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Formatting Point of View in Your Screenplay

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Misty Faucheux•updated: 8/4/2009

Here is a screenplay format guide for using Point of View perspective.

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    Perspective

    Though it was a relatively common practice in the past, very few filmmakers use Point of View in their work. Point of View is essentially the positioning of a camera so that it appears as though it is the sight line of a specific character, where this is their “Point of View." This often only happens briefly in a film where you are not intended to see a character yet or if they are intoxicated.

    In other generations, this was an entire device, such as the ability to hide the killer’s identity in the original Friday the 13th. Point of View can fit wherever you feel as though it can be worked with, but you still have to identify this in your screenplay. As with almost any film element, there is a format for Point of View in your film’s screenplay.

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    POV

    For brevities sake, you are always going to abbreviate Point of View as POV. In all places of your screenplay where it is indicated that Point of View is taking hold as a perspective you should be writing POV.

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    Leave It Out

    POV is a camera direction inherently, and therefore many people will not want you to put it into your spec script. The reason for this is that it should be the director’s choice and will only be put into the official shooting script. The point here is that in most cases that you are going to have a POV in your film it does not need to be in your screenplay.

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    In Your Script

    If you are going to put it in there, as when you are transferring a spec script into a shooting script, or if you are directing your own screenplay, you are going to identify this at the beginning of the area. This could be the direction that comes right before a short sequence though it has to not include too much action because POV is so limited.

    For example:

    JOHN MURPHY’S POV –

    John begins walking toward the kitchen to look in the refrigerator.

    This will then indicate both what is about to happen and exactly the camera position to capture this. With this, the POV will just be a brief indicator before the main action is there.