voice overs



No announcement yet.
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • voice overs

    Most screenwriting gurus don't recommend voice-overs but I just finished watching Love Actually and In America on DVD and both of them start with voice-overs. What do you all feel about them (voice-overs)?

  • #2
    Oh right... this is the third week of the month so it's time to talk about voice overs again.

    First week of the month - Debate over "We see..."
    Second week - Use of flashbacks
    Third week - Voice overs
    Fourth week - Debate over the 3 Act structure.

    If you can do it well, go ahead and use voice overs. If it's simply a means for you to reveal exposition in a dull manner, don't use it.


    • #3
      The reason new writers are cautioned against voice overs is because they tend to do it exceptionally bad. If the tool (we see, voice overs, flashbacks) manages to give information you wouldn't have had otherwise in an entertaining and compelling way, by all means use it.

      Learn to use the tool - find all movies with voice overs you can find and read their scripts. American Beauty and Casino come automatically to mind. I'm sure if you start a thread over on Films to ask for films with successful voice overs you'd get a ton more titles.


      • #4

        Voice overs have such a bad rep. But when they're used well they can help illuminate an otherwise muddy narrative.

        Just use them in moderation...

        Winter in New York


        • #5
          Geevie's Plato sig line works well as a piece of advice.

          If it is necessary, then use it. Just as a playwright might find it necessary for a character to breakdown the fourth wall and communicate to the audience. Do not, however, use voice over for the sake of using voice over.


          • #6
            I don't think Sunset Blvd would have worked so well without voice-over.


            • #7
              Well, Iâ€TMve just watched 'Goodfellas' and itâ€TMs obvious a justified V/O is a powerful story telling tool.

              Wow that was, erm, obvious...


              • #8
                voice overs

                I don't understand why the "experts" and all their books say you shouldn't use VO.

                VO are used in so many movies! do the people writing these books actually watch any movies...? I can't remember which book, but in a column I read in "script mag", they were talking about you shouldn't have voice over from other than the main character.

                I just finished watching "the last samuri"... VO all over the movie and the big VO at the end of the movie... NOT from the main character.

                I hate to quote jack black in school of rock but...

                those who can do, those who can't teach...


                • #9
                  Okay, when do we get to bitch about brads? How many? Which holes? Can he carry a movie?


                  • #10
                    Can I draw a picture on the cover of my 550 page ring bound script? I used green paper by the way, as it looks nice.


                    • #11
                      I don't understand why the "experts" and all their books say you shouldn't use VO.
                      Mostly because they're either too lazy or don't know how to teach its proper use to new screenwriters. Or, they're just continuing a cycle... somebody told them not to do it so they're telling others not to do it. And the cycle continues when their students go onto message boards and the like and "pass it on."

                      Also, some figure it's just a naturally lazy storytelling technique (same with flashbacks). Like it's run its course, and its time for "new methods of imparting information" or something. I don't know.

                      I use voice overs AND flashbacks. Sometimes even in the same script.


                      • #12
                        I am Pro-V.O. I like Taxi Driver, don't you?


                        • #13
                          Words like 'never' and 'always' have no place in a craft. It seems certain story techniques like VO, and Flashbacks, and POV, make that never list.

                          VO worked great in American Beauty. But cut and paste all the VO onto a separate page and it probably wouldn't even be 3 pages. And read the VO lines, they're witty, they play off what is happening in the story, thus enhancing the story's value.

                          When a guru, in his book, tells you don't use VO, I think what he's really saying is: You won't use the VO technique well, so stay away from it.


                          • #14
                            Which is silly and leads one to wonder why he/she doesn't also say that about dialogue, character development, pacing, structure and everything in between.


                            • #15
                              Bad writers watch a film like Shawshank Redemption or A Christmas Story and convince themselves they can emulate the technique.

                              Only, they don't know their characters well enough.

                              If your voice over advances the plot AND fleshes out characters in an interesting way, go for it. If you're not confident in your abilities to do that, spare your readers.