POV + Offscreen Dialogue

Discussion in 'Screenwriting' started by outofmargin, Sep 27, 2010.

  1. outofmargin

    outofmargin Bronze Member

    I think I know the answer to this one:

    If there is a scene from the POV of a specific character, and that character speaks, should I put O.S. (off screen) by his name? His hands and arms will go in and out of view. Thanks for any info.
  2. Vig

    Vig Bronze Member

    is he talking over the screen like a voice over or is he in the scene but watching from a specific vantage point? i always consider putting the location of the character in the narrative.

    joe stands at the gas pump watching two boys fight over a full slushy drink while their mother yells at them.

    these are two separate things and i think you need to clarify them so we can better answer the question.

  3. outofmargin

    outofmargin Bronze Member

    Thanks for the reply.

    The scene was described in detail earlier. This scene is at a later time.

    An evil character comes into view, watches the main character. The scene switches to the EVIL CHARACTER'S POV. The Evil Character speaks and the main character makes reactions to his dialogue, and hidden (from audience) actions. I figured O.S. might be unnecessary as the character is obviously off screen from his POV.

    Hope that's clear. Thanks.
  4. Vig

    Vig Bronze Member

    if the evil character comes into view you already have the groundwork for the audience to understand the pov. that's the nuances in the language of screenwriting.

    this is a formatting question and it's handled fairly easily, though you can do it a dozen different ways.

    Narrative: The killers focus funnels into Dominic, dark and pentetrating, as if his glare could simphon his thoughts.

    i knew that someday he would find me . . .
    though i was ready, i wished it wouldn't invade
    my thoughts daily, almost hourly. . . .

    trying to put a car battery in . . .
  5. Igor

    Igor Bronze Member

    This seems like a screenwriting exam question.

    I am a member of the school that takes some liberties with that "(O.S.)" tag. For example, I might use "(on radio)" instead of the plain "(V.O.)", since it's simple and more clear. John August inspired me, though any blame is on me.

    I'd try to find a produced script that has such a situation. Absent that, if it's just a single block of dialogue, I'd do "O.S.". If more than that, I might do "POV" or "O.S./POV". After all, if it's important that this be shot as POV, I'd want to emphasize that along the way. For example, if a character's foreign accent is important, I'll mention it in the character intro in the Action block and include a parenthetical (e.g., "(Russian accent)") at the top of that character's first dialogue.

    Note, this assumes the character is actually taking IN the scene versus a narration/V.O.

    Just one guy's POV.
  6. Writerguy

    Writerguy Bronze Member

    And here's another ...

    If the character doing the speaking can be recorded on the set while the scene is being filmed, his dialogue should be appended with "(OS)," whereas if it can't be recorded on the set or that would be more bother than it's worth, his dialogue would be recorded separately and dubbed into the sound track, and this should be appended with "(VO)."

    Since we'll see the speaking character in part (hands and legs), it seems to be his dialogue would be neither "(OS)" nor "(VO)" and should be written in the standard manner.

    However, that said, I'd be circumspect about writing a POV that includes some part of the character, a might too directorial perhaps?

    I'd agree that it's usually more effective to write.



    than to append such speeches with "(VO)," even though they will be voiced over.
  7. outofmargin

    outofmargin Bronze Member

    I guess I'll take the O.S. off. I don't know if a POV is ever REALLY necessary but in this case it's something I want.

    I want the audience to see the reaction of the Main Character, the fear in his eyes as he's about to be killed, the horror of the knife cutting him. I imagine it without the POV and it seems silly as the Evil Character's true identity is hidden in shadow till the end. It would have to be filmed from different angles and perspectives, never showing the Evil Character's face. Although, a dark shadow with glowing eyes watching over you, sounds... silly.

    Anyway, I made my choice and I have 2 days to finish this script and submit it for competition. As long as it's not a glaring error, I'm cool with it.
  8. Vig

    Vig Bronze Member

    here's some practical advice, read scripts and watch movies.

    this scene minus the hero talking over, is in halloween when micheal watches his sister walking home from school and watches the young kid come out of the school. the station wagon scenes where it creeps just off camera.

    there's an entire segment of the movie that pretty much answers this question. you get to see how john carpenter wrote it.

    that's the thing the more scripts the read you realize that every single entrance, exit, explosion, thought, impulse, intended impulse, mannerism's and how they are worked out on the screen.

    half the movie is done from the pov of a character just off screen.
  9. wks2001

    wks2001 Bronze Member

    again, Writerguy nailed it...
  10. Writerguy

    Writerguy Bronze Member

    You can write the scene and get what you want rather easily without declaring a POV.

    You seem all concerned that we'll see the killer before his work is done but if you specify that we don't see him until he's leaving the scene of the crime, we won't see him. Any half decent director will understand what you're trying to accomplish, appreciate it, and give it to you. We don't see the killer's face until he leaves.

    Did I provide an example of how to do this in another thread? Seems to me I did. Same scene.

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