This is a true story
We’d just delivered our script on a long-running cop show. The star called us into his trailer for his notes.
“I read your script,” he said. “There wasn’t a single drive up.”
“What’s a drive up?” I asked.
He stared at me. “How can you call yourself a professional writer and not know what a drive up is? It’s the scene where I drive up, get out of my car, and walk to the door of wherever I’m going.”
“Oh,” I replied, relieved. “We didn’t put any of those in on purpose. We like to start a scene in the middle, after you’ve arrived, after all the introductions. The viewers all know who you are and how you got there.”
“What do you mean?”
“How can they be certain how I got there?” he asked.
“I’m sure they’ll assume you drove,” I said.
“But which car did I drive? What color is it? Is it a cool car or a lame car?” he said. “The drive-ups are important. People love to see me drive up. It’s what’s made this show a hit.”
He then turned to the first scene of the show.
“Great scene. Powerful stuff.” He tore the page out of his script. “But I can do all of this with a look.”
He then went to the next scene and tore two pages from it.
“I can do this with a look, too.”
It didn’t take us long to figure out why he really liked the drive-ups so much…and why the drama of most scenes was best conveyed with a look rather than a word.
He didn't want to learn any dialogue. Considering what a bad actor he was, it was probably the right choice.