COVERSCRIPT TIPS – Preaching–It’s For Church

Samuel Goldwyn, the “G” of MGM Studios, has been attributed with the following saying, “If you want to send a message, call Western Union.”

It was uttered in the 1940’s and has since become dated, as the last telegram Western Union sent was in 2006.  BUT, the principal remains valid.

Scripts that preach their messages make for bad and/or usually very boring movies.

Audiences do not want to be lectured to or preached at.  They want to be entertained.

Yet many of the films Goldwyn green-lighted communicated relevant and important messages.

That’s because the characters never discussed and/or argued over the issues, or the ethics, or the morals, or anything else related to the movie’s message.

The scripts instead told compelling stories that entertained, as well as communicated their messages via subtext.

By definition, subtext is the undertone of a creative work which is not explicitly announced by the characters (or the writer), but is implicit or becomes understood by your audience as the story plays out.

Create the plot, and your characters, so that your story’s underlying message is embedded in the story, or eventually becomes understood, by what your characters DO; their actions and emotions, not by what they say.

If that’s done well, your audience will leave the theater with a new aspect on life, or at the very least they’ll be giving the topic consideration from a fresh perspective.

Your entertaining story is the carrier wave along which your underlying message rides.

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