How to Write Subtext in a Screenplay

How do you write subtext inside a screenplay? We take you through some essential tips.

Ever want to say something but not blurt it out? Your way around it was probably talking about something that mimicked the situation at hand without being too obvious about what was really going on.

That was you using subtext, you passive-aggressive lunatic.

In life, it’s good to say what you mean, but in screenwriting for film and television, you want to use subtext.

Today, we’re going to define subtext, examine its use in entertainment, and look at how it bolsters the themes of the story.

Okay, let’s go!

The Definition of ‘Subtext’

Subtext is the content of an idea or feeling that is not highlighted explicitly by the characters, but is implicit or becomes understood by the viewer as the story unfolds. It’s what people are really talking about when they’re actually speaking about something else.

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