Showing VS Telling
For this task, we were to convert the following text from ‘telling’ narration into showing.
‘She answered the phone and gave her name. She said she did not take cold calls and that she regarded them as an invasion of privacy. She added that she was especially not interested in double-glazing.’
The shrill ring of the phone echoed around the room, bouncing off the cream walls. Picking up the phone, she placed it to her ear, “Hello?”
The caller, who said his name was Bob yet had a very strong Indian accent, began a scripted speech about double glazing and how he could offer her a discount but for today only. Rolling her eyes, she hung up, her patience quickly diminished.
Show, don’t tell:
Rewrite the following lines
He felt tired.
His eyelids kept dropping, the dark circles beneath his eyes becoming more prominent. His days with minimal sleep were catching up with him.
She loved him.
He was her everything. Her eyes would light up at the mere mention of his name.
They loathed one another.
Venomous words were spat as pure hatred shone in their eyes.
The children were bored.
Letting out a heavy sigh, the eldest leant his elbows on the desk. His gaze swept the room, taking in the other children who looked how he felt.
Grandmother came home drunk.
The smell of whiskey was strong on her breath, her granddaughter could smell it from the other room. The stumbling woman knocked into the sideboard causing her younger relative to groan at the sound.
Watching two short films without dialogue:
Character needs: To get out of his job that he hates
Plot: A man hates his job. The printer he is using makes a mistake and provides him with a piece of paper that has a black circle on it, the circle is an opening. He starts by using it to steal a chocolate bar but by the end of the film, he uses it on a safe. He then climbs inside to get more money but the paper falls and he is locked inside.
Use of colour: Dull colours in the office to signify how he hates his job.
Use of sound: No music. Sound is to show his frustration.
Second Film (Cargo)
Theme: Horror, Desperation, Strength, Love, Hope
Character needs: To save his daughter
Plot: In a zombie apocalypse, a man fights to make sure his daughter survives
Visual Symbols: A lot of body language, plus dialogue is written on his daughter’s body.
Use of colour: A lot of earthy tones to make it feel more realistic
Use of sound: Nature sounds, baby crying
Third Film (Memories)
Theme: Sadness, Grief
Character’s needs: To remember his life
Plot: A man with dementia is trying to remember his life.
Visual Symbols: Photos in book are disappearing, signifying his memories
Use of colour: Colour is used during his memories
Use of sound: Slow song to provide a more emotional reaction
INT/EXT- Place/Location- Day or Night
Description of scene: Where? Describe place; who is there? Describe characters, feelings needs and wants, why they are there, time of day.
INT. Office- Day.
A box-room office. One desk occupies most of the space. The walls are pallid and brown.
Our next task was to write a script, storyboard, beat sheet and a synopsis for a short film with no dialogue about loneliness. I started our by writing out our script ideas:
- A teenager is next to a group of friends but is left out all the time, then shown in the same set up but different scenes. Last shot, the teenager isn’t there anymore and the group don’t notice.
- People are being paired up in class but one teenager is always left out.
We then wrote out the synopsis of our chosen idea and the story board:
The film starts with a teenager looking at his reflection, his face is unreadable and he takes a breath. The next shot is teenagers sitting at a table and they are all pairing up but he is left alone. The kid then eats alone with his headphones in. Next shot is people working together but the teenager is left alone, struggling with his work. He then goes to put his hand up to ask for help but hesitates and puts it down. Shots are then repeated without the teenager.
Our storyboard (really bad quality, sorry! Will try and get a better version)
Once we had the visual ideas, we wrote our script.
INT. COLLEGE TOILET – MORNING
College toilet, a TEENAGE GIRL staring into a mirror at 8:50AM class starts for the day. The TEENAGE
GIRL sighs and shows little emotion.
INT. CLASS – MORNING
Classroom full of students looking towards the teacher at 9:40AM. TEENAGE GIRL from earlier is
sitting alone. Other students turn away from the TEENAGE GIRL to begin group work, leaving him
INT. HALL – AFTERNOON
At 12:45PM Students are eating lunch in groups together, while the TEENAGE GIRL eats his lunch
alone away from other groups. A group of students can be seen joking and laughing together in the
INT. CLASS – AFTERNOON
Same classroom from earlier in the day at 2:20PM. TEENAGE GIRL is struggling with class work alone,
other students seen helping each other. TEENAGE GIRL clutching his head in frustration.
The TEENAGE GIRL then hesitates to put his hand up and get help on his work, deciding not to in the
end and continue struggling.
INT. CLASS – MORNING
A day after, same class as the 9:40AM class previously. Students continuing to work in groups as
yesterday, not noticing the disappearance of the TEENAGE GIRL.
INT. HALL – AFTERNOON
The students eating lunch at 12:45PM are in the same place as yesterday, but with the TEENAGE
GIRL not being present to eat lunch.
INT. CLASS – AFTERNOON
Same class as the 2:20PM class from the day before. The TEENAGE GIRL is not present for this class.
After a few moments the TEACHER of the class realizes the TEENAGE GIRL’s absence and begins to
speak in a puzzled manner:
Where is Joanna?
We filmed in several different locations to achieve the shots we wanted. One issue we ran into, however, was the post production editing stage. After arranging all of our clips on Premier Pro and adding our backing track, we tried to render our work to export it. However, a few of the clips would not render. We then asked for help from our tutor who was also unable to solve the problem. After some frantic googling, we still couldn’t figure out what to do so we ended up exporting it as it was. Better to have something than nothing.
Another issue we had was practicality. Some scenes we put in the script we either weren’t able to film due to the wrong time frame or it just didn’t translate well in real life.
The task was really interesting and creating the film was both fun yet stressful. I feel like I learnt a lot not only as a writer but as a potential film maker. If we were to make another film, we would definitely invest in a better camera and take more time in editing and writing. However, for the time span we had, I think we did well.