1. Winky867
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    Winky867 New Member

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    Do I break the fourth wall?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Winky867, Feb 16, 2012.

    I'm writing a script at the moment, nothing serious, just partially for practice, partially for fun. Doubt anything serious will come of it.
    Anyway, I'm writing it as a sort of tv show/web series type thing. The main character is a Hitman and I need to communicate alot of infomation to the viewer so they don't end up feeling a bit lost. The type of infomation is what work he does, who his clients are, his views of his work etc. The idea I came up with is breaking the fourth wall, i.e, talking directly to the audience, a kind of one sided conversation.

    However, I'm worried this might seem a bit lazy. Like I couldn't be bothered to come up with something more clever. I thought about maybe he could tell someone(an aparent stranger) and then end up killing them, as they were the intended target. Then I realised they kind of do that in "In Bruges" and I wouldn't want people to think I'm ripping other people off.

    Cheers.
     
  2. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    Have you ever watched the TV show "Burn Notice".

    The character does not talk directly to the audience but brief's them on what is going on and how to get it done. This is accomplished with the character's actions and interactions.

    I would use this to your advantage if you find it necessary. I think you should go back and figure out your characters in relation to the world. Is the hitman a loaner or does he work with close friends. Does his close friends have a personal history with him? Do they have any significant skills? What is the character looking for and what does he have that helps him? It would be better if only the few chosen who he works with knows who he is and his line of duty than him telling the audience. If he is a loner you may want the hitman to narrate parts of his day and help guide the viewer into the story than telling the story.
     
  3. Winky867
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    Winky867 New Member

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    Hey thanks man for the reply. First off he is a loaner. That's one of the main things I'm trying to communicate, the guy is a physcopath, he feels no emotion and needs no one else in his life(other than clients and women who he causally sleeps with after pretending to be in love).

    I think I'm going to have to check out Burn Notice then, see how they do it. I've written I large paragraph that was going to be his opening monologue/ speech but now I think I'll break it up. Scatter pieces of it throughout the episodes. That way it keeps the audience learning about him and builds their relationship slow and steady. Otherwise if I just vomit it all out at the beginning people might just gloss over it. Better to punctuate the whole script with it I guess.

    Thanks again for the reply.
     
  4. beanbengo
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    beanbengo Member

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    Hello, you should watch the film "Lucky number Slevin" if you haven't already. It has something similar to what you are talking about but i think it also uses flashbacks? I can't quite remember right now. But flashbacks while talking to a victim could be interesting...
     
  5. Winky867
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    Winky867 New Member

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    Yeah I've seen Lucky Number Slevin, great film. It had a good mix of serious crime drama and comic value, definately a good film. I've spent ages researching this script, I've read virtually every book and seen every film on the topic, some are great like "Collateral", but some are bad, very very bad. Seems to me many people think that just becuase the character has an interesting job of being a hitman that that is an excuse for making a crap story.
    But luckily I saw something in all these films and books that nobody hit upon. That's what I hope is going to make this script good, it's going to something different.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    first of all, yes, it's being lazy t'the max!

    that said, anything can work if you're a good enough writer... but, since you're a beginner, my best advice is to save the fancy stuff for after you've proven you can write a decent straight, un-fancified screenplay...

    btw, there's a screenwriting section on this site... you might want to ask a mod to move this thread there...
     
  7. Winky867
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    Winky867 New Member

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    Hey, thanks for the reply.
    I figured it was lazy, I'm going to go for a sort of internal monologue narrating his life/thought process, type deal.
    Thanks for telling me about the screen writing section, I'll have to have a quick browse around there. At the moment the script is very baby form. I still don't have a complete plot yet, let alone a script, actors, or anything else like that:rolleyes:

    Once my whole ideas are down on paper I'll probably post them on here, see what you people think.

    Cheers.
     
  8. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's not lazy, if well-written. Experiment.
     
  9. Gonissa
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    Gonissa Contributing Member

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    Eh...a lot of people get antzy when a writer breaks the fourth wall. It's easier to get away with in visual mediums, but it can be construed as cheap, especially if you're not doing a comedy.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    true... it works best in comedy... and yes, it has been done successfully in drama, but not often and usually by seasoned screenwriters... i'd still caution a beginner to learn and hone the craft first on straight scripts... otherwise, it's like someone who hasn't learned to walk well yet trying to emulate nijinsky's ballet moves...
     
  11. riggbren
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    riggbren Member

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    Your second idea sounded a lot better.
     
  12. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    This -- there are plenty of ways of doing it successfully. I'm using a diary found by someone as my means of breaking the fourth wall in a horror. It was done beautifully in Call the Midwife, a drama, on the BBC recently when an older voice read parts of the autobiographical story over the end as we watched lose ends being tied up. Noir detective stories used to it well.

    Check out the BBC Writersroom for examples of scripts and loads of great guidance about scriptwriting.

    It is a device that when it is done well can be moving, engaging, funny etc
     
  13. marcuslam
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    marcuslam Senior Member

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    If it's for fun, then go ahead and break that forth wall. When I first started writing, I frequently broke the forth wall, not because I wanted to experiment, but just because I was bad! You never know what you might learn by changing things up.
     

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