To put it simply, writing great dialogue is really hard.
It can take a long time to develop a good ear when it comes to writing dialogue for your brand video. That’s because crisp and meaningful dialogue isn’t simply a case of typing out a conversation.
To quote Robert McKee, “Conversation is boring, repetitive and concerns inane things. Dialogue moves the plot along, reveals character and every word is necessary to advance the story.” Or, as Alfred Hitchcock said, “a good story is life with the boring bits taken out.”
But Here’s the Rub…
Written dialogue has to have the flavour of reality. It needs to sound believable and be easily spoken. The writing should be clean, simple and clear. And it needs to have some subtext.
A character may be saying one thing but subtext is what is being said by the character between the lines.
The text is the words we see on the page but the content underneath, the information that’s not being explicitly announced by the brand video characters is the subtext.
Subtext is the underlying meaning of what is being said. As long as there has been storytelling there has been subtext.
In theatre it’s usually conveyed in soliloquy, or asides to the audience, in which the character directly addresses the audience and explains or expresses his motivations. This technique is used more sparingly in film and TV (although it was used very effectively in the TV series, Deadwood). In your brand video, generally speaking, you should avoid this technique.
Show, Don’t Tell
Even with dialogue you want to show, not tell. Your brand video characters shouldn’t continually be spouting “on the nose” dialogue that says exactly what it is saying. We should understand their emotions through their actions… which speak louder than words.
We don’t always need to have everything spelt for us. Don Corleone doesn’t say, “I’m gonna mess that guy up by chopping off his horse’s head and leaving it in his bed,” he says, “I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse.”
The best brand video dialogue moves your brand story forward and draws out your characters.