Best Option For Unnamed POV

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  • Best Option For Unnamed POV

    My script opens with a POV sequence and I am not sure how to title our voice when we eventually speak.

    Under normal circumstances I would introduce my character to the reader and use his name above his dialogue but my entire plot hinges on subterfuge on my part and so names are out of the question.

    I happily refer to 'we' and 'us' as the action takes places (take your screenwriting myths and shove 'em) but I find 'US' or 'OUR VOICE' incongruent. The best I can come up with is 'A MAN'S VOICE' and then, after the dialogue, point out that it's our voice.

    Suggestions?

  • #2
    Re: Best Option For Unnamed POV

    Maybe MYSTERY MAN.

    EXT. ALLEY - NIGHT
    A MYSTERY MAN's shadow on the wall. As the shadow turns it's head to the left the camera pans. We're the Mystery man. Down the alley we see...

    A little clunky on my part, but something like this might work for you.
    Just my 2 cents, your mileage may vary.

    -Steve Trautmann
    3rd & Fairfax: The WGAW Podcast

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    • #3
      Re: Best Option For Unnamed POV

      Originally posted by SundownInRetreat View Post
      My script opens with a POV sequence and I am not sure how to title our voice when we eventually speak.

      Suggestions?
      FEMALE VOICE, or
      FEMALE VOICE 1, or
      FEMALE VOICE 2.

      MALE VOICE, or
      MALE VOICE 1, or
      MALE VOICE 2.
      Last edited by TigerFang; 01-04-2018, 04:27 AM.
      "Go to the edge of the cliff and jump off. Build your wings on the way down.- - Ray Bradbury

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      • #4
        Re: Best Option For Unnamed POV

        NARRATOR
        The moment the hot blonde walked
        into my office, I knew I was in trouble.

        HOT BLONDE
        What?

        NARRATOR
        I realized I was talking out loud.
        Nobody knows nothing, and I'm nobody.

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        • #5
          Re: Best Option For Unnamed POV

          Originally posted by SundownInRetreat View Post
          ...entire plot hinges on subterfuge...
          Is it that the audience (even the reader) is not supposed to recognize that the initial narration is from the character in the later reveal, but that the character is named and on-screen well before that?

          That may be tricky, for those who can pick up such things through mannerisms (the script) or the actual voice (the film).

          Why not artfully use some sort of ordinary narrator reading something, or SUPERing a newspaper headline or something, or (since this sounds noirish) a typewriter tapping out a message across the screen?

          The previous DDPro'er suggestions are fine. Or find the script on-line for your favorite movie that uses such a device and see how it was done there.

          The key is to be CLEAR to the reader and to the audience of the resulting film. It depends on whether you really want to tease them so that you expect (some of) them to figure things out part way through, or only after the "big reveal" later on, and to be able to go back and say "Well, I should'a figured that one out".

          You certainly don't want them to say, even after re-read or re-view, "Hey, no way!"

          Unless I'm taking your "subterfuge" attempt a bit too seriously.

          What's the damage of simply identifying the character at the beginning? Or is this a situation where its OVER BLACK and you are worrying about using a character name in the dialogue without our seeing the character first? You could still just use the name, if you are able to visualize and describe the character right afterwards.

          As I say, just be clear.

          Oh, me? Here are two similar situations that may suggestion something to you. Firstly:

          A mature, female narrator begins our story:
          NARRATOR (V.O.)
          On March twenty-sixth, a seven
          point zero magnitude earthquake... etc.

          And then, later, after we've met an important WOMAN character, but before I ID'd her, I had some description:

          [This woman sounds just like the female narrator at the
          beginning of the story, and will now be known as MADISON]

          Secondly, for newbies, here's what might be done where we SEE a character, but don't name them because they are on-screen briefly and there was no real reason to get all character-descriptiony at that time because his appearance is so brief:

          In an early-on TV interview by a "REPORTER of a moustachioed GUEST, 60, some sort of expert whom we will meet again soon."

          Then, 10 pages later, in description that preceded his "live" appearance "Moustachioed PROCTOR, 60, was the guest on the earlier T.V.
          report"

          However, keep in mind that subterfuge wasn't an issue for either of these examples.

          PS. In my first example, the woman "narrator" disappears about the 3/4 mark of the story, but also has the key final narration at the conclusion of the film. So, she's almost my "host" for the story.
          Last edited by catcon; 01-04-2018, 04:53 AM. Reason: Added the "PS"

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          • #6
            Re: Best Option For Unnamed POV

            Originally posted by catcon View Post
            Is it that the audience (even the reader) is not supposed to recognize that the initial narration is from the character in the later reveal? What's the damage of simply identifying the character at the beginning?
            We are the person in the POV - just like Michael Myers in the opening of Halloween. The trick is that a man wakes up sweating and the film hinges on his recollection of what we saw in the POV but the reveal, late on, is that he isn't the person in the POV after all.

            Hence if my character is called BOB I can't have the dialogue during the voiceover marked as BOB. MYSTERY MAN raises reader's awareness that all is not what it appears and narrator doesn't fit as there isn't a narrator.

            I suppose the best I can do is to write MALE VOICE and then denote it's ours.
            Last edited by SundownInRetreat; 01-05-2018, 02:20 AM.

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            • #7
              Re: Best Option For Unnamed POV

              Yeah I would do that like this:

              POV:

              sitting by her bed, we keep looking at the SLEEPING WOMAN. Finally, we say:

              MALE VOICE
              Wake up, Samantha.

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              • #8
                Re: Best Option For Unnamed POV

                Cheers Goldmund (and everyone else).

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                • #9
                  Re: Best Option For Unnamed POV

                  If you don't want to give the game away I would just use MAN. It raises no suspicions but still retains mystery.

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