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Writing Short Films by Phil Parker
Introduction The Protagonist: 1 The Protagonist: 2 Point of View & Theme Style & Tone Further Reading
Point of View & Theme
The Curious (1994)

The Curious (1994)

Having decided on who the film is about, what or who opposes them, and what it is the audience is being asked to follow - the active question - you are left with one of the key questions in a short film's development. The question, 'Whose point of view is the audience being shown the story from?' In The Cutter, the audience is placed in an omnipotent position watching the events and drawing its own conclusions, as it is in The Curious and Springing Lenin. However, in Zinky Boys Go Underground, the film is narrated by a character who is essentially an observer of the main character's stories. The reason this question is central to short films is the need to address the scale of exposition, and background information, plus character's motivations, in a very small narrative space. This is why narration, and narrators, are so useful in the short film form.

'What is it about?' or 'What is the theme?' is one of the most difficult questions to answer at the beginning of a project. It may be easy to say what the subject is, for example a power struggle between a young girl and the new boyfriend for the attention of her mother in Yellow, but the underlying theme, which unites all the characters and the central emotional core of the work, is the desire to be loved. Finding the theme in any project is critical to giving a film a dramatic unity, which relates directly to the audience's emotions. However, this is not normally found until at least a draft screenplay is written, though in some cases, as when writing a romantic-comedy, the theme, the desire for love, is clear in the conception.