Lesson 7 – Enhance your movie’s emotion and your audience’s empathy


Hello, and welcome to Lesson 7! With everything you have learned so far, you can now create a movie that will impress your audience – no matter what subject. You might be thinking, “What else is there to learn?”

Well, frankly, quite a bit. This tool is sophisticated and powerful.  We have taken many of the lessons you have read this week and expanded them into an hour (or more) worth of learning, activities, and even some challenges. Annual subscriptions to Nawmal will automatically have access to webinar sessions – where we will improve your skills and productivity, and ensure you have fun making movies.

In the last couple of lessons, you learned how to use the power of the camera to engage your audience, project a storyline forward, and bring the scene to life. But we should probably circle back to the dialog delivery. Dialog communicates more than words. Dramatic pauses and timing are just as, if not more important than the spoken word or camera angle.

So let’s talk about these effects and how to achieve them in Nawmal.

Why Pause?

As you write a character’s dialog, you can probably “hear” it in your head. Actually, many script writers like to read their writing out loud. As you run it through, take note where you would typically wait a beat or two. These are the areas where you want the dialog or the action to pause. But there are some overall rules that screenwriters, directors, and actors use.

So where should you pause?

·        First, always pause at the completion of a thought – not necessarily at the completion of a sentence. Pausing to transition from one state of mind to another can help to draw the audience’s attention to that character’s thoughts and emotions.

·        Another time to pause would be if a character is searching for a word or trying to come up with a decision.

·        You should also give your audience time to react. For example, if your video is humorous, insert a little pause at the end of a line for your audience to laugh. Similarly, if it is sad, leave some dramatic pause in between lines to allow your audience to respond to that emotion.

Open your Project

If you haven’t already, open the project from the end of lesson 3. This has only two lines of dialog, but that’s enough to give us something to work with. 

To save you time, we have included that project for you to download with this lesson – just click here, open that file, and follow along. 

Insert Pause

In the second line of dialog, click to insert your cursor right before the words and tonight’s guest.… Now click Pause.

Notice that the Pause pane appears to the right, allowing you to set the pause’s duration. In this case, 2 seconds is probably a little too long. So change that to half-second (.5).

Insert another pause before asking to hear more. Change that to .5 seconds, as well.

Now click Play. Hear the difference? You can now go through the rest of the dialog and insert pauses of any length you wish – anywhere it sounds natural, or anywhere you think your character would want to draw attention to a particular thought.

Note: Pausing actually creates a break in all activity, not just the dialog. So as you are inserting pauses, especially in longer areas that combine both gestures, special camera angles, and dialog, keep that in mind.

Draw Attention to the Action

A Pause is one way to connect your audience with the character’s thoughts and emotions. But there are some other ways to do that in filmmaking – some of them, we have already talked about this week.

Zoom-in, Dolly-in or Push-in

One great way to dramatically draw attention to a character, place in the scene, or a specific activity of any kind is to quickly or gradually zoom into that area. For instance, a reaction shot that starts wide and zooms in close to a character can have a huge effect on how that piece of the story evokes emotion.  You can do this subtly and slowly with a small change, or dramatically with a more exaggerated, rapid push-in – sometimes called a “crash-zoom.”

Follow Character

Another great way to draw attention to a character or action in a scene is to follow with the camera using the Dolly. This is a particularly great way to transition from one part of the set to another, or link one phase of your story to the next. This movement creates anticipation with your audience, making them think “where are we going?”.


This feeling of anticipation can also be achieved when you pan the camera across a scene, continually revealing additional elements. As the camera moves, your audience will be waiting for “what’s next” in the scene.

Revealing something new in the background

Let’s say you are focused in on your character for a portion of the scene, but when the character steps aside or moves, something unexpected appears behind.  This can also be achieved by moving the camera to reveal something that was previously hidden.


Do you have any additional ways to draw attention in a film? If so, we’d love to hear about them – especially if you have used Nawmal to add drama – mild or bold – to do it! Email or tweet us any of your comments or questions. And if you would like to be featured in our blog or on our YouTube channel, give us a shout. We are excited to show everyone what you’ve created.

We promise you will never think about creating animation the same way again.

We hope you have had fun with these introductory lessons.  As always, we are here to answer your questions or give you support as you learn how to use Nawmal. If there’s something not covered here you would like a hand with, please let us know. We can consider adding it to the course. And finally, if you’d like more detailed training for you and your team, please contact us at training@nawmal.com.