Controlling The Audience Viewpoint of Your Story
Fun Fact: Did you know that the point of view of each scene adds up to tell us the point of view of the entire story? You probably did, and if you did not know, now you do… you are welcome ?.
A lot of things about writing revolve around control. When you are writing and directing, you need to decide how the audience will comprehend the story, and how the details are fed to them. Will it be restrictive, such that the main details are withheld until the end? Will you throw it all out and let the audience sort it out like a puzzle? Or will you use a character to tell us in bits and pieces?
In storytelling, viewpoint refers to how the filmmaker, character, or narrator tells the story the audience can see portrayed on their screen. This perspective is chosen by the writer, and in some rare cases where the director works hand in hand with the writer, they both get to choose.
As a director or writer, understanding how to control your audience’s viewpoint is very important because it determines how the movie is shot, how characters come and go from the scenes, and how much the audience knows per scene.
For example in the movie October 1, we could see the killings done by the Prince but we had no idea he was responsible for them. Nothing about the Prince being the murderer was given away until the end of the movie. The only thing we the audience saw, was the chaos happening from the villagers’ point of view. The way you write and direct these scenes needs to take the audience on a journey and be consistent with how they come together as a whole.
Finally guys, the point of view dictates not only what characters can see and feel, but how the audience will react to certain moments. As a writer or director, it dictates the exact way the audience should interact with the story details and can also help you know the angles at which you shoot and the way you want to edit later. Ire!