suffers the nasty. I can get across the fact that the bad guy has seen the scientist and caused the nasty to happen without using a 'cinematic slug-line'.

Perhaps not an earth-shattering revelation, but it was a moment of eureka, and I was happy that I was able to resolve my problem myself.

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