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Old 08-11-2018, 04:39 PM   #11
TravisPickle
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Default Re: Voice-Over

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDUZ3CtMRCI

where's Salieri in that one?



I think we're getting a little tangled up in the logic of it all, which ironically is exactly the reason why I posted in the first place.

But having a "non-character narrate"... ?? not even sure what that means

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Originally Posted by jonpiper View Post
The scene itself makes sense, but how could Salieri narrate it if he wasn't there to see and hear what happened between Mozart and his wife?


Are you sure Salieri narrated that scene? I didn't hear any V.O. and I didn't see Salieri in that scene.

In your own screenplay, your antagonist could narrate, and in addition you could have a non-character provide narration for the scenes your antagonist isn't aware of. Hope that makes sense.
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Old 08-11-2018, 06:39 PM   #12
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Default Re: Voice-Over

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Originally Posted by TravisPickle View Post
Fang-

You are absolutely correct re: AMADEUS! What a great recommendation. It is probably the closest to my take.

As a rule, are you "allowed" to show events via voice-over that DON'T feature the character in the scene itself? Either because the character simply wasn't around in that particular period of the story, or because you want to show an interaction between characters that might bite the character in the ass later (i.e. they know something he doesn't)

I'd have to go through every scene in classic VO movies like Goodfellas and Clockwork Orange, but it seems to me that they are all extremely subjective and that they do indeed only feature scenes with the protagonist, both physically and "aurally".

Then again, I seem to recall that Amadeus has tons of scenes with Salieri's narration in which he clearly wasn't around, e.g. young Mozart's life, or any of the scenes with Amadeus and Constanze...
Remember that the V.O. is a tool, a device, and obvious story logic will be overlooked for the sake of a good tale well told as long as the story's flow is seamless. Many time-travel stories where the protagonist meets himself/herself fall under this spell. Twelve Monkeys comes to mind.

In the case of Amadeus, however, if you recall the opening scene, Salieri is an old man who remains bitter, likely near death and still playing second fiddle without renown to a dead Mozart whose music lives on to carry Mozart's name into musical posterity. The movie begins with the antagonist Salieri as he jealously reflects on the genius of Mozart, which is the story that is the movie we see unfold before our eyes and ears and minds.

One may correctly presume that by the time the story begins, which is long after Mozart's death, the agèd Salieri has uncovered all the details, heard all the gossip, and put together all of his own clues collected from his spies to correctly abstract Mozart's more private moments. Even so, such backstory logic hardly matters until the movie's over and one gets out into the parking lot at the movie theater or in a coffee shop soon afterward for a lengthy discussion with their date.

The V.O. of Salieri comes in to cover ground and render exposition when necessary to move along the story. It also served to remind us, the audience, that as a naturally talented musical genius, Mozart had an unseen enemy in his sphere, the most dangerous kind of antagonist, when all others seemed to absolutely love and adore him. Honestly, did anyone — who, when they saw Amadeus for the first time — ever say to themselves about any scene, “But wait! How could Salieri know this?”

It's highly doubtful. The story was so good and so well acted that the superior position of the audience always kept them busy with “What happens next?” so that there was no bog down about minutiae such as the logic of what Salieri could have known or not known.

So don't worry too much about the use of the V.O. to tell your story. It's a tool, like a flashback, and many an excellent movie has used both to great advantage. Use the V.O. when necessary for your story, especially in your first drafts, because you know you're going to be rewriting until your story sings like coloratura from a soprano in a Mozart opera.

Last edited by TigerFang : 08-18-2018 at 01:06 AM.
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Old 08-11-2018, 08:30 PM   #13
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Default Re: Voice-Over

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Originally Posted by TravisPickle View Post
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDUZ3CtMRCI
But having a "non-character narrate"... ?? not even sure what that means
Really?

What I mean is the voice of someone who is not in the story. Peter Falk tells the story of Princess Bride. He' telling or reading the story to his grandchild.


The narrator in Little Children is the voice of an unknown narrator that pops up throughout the story.


But I'm not telling you not to have your protagonist narrate the story. I'm just advising you to be careful. Your antagonist who is also a narrator shouldn't be a fly on the wall, if you know what I mean. He or she doesn't need to be involved in every scene, either by their presence or by their V.O..
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Old 08-12-2018, 08:56 AM   #14
TravisPickle
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Default Re: Voice-Over

so true!

ultimately you don't want your chosen technique to limit your story (and your storytelling). If anything it should be the opposite.

if I sit down and I tell you a great story which I played a role in, I am almost certainly going to tell you about events I didn't take part in
e.g. "Chris spent 5 years in a Chinese prison and it really changed him".

I think of VO more like that- if you frame it correctly, you can pretty much show anything.

And if you REALLY want to cover your bases for the minority in the audience worrying, you could always make it obvious that the scenes imagined by the narrator were hearsay - literally spelling it out in the narration e.g. "I heard that he spent 5 years in a Chinese prison and it changed him"

But that seems pedantic.


Quote:
Originally Posted by TigerFang View Post
Remember that the V.O. is a tool, a device, and obvious story logic, as long as the story's flow is seamless, will be overlooked for the sake of a good tale well told. Many time-travel stories where the protagonist meets himself/herself fall under this spell. Twelve Monkeys comes to mind.

In the case of Amadeus, however, if you recall the opening scene, Salieri is an old man who remains bitter, likely near death and still playing second fiddle without renown to a dead Mozart whose music lives on to carry Mozart's name into musical posterity. The movie begins with the antagonist Salieri as he jealously reflects on the genius of Mozart, which is the story that is the movie we see unfold before our eyes and ears and minds.

One may correctly presume that by the time the story begins, the agèd Salieri has uncovered all the details, heard all the gossip, and put together all of his own clues collected from his spies to correctly abstract Mozart's more private moments. Even so, such backstory logic hardly matters until the movie's over and one gets out into the parking lot at the movie theater or in a coffee shop soon afterward for a lengthy discussion with their date.

The V.O. of Salieri comes in to cover ground and render exposition when necessary to move along the story. It also served to remind us, the audience, that as a naturally talented musical genius, Mozart had an unseen enemy in his sphere, the most dangerous kind of antagonist, when all others seemed to absolutely love and adore him. Honestly, did anyone — who, when they saw Amadeus for the first time — ever say to themselves about any scene, “But wait! How could Salieri know this?”

It's highly doubtful. The story was so good and so well acted that the superior position of the audience always kept them busy with “What happens next?” so that there was no bog down about minutiae such as the logic of what Salieri could have known or not known.

So don't worry too much about the use of the V.O. to tell your story. It's a tool, like a flashback, and many an excellent movie has used both to great advantage. Use the V.O. when necessary for your story, especially in your first drafts, because you know you're going to be rewriting until your story sings like coloratura from a soprano in a Mozart opera.
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Old 08-12-2018, 09:03 AM   #15
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Default Re: Voice-Over

I definitely want to use Amadeus as a reference and I think the movie 'makes sense' simply because it works. Unless you make a ridiculous choice (i.e. having a dead character narrate the story... oh wait) I don't think being careful pays off and in fact it can paralyze you into becoming overly pedantic and stilted.

My story is from the antagonist's POV, it's a story of jealousy and murder directed at one person, but it also tells the rise and fall of an empire - so having an "outsider" take us through it all strikes me as the perfect way to cover a lot of ground and also underline some of the inherent comedy

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Originally Posted by jonpiper View Post
But I'm not telling you not to have your protagonist narrate the story. I'm just advising you to be careful. Your antagonist who is also a narrator shouldn't be a fly on the wall, if you know what I mean. He or she doesn't need to be involved in every scene, either by their presence or by their V.O..
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Old 08-12-2018, 01:03 PM   #16
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Default Re: Voice-Over

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Originally Posted by TravisPickle View Post
I don't think being careful pays off and in fact it can paralyze you into becoming overly pedantic and stilted.

My story is from the antagonist's POV, it's a story of jealousy and murder directed at one person, but it also tells the rise and fall of an empire - so having an "outsider" take us through it all strikes me as the perfect way to cover a lot of ground and also underline some of the inherent comedy
Go for it. It's your story and you must choose how to tell it. Being careful of the details doesn't mean you can't be creative.
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Old 08-12-2018, 03:58 PM   #17
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Default Re: Voice-Over

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Unless you make a ridiculous choice (i.e. having a dead character narrate the story... oh wait)
American Beauty written by Alan Ball worked well as a story narrated by a dead character.
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Old 08-13-2018, 08:22 AM   #18
TravisPickle
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Default Re: Voice-Over

yes- I was kidding about that being a ridiculous choice.
obviously Sunset Boulevard comes to mind but also Reversal of Fortune (vegetative state counts, right?)

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American Beauty written by Alan Ball worked well as a story narrated by a dead character.
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Old 08-13-2018, 08:34 PM   #19
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Default Re: Voice-Over

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yes- I was kidding about that being a ridiculous choice.
obviously Sunset Boulevard comes to mind but also Reversal of Fortune (vegetative state counts, right?)
Yes, I got the joke. I often wonder how different Reversal of Fortune might have been if the starring role had gone to Klaus Maria Brandauer as screenwriter Nick Kazan had originally envisioned his movie.

As you can see, there exist ‘out there’ many successfully produced movies from which you may borrow and for you to emulate where the antagonist's point of view tells the story. V.O. is but one of the many choices of how to execute your story and it's yours to make. Go for it.

Last edited by TigerFang : 08-18-2018 at 01:09 AM.
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