Narration in a scene. Do you still need to describe what is narrated?

Collapse

Announcement

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

  • Narration in a scene. Do you still need to describe what is narrated?

    Working on a new sitcom, where the main character also narrates.

    Obviously its been done, but I can't think of any scripts to look up, and while searching I couldn't come up with the right way to phrase my question easily so I was unable to get an answer, so... Hi.

    If my character is narrating, and describing a scene in his narration, do I still need to write that out in the script?

    Ex.

    ROB (v.O.)
    Imagine yourself in a colorful room, everything is
    bright, the red carpet specifically stands out to you. It's
    a hotel.

    We look around the room, then see the bright red carpet.


    Kinda seems repetitive to me. Any suggestions or links to examples I can devour?

    Thank you in advanced.
    "We're going to be rich!" - 1/2 hr COMEDY written/directed/edited by me, I also act in it.
    SUBTITLED
    Episode 1 (Beef pills)
    Episode 2 (African commercial)
    Episode 3 (Brenda's rescue)

  • #2
    Re: Narration in a scene. Do you still need to describe what is narrated?

    Yes, you do need to express the narration as dialogue.

    But you're right, if the narration is only stating visually obvious information that's not very useful narration.


    Off the top, look up Goldbergs, or Sex And The City scripts.
    - - - - - - -
    Script consulting still going strong.

    Details and updates here, as always: http://messageboard.donedealpro.com/...ead.php?t=9901

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Narration in a scene. Do you still need to describe what is narrated?

      Originally posted by Mpimentel View Post
      If my character is narrating, and describing a scene in his narration, do I still need to write that out in the script?

      Ex.

      ROB (v.O.)
      Imagine yourself in a colorful room, everything is
      bright, the red carpet specifically stands out to you. It's
      a hotel.

      We look around the room, then see the bright red carpet.


      Kinda seems repetitive to me.
      We need to know what you envision on the screen as the character speaks. If it's just a room, consider something more like:
      The camera follows Rob's narrative.

      or, depending on the tone of your script:
      Yep, it's a hotel room. Cheap, crappy hotel room, but that's how our buddy Rob rolls. Two beds crammed side-by-side, air conditioner that doubles as a jet engine, violently red carpet.

      or is there a more surreal quality to the moment?
      Said hotel room. Fuzzy, dreamlike, faded colors except for the obnoxiously red carpet that stands out in day-glo technicolor in comparison.

      You can obviously rewrite the first to omit the word "camera" if it raises your heart rate because it breaks some imaginary screenwriting rule. I'd opt for short and sweet myself.

      The point is that you have visualized Rob's scene in your mind, and you need to let your readers know what you see on the screen.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Narration in a scene. Do you still need to describe what is narrated?

        Originally posted by ExtHollywoodDay View Post
        Yes, you do need to express the narration as dialogue.

        But you're right, if the narration is only stating visually obvious information that's not very useful narration.


        Off the top, look up Goldbergs, or Sex And The City scripts.

        It's for an intro scene, where the main character poses a riddle... So it starts as if he were talking directly to you... "Imagine this... You're in an empty room..."

        I'll try Goldbergs, as I don't think sex in the city did what I'm talking about from remembering the show.

        Thank you.
        "We're going to be rich!" - 1/2 hr COMEDY written/directed/edited by me, I also act in it.
        SUBTITLED
        Episode 1 (Beef pills)
        Episode 2 (African commercial)
        Episode 3 (Brenda's rescue)

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Narration in a scene. Do you still need to describe what is narrated?

          Didn't Ryan Gosling's character do this breaking the 4th wall in a current film? I'll try to look it up and see if I can find the script. (it's a film but probably same format would work for TV as well).

          EDIT:

          The Big Short

          http://www.paramountguilds.com/pdf/the-big-short.pdf

          Jared Vennett character. He narrates up until page 18 when he enters the scene.
          Last edited by UneducatedFan; 12-16-2016, 09:34 AM. Reason: Found Film.
          You know Jill you remind me of my mother. She was the biggest whore in Alameda and the finest woman that ever lived. Whoever my father was, for an hour or for a month, he must have been a happy man.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Narration in a scene. Do you still need to describe what is narrated?

            Originally posted by Mpimentel View Post
            If my character is narrating, and describing a scene in his narration, do I still need to write that out in the script?
            You need to describe what we see, whether it is what the narration depicts or whether it is something else. Narration/dialogue and action/description are complementary, but one doesn't negate the other just because they are referencing the same thing in this instance.
            "Friends make the worst enemies." Frank Underwood

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Narration in a scene. Do you still need to describe what is narrated?

              Originally posted by ExtHollywoodDay View Post
              Yes, you do need to express the narration as dialogue.

              But you're right, if the narration is only stating visually obvious information that's not very useful narration.
              Even though both normal dialogue and narration are spoken and expressed with dialogue format, they are different kinds of "dialogue."

              Normal dialogue is communication between characters, but narration is communication between a narrator and the audience, and I think your narration can take the place of action/description. You don't need to duplicate with action description what your narrator describes.

              For example:

              EXT. DIRT ROAD - DAY

              Rob lies on the ground near his overturned car.

              ROB (v.O.)
              Imagine yourself in a colorful room, everything is
              bright, the red carpet specifically stands out to you. It's
              a hotel.

              FLASHBACK:

              INT. HOTEL ROOM - NIGHT

              Young Rob approaches the bed where his mother lies, dead.

              She holds an open bottle of liquor. Other bottles are scattered on the carpet.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Narration in a scene. Do you still need to describe what is narrated?

                Originally posted by Mpimentel View Post
                Working on a new sitcom, where the main character also narrates.

                Obviously its been done, but I can't think of any scripts to look up, and while searching I couldn't come up with the right way to phrase my question easily so I was unable to get an answer, so... Hi.

                If my character is narrating, and describing a scene in his narration, do I still need to write that out in the script?

                Ex.

                ROB (v.O.)
                Imagine yourself in a colorful room, everything is
                bright, the red carpet specifically stands out to you. It's
                a hotel.

                We look around the room, then see the bright red carpet.


                Kinda seems repetitive to me. Any suggestions or links to examples I can devour?

                Thank you in advanced.

                I guess the question that immediately comes to my mind is -- if you're seeing something on screen, why do have a character describing exactly what you're seeing?

                Generally, you want narration to "say" things that supplement what we're seeing on screen, either because what's being said is at odds with what we're seeing, or it's what we're seeing but expressed through someone's unique perspective, but otherwise, if it's simply a description -- and then you show what's described -- what the point?

                So you can have a narrator say, "Imagine a room, not just bright and full of colors, but Hollywood bright, and full of colors like places in stories are full of colors..."

                And then you can describe the room, or at any rate, give some brief description that gives a sense of the room -- which may be colorful, or may be drab.

                NMS

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Narration in a scene. Do you still need to describe what is narrated?

                  Originally posted by ExtHollywoodDay View Post
                  Yes, you do need to express the narration as dialogue.

                  But you're right, if the narration is only stating visually obvious information that's not very useful narration.


                  Off the top, look up Goldbergs, or Sex And The City scripts.
                  Good shout with The Goldbergs. Malcolm in the Middle might also be a good oneto look at even though Malcolm addresses the camera directly rather than narrating.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Narration in a scene. Do you still need to describe what is narrated?

                    Reminds me of Rod Serling at the beginning of many Twilight Zone episode:

                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Li0u15qkQhw

                    https://youtu.be/NIsm97HL0EU

                    A couple others:

                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfE5...DBE0603E74AC32

                    https://youtu.be/SXMn158Ep8k?list=PL66DBE0603E74AC32
                    You know Jill you remind me of my mother. She was the biggest whore in Alameda and the finest woman that ever lived. Whoever my father was, for an hour or for a month, he must have been a happy man.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Narration in a scene. Do you still need to describe what is narrated?

                      Here are some Twilight Zone screenplays with narration describing the scene.

                      http://leethomson.myzen.co.uk/The_Twilight_Zone/
                      You know Jill you remind me of my mother. She was the biggest whore in Alameda and the finest woman that ever lived. Whoever my father was, for an hour or for a month, he must have been a happy man.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Narration in a scene. Do you still need to describe what is narrated?

                        VO is an enrichment tool. The Old Saying is that the story should still make sense if you skip all the voice over in the script. Why people are so heavily advised against using it is because 1) The story should still make sense anyway and 2) VO is the wrong hands will be used as an explanatory crutch for the story teller.

                        VO has to be that little splash of something. Either comedy, great realization, or unbelievable color commentary to the story that enhances the experience. Preferably and most probably all three.

                        This is the best possible advice I can give you via my own experience. If you are writing a first draft where the main has a VO role and here you are now, draft 1, your main's big VO intro. What does he say? Is he just explaining what's happening on screen? Does he open with a real poignant POV on life? Some comedic line? The answer is it doesn't matter. There's a good chance you have no idea what you want the character to say yet because you didn't drag this guy through the mud yet. It doesn't matter, the words you want to put here won't start to form until you get through the story a few times. Just write what inspires you at the time.

                        Comment

                        Working...
                        X