Show and Tell
The idea is, action is character, and film is a visual medium, so if we want to really enliven our characters, we should show them taking actions that define them, rather than simply talking out their feelings, or whatever.
But then I thought about the progression of films overall, since the silents until now. Certainly, before the age of sound on film, actions were everything, and at the beginning of the sound era, the remnants of that remained. But then as film history progressed, films got more an more talky. (I feel the weaknesses of Neil LaBute's films are not just that people are saying what they should be doing, but that in their talking, they're really just talking about nothing. So instead of saying what they feel instead of showing it, they're just talking loud but saying nothing.)
Anyhow, I started to wonder if this was actually indicative more of a trend in culture in general. Has our society become one of talkers, rather than doers? Is our talk actually the action in itself? I mean, how many people do we know that would rather sit around and argue about something, rather then get up and do something about it? Maybe, talky movies are less inaccurate or inappropriate than they'd seem.
Now, believe me, I'm not suggesting that it's okay to just have a bunch of people sitting around and talking for a whole film. Just as Hitch said that "drama is life with the dull bits cut out," we should aim to write movies that are more interesting than real life, even if people sitting around and talking all the time is realistic. Might it be appropriate for certain characters, in certain films, to sit around talking all the time?
Tags: screenwriting, dialogue, Neil+LaBute, Alfred+Hitchcock