Comedy, the Doritos Goat Super Bowl Ad, and no dialogue needed

Doritos goat SuperBowlIt’s easy as a screenwriter to tend to focus on dialogue, but the reality is stories need structure and conflict before they need any dialogue. The Doritos Super Bowl goat ad is a great example of why it is best first to focus on the story before worrying about the dialogue.

Consider the story beats of the Doritos Super Bowl ad:

  1. Guy walking down the street enjoying a bag of Doritos sees another guy selling a goat, which also is eating Doritos.
  2. Guy enjoys eating Doritos with his new goat.
  3. Guy excitedly shows goat a cabinet full of Doritos.
  4. The goat eats incessantly — in time annoying the guy.
  5. The goat can’t find any more Doritos — and in anger smashes a framed portrait of the guy.
  6. The goat discovers the guy hiding in a room that is packed with bags of Doritos, and the guy is making a “Goat 4 Sale” sign.
  7. The goat enters the room, kicking the door closed behind him.
  8. The guy cowers (as the goat apparently moves toward him).

End of commercial.

Doritos Goat Super Bowl ad - 1

Pay particular attention to the economy of the structure. Even for feature length films there’s no reason to include unnecessary scenes or beats when the audience is perfectly capable of filling in the blanks. For example, there was no need to include a shot of the guy actually buying the goat. At beat #2 it’s obvious the guy has purchased the goat.

Focus on the story, not the dialogue

And by the end of the Doritos commercial it is obvious why the first guy in beat #1 was selling the goat. We also understand why the initial seller was wearing a neck brace, and why the seller made sure there was a bag of Doritos for the goat. Watch the Doritos Super Bowl ad and decide for yourself if any dialogue is necessary.

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