Monday, July 22, 2013

TODAY'S NUGGET: Sense & Sensibility (1995) - Examples of Silence at Work

[Quick Summary: In 1790s, two witty, poor sisters find hard-won love.]

Producer Lindsay Doran writes eloquently about looking for a Sense and Sensibility writer for TEN YEARS:
"Everything I'd looked at seemed so dry and polite - the romantic scripts weren't funny enough, the funny scripts weren't romantic enough, the attempts to write in the voice of the eighteenth century felt stilted and dull. I was beginning to think that what I was looking for didn't exist."
After working with Emma Thompson, Doran offered her the gig:
"She not only knew how to think in Jane Austen's language, but she understood the rhythms of good scene writing and how to convey a sense of setting....Her experience as an actress ...helped her to understand when silence could say more than any spoken word." (emphasis mine) 
I like how the script uses silence:

Ex. 1 - It can build anticipation.

"[The Stranger] turns to Marianne and smiles. She smiles back gloriously. He bows, and sweeps out of the room.

MARIANNE (hissing): His name! His name!"

Ex. 2 -  It can also convey sorrow.

"Sir John eyes Brandon roguishly.

SIR JOHN: You know what they're saying, of course...

No answer.

SIR JOHN: The word is that you have developed a taste for - certain company.

Brandon stays resolutely silent. Sir John is emboldened.

SIR JOHN: And why not, say I. a man like you - in his prime - she'd be a most fortunate young lady -

Brandon cuts across him.

COL. BRANDON: Marianne Dashwood would no more think of me than she would of you, John."

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: Silence forced me to connect the dots.

I didn't realize:
1) how versatile it is, and
2) how it involves the audience.

Sense & Sensibility (1995)
by Emma Thompson
From the novel by Jane Austen

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