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Point of View & The Avengers




Point of view is one of the most crucial elements of storytelling.  When you set out to tell your story, one of the first decisions you have to make is how many different points of view you are going to write from.  Most movies are written from the hero's point of view.  Meaning the hero is in every scene, and there are no scenes in the movie that they are not in. This can be fudged here and there but for brevity's sake we will say that storytelling from a single point of view means we follow only your main character, and only your main character has literal and emotional needs/questions that are answered in a developed arc. All the other characters are there to compliment your hero's journey.  The moment you decide to switch points of view and show me someone else's POV, you have now committed to creating an entire character arc for that point of view.  A full arc with emotional and literal needs and questions that must be answered by movie's end.  If you can't do that for the character you are switching POV to,  then you can't switch POVs.  It's sloppy to cut to someone else's POV just to give me information that you as a writer think I need.  POV is the glue that holds the pieces of a screenplay together.   Point of view and character arcs with literal and emotional questions posed and then answered, are tied at the hip.  

Take THE AVENGERS.  The screenplay weaves in and out of POVs seamlessly and we are able to follow along, because each character's literal and emotional needs are crystal clear.  

Analysis: The Avengers POV arcs. 

OVERALL STORY POV:

Literal question: Will they beat Loki?

Emotional question: Will they each learn to put their egos/selfish needs aside and learn to work as a team?

INDIVIDUAL POVs:

Tony Stark: Will he learn to put his ego aside and fight for something greater than his own self?

David Banner: Will he make peace with the fact that the worst thing that ever happened to him, might actually be his greatest gift?

Black Widow: Will she be able to repay the debt she owes to Hawkeye/ get her ledger out of the red and "uncompromise" herself?

Captain America: Will he find a way to assimilate into this new present day world, take the lead and be "The Captain" that he once was in his past?

Thor: Will he accept that the brother he once he knew and loved, is not the Loki standing in front of him, will he finally turn his back on his family and destroy his brother for the good of the world?

Nick Fury: Will he have the courage to stand up to the council and take "phase 2" off the table which might help us win a war, but lose our humanity in the process?

If you go back and watch the movie you will see how each character's emotional question is in direct conflict with the literal question at all times.  And you will see how masterfully each scene tackles the emotional and literal needs of each character simultaneously.  And that is why The Avengers is a great f*kn movie *.  

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