The impact of perspective/POV on story



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  • The impact of perspective/POV on story

    Just a question I'm throwing out, here.

    Do you always write your protag's story through his/her perspective?

    Sylvester Stallone said in an interview once that he wrote the original Rocky movie through Adrianne's perspective. And, if I watch it, I can kinda see that (though, I'm not totally convinced that I can). Originally, I just viewed it as a story and we were watching things happen to Rocky as he experienced them. Thus, I assumed the POV of the story was his.

    Probably because there were no obvious tools used, such as Voice Over.

    So, I was wondering. How do you tell someone else's story through the eyes of another character, without making it obvious (with VO and other such devices)?

    Have you ever done this?

    Can you think of any examples (BESIDES "THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION!") of movies/scripts where the protag's story is told, subtlely, through the POV of someone else, even though there is no voice over or other obvious clues to give this perspective away?

    It's not that the other character is actively TELLING the story, we're just seeing the story unfold through what appears to be their eyes.

    *Like I said, Shawshank doesn't count because VO was used and because people have been b!tching about it enough in other threads already.

  • #2
    Here's one that will chap some people's asses.
    Who's the protag in THE PRINCESS BRIDE, and who's POV is the story being told from?
    I'm not even gonna answer.


    • #3
      When I write, I look at the protag through different eyes, depending on the type of individual he/she is. If they are a truly heroic and unselfish individual, he has to be seen through the eyes of others. A heroic, unselfish individual doesn't see themselves in that light.

      It doesn't require any VOs or anything of that nature, the story will unfold in such a manner that we meet the protag, through his actions.


      • #4
        The Princess Bridge... is it THE KID? UH? IS IT THE KID?


        • #5
          is it a stupid looking robot? huh? is it?


          • #6
            The Shawshank Redemption is told from Red's POV. Of course, I maintain that Red's the prot, too.


            • #7
              Oh, I'm sorry.

              Maybe I wasn't clear enough for the trivially fixated.

              The "protag/antag" debate is another thread. Go b!tch about that somewhere else.

              This is about storytelling POV through a character's perspective other than that of the protag.


              • #8

                I've never seen The Princess Bridge, but I'll take a shot..

                Is it the toll collector?

                Noah1- first of all, I thank you again for setting me straight on pov on my action-adventure.
                Ok...I don't know if this makes sense, but...
                I'm working on another story that is told from the point of view of a person who the protagonist and the viewer during the whole story thinks is dead. In the last scene when the protagonists meets up with this person and realizes the person is not dead is also where the viewer should realize the whole preceding story has been told from the "dead person's" point of view. That the whole thing has been that person's manipulation of sorts. In order to do this, I'm working backwards. (whether I'm succeeding or not is a whole other question). Each scene has to include something that brings the protagonist one step closer to the POV person's ultimate wish but does not overtly include that person.

                So...I think if a character (like Adrian in Rocky) has the upper hand over the protagonists in terms of rooting for an outcome, good or bad with more tools at their disposal, emotional or otherwise than the hero, then that person is just right to tell the heros story. Especially if they are either in love with the hero or want to harm them in some way.
                Rocky's right hook aside, Adrian always had the upper hand.

                My two cents.


                • #9
                  Re: POV

                  J off course,

                  There was a TV movie done a few years ago, perhaps on Lifetime, about a man who took his wife camping then "murders" her by drowning her in a river. He returns to his life, woos his mistress, they marry, his future looks bright then things start going wrong. I don't recall too many more specifics other than the general set-up and the fact that all of this story was told from the POV of the wife who had survived the murder attempt then came back for revenge and ultimately destroyed her husband's life. The narration was that of a story that had already concluded but we, the audience, see the movie unfold in "forward motion."

                  Is that kind of what you were talking about?


                  • #10

                    Any given Sherlock Holmes story is told from "sidekick POV". Actually, ROAD WARRIOR sort of proports to be told by the Feral Kid, not El Mel.

                    When you say "telling the story" or "narrating" but "without VO"???? How could you tell? If there is no narrator (and narration without VO is an interesting concept) then I guess you end up with the same nitwits who are arguing over who the protagonist is arguing about who's POV it is.


                    • #11
                      Rocky's POV is between Rocky and Apollo or rivals POV.

                      Rock starts with him fighting in a dumpy club, where is Adrian?
                      He walks home to south Philly, where is Adrian?
                      He goes to his apartment and talks to the turtle, where is Adrian?
                      When he goes for the famous run, is Adrian running with him?

                      There are many types of POVs question is which one fits your story.
                      POV either restrict or completely free you in how to tell your story.

                      My 2cents

                      P.S. Shawshank is told from Redâ€TMs POV so it is the Narrator's POV in the time of the Greeks the called it the Chorus.


                      • #12
                        As per the original post, we're not speaking about a story with any kind of Voice Over (VO).

                        No narration. No nothing.

                        The question was about whether you can tell if a story is told from the perspective of a character other than the protag, WITHOUT narration or VO, only visually and through action.

                        There was no narration in Rocky. There was no VO. There was a story about a boxer. The story was told through the "eyes" of Adrianne. It was told, visually and through the action of the story, the way SHE saw it.

                        Everytime Rocky had any kind of a character change/arc, Adrianne was there, in the corner, watching the scene and then interacting.

                        However, those scenes (and in the subsequent movies) always involved her watching from the distance (camera also shows her visual perspective in these scenes) and then intervening.

                        The question is, is it really possible to tell a story that way - from the "eyes" perspective of another character - VISUALLY AND THROUGH ACTION without the use of VO or other such devices?

                        And, if so, what are some examples of that that you know of?


                        • #13
                          "The Eyes of Laura Mars?" I think it starred Faye Dunaway.


                          • #14
                            I've done it with fiction and gotten great responses, but I've never thought to try it with a script. Hmmmm. Maybe a writing exercise to suggest? It's intriguing.

                            It's been awhile since I've seen it, but would "A River Runs Through It" have moments like this?


                            • #15
                              The only problem with your question, Noah, is your obvious baiting disdain for V.O.

                              Quit calling V.O. and "obvous tool". You weaken what can be a powerful addition to a script. Look at Duel. Does that reek of "toolness"?

                              The rest of your question is good. I want to say Carrington, because even though it is Carrington's tale, it often seems like Lytton's, told through her eyes.

                              It is interesting though...