On scene

When I was at drama school, the joke about our college's film department was that nobody could write a film with dialogue. A scene, they were taught, should be about image. Actors, while pleasant to look at, should be arranged so that they were compatible with the visual effect the filmmaker was trying to achieve. If there was dialogue, it only should be only to convey what could not be shown visually. An actor was more often than not valued for the 'realness' or 'grittiness' they could portray, not how well they could act.

While as an actor, the result was often a lot of grumbling (we're actors, we wanted to shout, give us something to act with!), as a writer I think about this edict often. On the page, what is unsaid is just as important as what is. An image can often do away with hundreds of words. Often the challenge is merely working out what image, and how to portray it. It is not that far, sometimes, from the still image of an actor working her way through an action, working out best exactly what can be held back from the camera, and what needs to be said.