Voice Over

Thinking more about what kind of v/o and how much one can use in the context of a movie - both on the screen and how represented on the page

Some of my more favorites:


Clockwork Orange (and in Kubrick's work - helps us to like an unlikeable character)

Election (2 V/Os from different characters - nice contrast)

Clueless (what she says, versus what we see)

Memento (sometimes too much, sometimes beautiful; ending I like a lot; film noir tone)

Sunset Boulevard (jokes, etc. a particular perspective and a twist)

beginning of Magnolia (scientific investigation)

1st act of Fight Club (one of the best v/o's ever; romantic comedy turns dark; plus social commentary)

end of Psycho (or is this internal monologue v. v/o - v/o is disembodied)

a lot of film noir (takes us into the world of the dark character)

TWILIGHT ZONE - the voice of Serling/god.  Just at beginning and end.

And in my own work, I created an ironic v/o for GIRL.  I think I gave you a few pages of that.

Some of you probably like:

American Beauty --  I particularly like the ending.

And interesting:

Little Children 



did a lot with what we see vs. what is said (perspective of 16 year old)

And a lot of documentaries make use of V/O to draw you in to the world of the filmmaker and yes, to skip over boring parts.


To me, V/O works best when:

The voiceover works in opposition to what we see.  Esp. extreme oppositions.

The voiceover helps us to like an unlikeable character. IE we're drawn into the world of a criminal.

and yes, adds to tone (but usually beginning and ending or only structural points)

sunset boulevard - unexpected perspective, false "god" perspective, etc. a twist.

Usually LESS is better. A line. . . And/or as introduction, conclusion.

Not so good 

V/O tells us what we just saw or are about to see. Repetitious. Mostly movies SHOW don't tell.

Relation to Character

The character who has a v/o KNOWS or thinks he knows.

Lack of V/O means uncertainty.

Watch a v/o scene you like.  How would it be represented on the page?  What makes it work? What is the relation to your own work?

how would you PARODY a particular film that uses v/o? That means there are distinct rules.



Fast Talk - facebook page



Almost there. . . 


Fast Talk - new trailer

Check out the new trailer for Debra Tolchinsky's Fast Talk:

Mixing in January.


Who is David E Tolchinsky?

As a screenwriter, his feature film Girl is distributed by Sony and has been seen internationally. He has been commissioned by such studios as Touchstone/Disney, MGM, Ivan Reitman's Montecito Pictures, USA Networks, Edward R. Pressman Film Corp, and Addis-Wechsler & Assoc. (now Industry Entertainment) to write feature screenplays. He is the author of original screenplays such as The Last Crash and Reflections on a Teenage Anti-Christ featured in a New York Times article about home offices. Some of his work centers on teen subcultures such as heavy-metal fans, Florida surfer teens, teen groupies, and female football players, particularly in relation to social decay. He is also interested in horror, both psychological and physical. As a sound designer, he has designed the sound for interactive computer environments andvideo installations which have been exhibited internationally. In 2003, he was nominated for a Motion Picture Sound Editors Guild Golden Reel Award for his sound design for Dolly. In 2008, he was appointed as a Northwestern University Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence. In 2009, he co-curated The Horror Show at Dorsky Gallery Curatorial Programs in New York City which explored horror in film, video, installation, photography, sculpture and painting and which was featured as a The Village Voice "Voice Choice for Art" and on their blog, and which was accompanied by a 32-page catalog. He is a graduate of Yale (1985, BA, magna cum laude) and USC School of Cinematic Arts/School of Cinema-Television (1988, MFA). He sometimes works with his spouse, the media artist Debra Kahn Tolchinsky.

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