Format Question - the mind's eye



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  • Format Question - the mind's eye


    I would like some input as to the best way to format a scene.

    I have my military officer in a NORAD like setting, watching nuclear war break out. He's stoic, solid, a rock of stability and duty to his troops.

    In his quarters is a photo of his young family. In an earlier scene we saw him gently run his fingers down his wife's face. He knows the world's in danger and inside he is deeply worried about his family.

    When war breaks out, he stands firm in the wake of vast destruction.

    He witnesses his home destroyed. Still firm. Only a flicker of an eyelid. In his mind, though, we see the photo in his quarters. It is incinerated in a blast of flame.

    On the outside, he is unmoved.

    Should I just change scenes with something like,

    Through character's mind's eye we see...


    The family photo on the desk. Smiling faces. The caption, "Missing you Daddy!!"

    A BLAST of flame. The photo, the smiles, the caption...Ash.


    Character monitors the destruction of his world.


    This wording is just to give an idea of what I'm working with.

    Any suggestions?



  • #2
    It looks fine, Outback. I would just cut "Through character's mind's eye we see..." You don't need to say that.


    • #3
      If you want to make it clear it's happening in his head you can just sayy:

      The photo bursts into flame, etc.

      Bob monitors the destruction...

      Tho I kind of like GIG's suggestion. It's more filmic, in that it takes us as viewers back to his house and lets us see what's really happening at that moment, rather than taking us into his head. Sets up a tension that I think is more poignant.


      • #4
        maybe try an INSERT SHOT.


        COMMANDER stands before an enormous blinking screen showing an enormous volley of nuclear weapons in flight. The destruction to come will be devastating.

        INSERT SHOT commander looks at pictures of a family in his wallet. Then with a deep defeated breath he looks back up to the screen to the missles.

        INSERT SHOTS work good also for a set up to a FLASHBACK OR MONTAGE.

        Roxanne Battle


        • #5
          The mind's eye

          We can't see into anybody's mind on film.

          - Bill


          • #6

            Thanks for all the input. I'll also be searching Drew's for a script with similiar scenes of imagination.



            • #7
              Re: thanks

              There's a scene in Ravenous that does what I think you're after. I haven't looked for the script yet, though...


              • #8
                Re: The mind's eye

                Brazen me, to take on the master.

                "We can't see into anybody's mind on film."

                I believe there are ways. You might not like them, they might not always work, but there are ways.

                Character fantasy scenes, V.O., Dialogue - Hamlet's "To be or not to be." Then there are the glimpses the actors give us with the subtext.

                Or we could even miniaturize scientists and send them cruising through the character's brain, revealing all sorts of things.



                • #9
                  Re: The mind's eye

                  Don't forget to send Raquel Welch along.


                  • #10
                    My god, Lil...

                    You made a Fantastic Voyage analogy? in this context? That is brilliant, unexpected, and utterly apt.

                    Please keep writing no matter what comes in the mail...?


                    • #11
                      Re:minds eye

                      The fact that people believe you can not see into the mind of a character is reason enough to prove it can be done. Although the idea of being a martyre is not very attractive.

                      Bill, example: most werewolf films clearly take us inside the mind of the character.



                      • #12
                        Fantastic Voyage

                        Is the only one that actually takes is into a mind.. others are methods of eexploring what is inside a charcter's mind through VISUAL or VERBAL methods (outside the mind). We can't know what a character is THINKING unless you find a way to SHOW it.

                        Though... there's a movie coming out called THE CELL that "takes us into the mind of a serial killer... literally". The last half of the film is similar to FANTASTIC VOYAGE except instead of putting a scientist into the brain, they put Jennifer Lopez into the MIND of a character. It's like a dream sequence (remember DREAMSCAPE?) with Lopez entering Vince D'Onofrio's dream.

                        But what we have is a VISUAL sequence. Everything that V'O is thinking has to be visually represented. It has to be something you can stick on film.

                        One of the big problems with newbie scripts is that large chunks of information are told through what character's THINK... and we can't get inside their minds on film. We can HEAR them talk about what they are thinking, we can SEE a fantasy sequence or dream sequence; but we can't see anything inside their brains (unless it's that little submarine). (Ever notice the expression on the actor's faces when they are pulling the leech-cells of RW's wetsuit? Arthur Kennedy makes sure the breast area is spotless!)

                        - Bill


                        • #13

                          Bill, How about "Sleeper"?



                          • #14
                            Re: Fantastic Voyage

                            Bill, gotta disagree. BEING JOHN MALKOVICH!


                            • #15
                              Sniffing Panties

                              Same deal as THE CELL or DREAMSCAPE.

                              If you write:

                              John Malkovich thinks about sniffing panties.

                              That won't work on film at all.

                              If you write:

                              INT. JOHN MALKOVICH'S MIND - NIGHT

                              He thinks about sniffing panties.

                              That also doesn't work. We can't see inside his mind. That's not an image we can stick on film.

                              If you write:

                              INT. JOHN MALKOVICH'S MIND - NIGHT

                              He sniffs panties.

                              That still doesn't work. Malkovich's mind is not a location wee can show on film (we can show his BRAIN, but that's something different).

                              But if you write a scene where John Cusack goes through the portal in his office and ends up in...

                              INT. JOHN MALKOVICH'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

                              John Malkovich sniffs panties.

                              You can stick that to film. We can't see inside his mind, we can only see real stuff: his bedroom, Malkovich, the panties. We don't know what Malkovich is thinking while he sniffs them. Even if he smiles, he may feel revulsion. We don't know what's going on inside his mind... we only know what we can see or hear. Even INSIDE Malkovich's mind, we can't know what he's thinking! We can't see anything through "his mind's eye" we can only see through the camera's eye. What does the camera see?

                              The camera sees Malkovich in his bedroom sniffing panties (sounds like thee NC-17 version of CLUE!)

                              - Bill