Professor Michael Green
Download 486 b.
The Function of Dialogue
The Role of Subtext
Lesson 13: Part I
Subtext is what is going on beneath the surface, the undercurrent of emotions and thoughts that truly motivates the characters to behave as they do.
A story’s subtext reveals why characters act the way they do and say the things they do, before and after plot requirements are considered.
Directors and actors bring a scene to life by determining the feelings, thoughts and motives that lie beneath the actual words and actions of the characters.
Subtext isn’t what you write; it’s what you write around. It’s the deeper level of story that can’t be told so much in words but must be shown in actions.
In real life, people rarely say exactly what they are feeling, especially if those feelings are difficult to deal with.
In drama, where art imitates life, we aim to show a version of this; the ultimate goal, however, is not to obscure, but to reveal and to create meaning.
Subtext is used to reveal what can’t be easily told in words; therefore, it has everything to do with need, or unconscious motivation.
The character’s need may be the real motivation behind everything else he does in the story. But to grasp this fact the audience must be shown it in a credible fashion.
To understand a story, certain exposition must be overtly presented to the audience, and other pieces can be implied.
The screenwriter walks a thin line between telling too much and telling too little.
Lesson 13: Part II
At times, the true motives and emotions of a character are the whole point of a film. Remember our discussions regarding Casablanca.
A character’s motivation carries more weight if it’s closely guarded. Through subtext, the screenwriter allows the audience glimpses or hints of the protagonist’s and other character’s true natures.
Subtext should carry a direct relationship to the film’s theme. It becomes the vessel for getting the main ideas across when it wouldn’t be realistic to do so in dialogue.
In a scene the emotion carrying the lines may:
When emotion supports the dialogue, the lines reflect what the characters feel. When someone is happy or infuriated, it is hard to suppress. These emotions affect attitudes and actions and these easily filter into conversation.
When emotion contradicts dialogue, it forces the character to take action contrary to what she says. A character might feel fear and want to hide it or might be angry and be unable to show it.
Sometimes the whole point of a scene is the emotion it contains. What’s actually being said has practically no bearing on the story at all.
In scenes, emotions motivate characters to act as they do. In most scenes, someone is in the grip of powerful emotion, positive or negative, and this emotion influences the scene, how he or she behaves, and how others react.
Asking a few questions about the characters and the emotion in a scene can help insure the dialogue strengthens the subtext.
4. What is the key emotion motivating the characters in this scene?
Any or all of these questions should help clarify what is going on beneath the surface of the characters.
Physical attitude refers to a character’s outward disposition or mood representing his inner emotional state.
The screenwriter must describe the characteristics of what the audience sees and hears in the action and the parenthetical directions.
Business helps establish a sense of reality and makes a scene more visually interesting. Characters are also further defined by what they do in the scene.
Atmosphere also helps to reveal the character’s inner state by reinforcing it. Weather, time of day, nature, etc. can all contribute to creating a mood that reflects the interior world of the characters.
Watch the short film Black Rider and analyze the subtext. What is made clear even thought it’s not spoken in dialogue? What theme is the subtext communicating?
Watch the clip from It’s a Wonderful Life, Arthur or A Christmas Story again. In addition to the examples discussed in the lecture, please cite two times where you can identify something going on beneath the actual words.
Pick out a scene from your script that is dialogue heavy and rewrite part of it using a minimum of dialogue to demonstrate the character’s inner states. Use such tools as visual and sound effects, atmosphere, business and physical attitude in rewriting the scene.
Download 486 b.
Do'stlaringiz bilan baham:
Ma'lumotlar bazasi mualliflik huquqi bilan himoyalangan ©fayllar.org 2020
ma'muriyatiga murojaat qiling
ma'muriyatiga murojaat qiling