Point of View

"Ted Elliott and I

[Terry Rossio] were working as producers on a project set up at Image Movers, which is Robert Zemeckis' production company. A revision was completed, the script went in, and the story notes came back. Among them was this little gem:

"'The story lacks a consistent point of view. While Curtis is our window into the world... the dealings between Willie and the cops, and Stacey and Lyle are not told from his point of view. These scenes should be witnessed by Curtis. This will provide consistency in p.o.v., will intertwine the different worlds of the narrative, and will also provide Curtis with the necessary motivation to aid Stacey.'

"Of course, I'd prepared the writer -- Paul Hernandez -- to expect some insanity in the notes. Because no matter how hard you try, no matter how clever you are, you simply can't predict, nor prepare yourself for the truly whacked-out story notes. You may think you know the flaws in your work, and can anticipate response -- but it's no use. There will always be at least one criticism that comes out of left field, absolutely inexplicable, one that you could never foresee.Case in point.

"The above note is pretty clear: tell everything from the lead character's point of view; have him present in every scene.But -- the story was a romantic comedy.

"It would be like, you turn in a draft of THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY, and get back a note saying all the scenes should have Mary present.

"In truth, most story notes are simply not well written, and with a little work, you can find some small amount of merit hidden, ironically, inside their poor execution. But every time we got to the above note, we were stuck. There was just no way to tell the story and limit the point of view to just the lead character.What were they thinking?

"So we went into the story meeting. Did the chit-chat, and waded through the list of changes and suggestions. And then we got to 'the' note. What, exactly, did they mean?

"'Oh, don't worry about that,' they said. 'That's just a standard note that we give all writers. Bob

[Robert Zemeckis] is very particular about point of view, so we include that note on all our projects. But we don't really understand it.'"

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