Actress Tsinat and artist Alemayehu playing a game

All of these factors are crucial to creating a great movie, but let’s focus on the one that, in my opinion, may make or break your movie: storytelling. Cinema is all about telling stories, therefore practically everything you include in your movie—dialog, objects, lighting, a song, or even an edit—transmits a message to your viewers. One idea that Cade raises, however, is subtext, which I’ve repeatedly observed new directors and screenwriters fail to put into their films. Any aspect of your movie, including the writing, the editing, and the cinematography, can incorporate subtext. Subtext essentially refers to the covert statements you’re trying to get through to your audience without saying them out loud. Your plot starts to feel, I don’t know, weighty when you overexplain or have awkward expositional sequences. Instead of letting the audience investigate the narrative on their own and come to their own conclusions, you’re telling them what’s happening. David Mamet, a playwright and screenwriter, has provided a wealth of insightful suggestions on how to include more subtext into your scripts, but in my opinion, the easiest way to accomplish it without having to overthink it is by reducing your conversation to the absolute minimum. If you have a block of dialogue, try condensing it to one or two lines to see if you can still get your point across. In order to make your viewers more involved (and interested) with your movie, consider whether you can convey the same idea using a look, a tick, or something else non-verbal.

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