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  • Writer's pictureDorsa Sajedi

Research & Planning: Relationship Between Dialogue and Pacing

Some might say that dialogue, arguably like any other film form, is the most important* element in moving picture. But, having done a few works with limited to no dialogue, I've realised that it is not always needed. Dialogue is aural, we hear it, process it, and use it to make sense of the messages on screen. Remove that, and we have to find other ways of portraying our intentions. This instance can be compared to the removal of one of our senses - to which our other senses are heightened, or in this case, our attention to other elements of the film is heightened. And finally, in the edit, all of these elements are sewn together, and the messages, alongside the film itself, is constructed.


Without dialogue, there is more freedom in how the edit can be structured. An example is the pacing of the film.


Briefly touching upon my work last trimester, I've learned a lot about how to manage my role as the editor within these Covid restrictions, alongside gaining experience in working on a non-dialogue film. Similarly to 'All You're Going To Want To Do Is Go Back There', Nature deals with establishing a sense of loneliness, focus on one character, and no dialogue.


Password: smile


In order to portray the loneliness of our character in the edit, I initially pictured it being extremely slow-paced (throughout) to draw emphasis on the emptiness of the location. What this did was make some of the earlier drafts of the sequence be around 9 minutes long, making it 3 times as long as it had to be. What I didn't realise at the time is that at the turning point of the film, where we experience the 'inciting incident', that a change in the pacing would make sense and aid in cutting it down. At the point where they realise that that they still have a chance to find the final piece, there's excitement and hope. The emotions in the film needed to reflect the emotions of our character, leading to a quicker pace, only to then slow down when we reach a resolution. What this taught me, was that the pace does not need to be the same throughout the entire thing and that its manipulation has greater importance than what I initially thought. This experience will be very beneficial for me in developing a film that resembles that of the character's psyche, as the director intends.


After a conversation with the director on the pacing of the film, I know that this idea of a slow to quick and finally, back to slow pace is what is desired for this film, so this will be my aim in that regard. Without dialogue, we focus entirely on the body language, facial expressions and performance of the actor. This is what we will use to establish a connection to his mind (between the audience and the character). My role as the editor is to deliver this construction correctly, and with this research, I have learned that I must use pacing as a tool to indicate and support, for example, rises in tension and feelings of guilt or distress.





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