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Does a flashback have to be from a character's point of view or no?

I'm rewriting a feature script and tightening it up in my spare time. I want the opening to start out in the middle of the suspense. Kind of like Skyfall for example. In that movie, Bond is right in the middle of a chase sequence, without introduction as to why the chase is happening. It just starts out in pursuit.

I want to do something like that. In my script a cop is in pursuit of men who are in the process of moving a kidnap victim of theirs, but were found out and were intervened.

The readers will not know why the woman was kidnapped though, or what the villain's plan was until later. I am trying to figure out when is the best time, story wise, to show the flashback. Later at the start of the second act, the woman reveals what she knows about herself as to why they might have picked her for their plan.

I don't know if I can show the flashback then. In the flashback the villains discuss their plans and what they are going to do, and have a disagreement. They argue while the woman is kidnapped but she is blindfolded and her ears are covered, so she cannot hear or see them. So is right to put the flashback, since she could not hear what they are saying, and it would not exactly be from her point of view therefore?

The villains are introduced near the end of the second act. I could put the flashback their then. They talk about what went wrong, and then it flashes back to their disagreement, as the hostage is in the same place as them.

But this will leave the audience hanging a long time as to what is going on. I cannot introduce the villains before because since the cops are on to them, they agreed not to talk until a certain date, cause that's when they need to execute their plan B, and have to meet up. If I show a villain before that, he will have to be alone with no other villain's to talk to, about the flashbacks, and I will have to show them happen, just as they are alone.

But I kind of feel the flashbacks work better as characters are discussing what happened with one another, rather them having them while one of them is alone. I wouldn't know who should have the flashbacks either, cause since the villains cannot be allowed to make contact with one another, which villain should have it, since they are all equal in it together that is.

So I can save it for when they finally meet to go over plan B, but the audience will be left hanging as to what the hell happened and why in the opening until then.

Or I could write it so that the flashback is from no particular characters point of view, and just have it be a flashback for the story, and not from them. Or will that not work?

Thanks.
 
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No. Watch Pulp Fiction and Kill BIll to see how the Tarentino uses flashback. Of course, he's the master at it and most of us would look like utter fools if we weren't careful. I suck at using it, but I always end up 'telling' instead of 'showing'.
 
Oh okay. I don't remember Kill Bill as much and will have to watch it again. I didn't really count Pulp Fiction as flashbacks but rather non-linear story telling, if that's the parts of the movie you are referring to.

I could also write it so that the flashbacks happen by the villains while they are together, during the opening pursuit, but this might be hard in the audience since they have to put the pursuit on hold to figure out flashbacks that are happening in between.
 
If it makes sense then it's fine... Does it make sense? That's your call.

But be wary of using a flashback as a means of exposition. Only use them if it helps the story - helps involve the viewer more etc.

I liked how Limitless used a flashback - actually it was a flashforward. At the very start, we find Bradley Cooper's character in what seems like an impossible to win life-or-death situation...

The movie's climax scene is that scene and how it is revolved. We need to watch till the end when the story catches up with that scene... Kept me hooked...
 
No.

If you want it to be from the POV of the character, make it from the POV of the character.

If you don't want it to be from the POV of the character, don't make it from the POV of the character.

Also, I highly recommend you watch Kill Bill. Probably my favorite action film.

End of thread.
 
Okay thanks. How do I write it in the script, so that the readers will know it's not from a character. As soon I write something like, INT. HOUSE -- NIGHT -- FLASHBACK, they will assume a character is having it. My friends them when I asked them to read it over. But they knew something was wrong with the scene when you see what the villains are saying, when the character last scene on screen before the flashback, could not be able to hear it, cause she is tied up, with her ears covered.

So how can I write this flashback to avoid confusion with the reader, since most moviegoers are use to character point of view flashbacks and will think it's one?
 
Your flashback has to be from somebody's perspective, otherwise it'll make no sense. Somebody has to be revealing this memory, that's what makes it a flashback. But it doesn't have to be an individual; you've already got yours as being from the POV of "the kidnappers". If your flashback comes from nobody's perspective, it'd just be confusing.

In your case, I don't think a flashback will work at all. Is it necessary? Will it actually reveal why she was kidnapped? Is there no way to reveal that without the flashback?
 
First question is what do you want to show with a flashback.
It is hard to tell without knowing the synopsis of your story.

Introducing villains in the second act only sounds like a recipe for disaster.
Not sure if you story is somewhat similar but take a look at "Fargo".
I would consider non linear storytelling, as flashbacks are very, very easy to screw up because they are essentially exposition.
 
No. Tarantino's use and that of others hinge on set up of a symbol that is a touchstone to a previous incident(s). Characters focus on an object and zip you're viewing a scene directly related to the object. Often the scene adds details not immediately presented the first time but they are joined by a specific connection. The audience gets to see what happens past the initial presentation. This is the basis for a lot of non-linear cuts.

And Yes, if it's a memory. As Madhatter mentioned, it HAS TO BE from some CHARACTER's POV. What you shouldn't do is have someone talking about some events, we flashback to events the speaker was never present to witness, and then the speaker continues on as if there. Be very careful to explain how the speaker came by the knowledge. This is the "detective reveal" at the end of a mystery. Using it to present facts rather than supposition in the middle of the story comes across as exposition. It can snap your audience out of the story to wonder how this character would know that information.
 
Well basically I want to save the villains till later, to make it a race against time mystery that has to be solved from the detectives perspective, kind of like in Seven. In Seven, if they had introduced the villain early on, it wouldn't have been effective compared to revealing him for later.

I want to show the flashback, cause one of the kidnappers was having a moral conflict with the hostage which comes into play near the third act. He doesn't want to talk about the moral conflict with any of the other characters, cause it's a secret he cannot share without endangering himself so it would be much more understanding to the audience to show the conflict in a flashback to when it happened. This is the main reason for the flashback. It also establishes how the other kidnappers are, in the their crime, rather than not showing who they are in that type of situation.
 
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Do as most TV shows do for flashbacks. Start with near the end woman in peril, Detectives closing in. You don't have to involve the villians. Then flashback to how this came about to the ending point. later when villians are introduce, the one in moral conflict, could put as flashback on something that makes him feel that way. Add from there.
 
Okay thanks. In this case I will only have to flashback for about five minutes of story, before getting back to near the end. I could write it so it starts out to when the woman is intercepted and rescued, then in the process of being rescued, it flashbacks to that point. then it flashes back to the present and she is continued to be rescued.

So how do I write it, script wise, so that the reader will not be confused that it's not a character that is having the flashback, and it's the story? My friends say they think it's a character which is why they get confused, since the flashback is happening from multiple points of view.
 

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So how do I write it, script wise, so that the reader will not be confused that it's not a character that is having the flashback, and it's the story? My friends say they think it's a character which is why they get confused, since the flashback is happening from multiple points of view.

One way for this to make sense is to have it near the end of a film with a reveal, showing actions that affected the main character that he was not aware of. It would have to be a repeat of circumstance he has already experienced in order for it to not be confusing imo
 
As long as your script's story is moving forward is how your flashback will work for the story and not the character. Some ex... The Fugitive, Harrison Ford version and Slumdog Millionaire. Watch and see how the flashback or flashforwards work. The story moves forward.
 
One way for this to make sense is to have it near the end of a film with a reveal, showing actions that affected the main character that he was not aware of. It would have to be a repeat of circumstance he has already experienced in order for it to not be confusing imo

Okay thanks, but I don't think the movie start out at the end, like Fight Club did for example. Cause if I do it, it will give away who the real villains are when they are suppose to be kept a mystery till later.

As long as your script's story is moving forward is how your flashback will work for the story and not the character. Some ex... The Fugitive, Harrison Ford version and Slumdog Millionaire. Watch and see how the flashback or flashforwards work. The story moves forward.

I thought The Fugitive and Slumdog's flashbacks were all shown from the main characters point of view, not multiple. I will have to watch those again, if that's what you mean.
 
I mean point of view from a character. Usually in movies, when you see a flashback, you see only one character's point of view. I want to show a flashback from three different characters point of view. They are in different rooms, so one cannot see or hear the others. How do I explain to the reader that it is not from a character's point of view, but from the story's point of view, that's what I mean.
 
but from the story's point of view, that's what I mean.

I don't understand how a story can have a point of view!!

Flashbacks from different character perspectives... iirc Vantage Point does that a lot.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDp-08uNH0Y

EDIT:In fact scratch that... I don't think it's Flashbacks its a fractured narrative. Doesn't a flashback indicate a "remembering", whereas a fractured narrative just skips about in time.
 
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Most cases flashback is use as a crutch, a cheap way to introduce exposition. Which most times doesn't move the film forward in turn make for a confuse movie goer. If you want to do the three points of view for your characters. Inter twine your story like Pulp Fiction andbring it to the end. No flashback is needed and the reader sees the story play out.
 
I mean point of view from a character. Usually in movies, when you see a flashback, you see only one character's point of view. I want to show a flashback from three different characters point of view. They are in different rooms, so one cannot see or hear the others. How do I explain to the reader that it is not from a character's point of view, but from the story's point of view, that's what I mean.

That doesn't make sense. What do you mean by "the story's point of view"?
 
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