Today, let’s talk about show and tell.
No, I’m not talking about the best day ever in Kindergarden. I’m talking about storytelling. The concept of showing the audience something over telling them about it.
Let’s look at a good example from the Disney classic, Alladin. At the beginning of the film, we see our hero running from the guards with a loaf of bread in hand, singing a lovely song. He flips around, runs up and down, flirts with some ladies, all while making full use of his silver tongue. Then, when he finally escapes, he finds himself faced by two orphan children with no food. He then gives them his food and walks away with his head held high. This perfectly establishes his character: a thief with a heart of gold. A perfect case of show don’t tell.
Now let’s recall a poor example: everyone’s favorite chemical fire relationship, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker.
Yes, I know I picked on Star Wars last post, but I’m in the mood.
Through the three prequel movies, we constantly hear about Anakin and Obi-Wan’s exploits through the galaxy. From the elevator scene at the beginning of Episode 2 where they talk about ‘falling in a nest of Gundarks’ to all the lines where other characters comment about them being ‘such good friends’. But in the movies, they only ever seem at odds with each other. Obi-Wan always seems aggitated with Anakin, and Anakin practically hates the dude 95% of the time. This is supposed to be the height of their friendship? How? Because people say they’re friends, that’s why. Shut up and fall asleep to space politics.
Which of those two seem more interesting to you? Watching someone’s actions define them, or just watching people talking about it?
Think about it like this: why is school so fucking boring? Because you’re sitting there, at a desk, listening to some person you barely know talk about something. You do this for six hours before you’re set free and allowed to enjoy existing again.
Tell don’t show is like school. It’s boring, forgettable and we want it to be over with as soon as possible. Show don’t tell is like playing a fun game. You pick it up quickly and have a blast until the very end.
Unless that game is anything put out by Konami. Good night everybody!