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Ideas for the Animated Short, 2nd Edition by Gary Schumer, Karen Sullivan

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Chapter 7

The Purpose of Dialogue

Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, the Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote (Chuck Jones) were masters of clarity of movement to communicate story without words. Often animated shorts are devoid of dialogue because we don’t necessarily need dialogue when we have the ability to exaggerate actions, emotions and reactions, push strong poses and use visuals that are more powerful than words. In fact, we are always encouraged to show, don’t tell.

However, there are times when your characters need to speak. The audience needs to hear what they have to say in order to maintain the suspension of disbelief, to communicate internal conflict, or to condense and drive the plot.

In Eric Drobile’s The Animator and the Seat, Chunk, the ...

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