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What is Subtext?


Subtext is the message, thought, feeling or emotion that exists in the context of what’s written on the page. It’s the invisible language that cannot be understood through the literally translation of what’s already written. In screenwriting, subtext is usually conveyed through dialogue. For example, if a father asks his son, “Since when were you allergic to nuts?” And the son replies, “Since I was born.” The text reveals that the son is allergic to nuts and the father had no idea. The subtext is the father is not a very good parent.

Also see The Importance of Subtext in Both Directing and Writing




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