Little by LittleA Lesson by Steven Norton
Using the least amount of dialogue as possible.
Visual storytelling benefits from a well-chosen soundscape, which can include music and song, where appropriate.
Images and dialogue should complement or contradict, without duplication.Screen images narrate, dialogue supports. Voiceover narration should establish an intimate, exclusive relationship with the audience, rather than give expositional information: use it for character purposes, not as a plotting shortcut.
Give information visually, via labels, captions, advertising billboards, newspaper headlines, street and shop names. Clarify the scene's event-type: familiar events, such as meals, arrivals and departures, supply an existing, accessible visual grammar.
In screenplays, visual montages can avoid repetition, compress time and reveal character. Gestures, movements and expressions provide characterisation and plot information. Psychological gestures can reveal emotional truths, secrets, or subtext.
Where dialogue slows the tempo unnecessarily, cut it. I don't care, "if it slows it goes." Make sure the transitions from image to image generate pace and rhythm.
Think of Pixar's WALL.E: it begins with a skewed, futuristic city panorama: skyscrapers made from compacted rubbish, everywhere deserted. Closer in, a squat little robot busily collects and squashes rubbish for the next "trash tower". The robot is rusty, battered, but perky and inquisitive, sorting items for his collection. A stencilled acronym reveals his name: Wall.E.
The story world, the protagonist and a major theme are introduced with visual style, charm and wit: no dialogue.
I want you to write a three-minute visual scene or sequence based around a ceremony (wedding or funeral; launching a ship; official 'robing' or investiture; parade) in which the protagonist is involved. Sound, including music and song can be used, but no more than 10 words of dialogue.
Added on January 7, 2010
Last Updated on January 7, 2010
AboutNot so much a writer, but more of an "imagineer".