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RobertoOrtiz
01-14-2005, 09:20 PM
David Mamet, Francis Ford Coppolla ,Christopher McQuarrie and Quentin Terentino are masters of it.

But few can do it well at all.
Form me having an ear for great dialogue is a rare gift.

And when I see the masters I have to wonder...

How do they do it?
How do you write smart and memorable dialogue?


-R

DAZZAN
01-15-2005, 10:56 PM
The best Writing,smart writing has to be Quints Uss Indianappolis,wanna see my scars speech,its well built up and structured,very smart ..throat grabbing diologue,like you are in the water with him,but the whole script is very good,to me its the best script written with three central characters.Should have won Screenplay Oscar.

But the legend behind the writting and who the diologue is attributed to is a bit confusing,it was infused by John Milius,rewritten by Carl Gottlieb and then amazingly reworked by Mr Robert Shaw himself.

It did not matter if the shark was a floating turd as Spielberg has often called it,it was the script, smart,funny and gripping,with three wonderfull actors compelling from the Start to End Titles that kept the Orca afloat.

Ohhhhh....show me the way to go home .....Boom Boom Boom,I`m tired and I wanna go to bed......

DAZZAN
01-16-2005, 12:05 PM
As to answer the Question of how to write memerable dialogue.

The simple answer to that is : Most people cant write it...I`d say about 94% mayby more than that with the ratio of films being made.

Also I would also say to a future question posed in cg filmaking :How do you make Great memerable Films.

I also think the above answer covers that as well but the ratio is mayby 96% cannot make great memerable Films.

But I bet when asked I would think about all of the people who cannot write or direct will say they can.

For everybody wants to be a filmaker and a screenwriter,and of course as we all know some of the cannots that have made it ,and have not done to well.

As for a retort for my post I think it should be ,well I dont care im going to try anyhow.

And yes....thats how it should be...at least people are willing to try.

But it will come down to those with talent and those without.

Bonedaddy
01-16-2005, 07:40 PM
Listen.

Listen, listen, listen, listen.

It's just like everything else in art -- it's observation and recreation. How does someone express themselves? How do they stumble up? How do the words they choose belie their background? What are they really trying to say, and how successful are they at it? How can one person silence a room with a couple booming words, and another person not be able to with a bullhorn?

Really listen to people, listen to your friends, listen to your co-workers, and figure out what is really going on. It's as much an art as anything else.

fwtep
01-16-2005, 08:30 PM
Here are some random thoughts about "memorable dialog."

1) Dialog isn't memorable, an actor's *performance* of it is memorable and makes you think it's the dialog that's memorable. How memorable would "we'll always have Paris" have been if it wasn't Bogart? Or "that'll be the day" if it wasn't John Wayne? (That was in "The Searchers" and it was so striking that that's where Buddy Holly got the idea for the song of that name from.) How memorable would "I'll be back" have been if it wasn't Arnold saying it? And it's not just big-name actors who bring dialog to life; every actor, good or bad, has an effect on the dialog they speak.

2) Along the lines of #1, watching a film you have no idea who came up with that memorable piece of dialog. With very rare exception, dialog isn't read verbatim from the screenplay. In some instances it's drastically reworded by the actors (see "Midnight Run" for example). In other instances it's just a subtle change by the actor (perhaps so he/she can speak it more easily) but that little change makes all the difference. For example, Arnold's "I'll be back" might have been written as "I will be back," but he felt that "I'll" sounded more natural for him than "I will." (That's just a hypothetical example to illustrate my point.)

3) People don't actually remember dialog anyway. Sure they'll remember catchy stuff like "I'll be back" or "frankly my dear, I don't give a damn," but generally dialog doesn't stick in your head, the characters, scenes, and story does. (I'm not talking about fans of a particular movie who will, of course, remember lots of dialog, I'm talking about the average viewer.) Even with a famous scene like the "Cheeseburger Royale" scene in Pulp Fiction, people only remember a line or two (generally just that name).

4) If you try to write clever dialog it will come off as pretentious and self-conscously cutesey. It will read as the writer trying to show off. As alluded to in #3 and elsewhere, snippets of dialog may become memorable, but not all dialog in the movie. So if you try to write every single line like you expect people to quote it or to appear on t-shirts, you're pretty much guaranteed to end up with a lousy screenplay.

5) Dialog serves a function, and being memorable isn't it. In plays, character is revealed mostly through dialog. In movies they're revealed through action. (Because in a play you're limited by the stage-- if a character is supposed to be a great hockey player it's kind of hard to show that on the stage.)

Here's what I mean about character revealed through action: I don't mean "action" as in action scenes, I mean "you are what you do." So if a character is supposed to be a really nice guy but he acts mean, then he's actually mean, not nice. In a play you say "he's the best archer in the world," but in a movie you need to show that.

6) Dialog IS NOT real speech. Just as with all aspects of movies (cinematography, story, costumes, makeup etc.), dialog is an artificial stylization. It should *sound* natural, but it is structured to get across the information necessary. It needs to be succinct. You can't have a scene go on and on just because that's "real." It should feel real though, just like how movie lighting isn't real but if feels real. (With today's low-light filming capabilities you would be able to go into a restaurant and just start filming, but you don't, you spend a lonnnnnngggg time setting up lights to make it look good, feel right, and bring out the proper mood that the script/director calls for.)

So, while dialog isn't as important as a good story that's well structured, it IS important to take a lot of care with it. It needs to reveal character, move the story along, etc. but never make the viewer conscious that it's doing all that.

Fred

DAZZAN
01-16-2005, 09:41 PM
Here are some random thoughts about "memorable dialog."

1) Dialog isn't memorable, an actor's *performance* of it is memorable and makes you think it's the dialog that's memorable. How memorable would "we'll always have Paris" have been if it wasn't Bogart? Or "that'll be the day" if it wasn't John Wayne? (That was in "The Searchers" and it was so striking that that's where Buddy Holly got the idea for the song of that name from.) How memorable would "I'll be back" have been if it wasn't Arnold saying it? And it's not just big-name actors who bring dialog to life; every actor, good or bad, has an effect on the dialog they speak.


Fred

I must disagree with you on this one,I think great dialogue stands out so much that if Bogart said "well,we might meet for a spot of lunchen in Paris" or Heres looking into those big browns,baby! it might not be the classic it is today.

I think the actor does have a say,but the director would keep in the best diologue.

Of course i would agree on the actor changeing lines or adding lines such as the " were gonna need a bigger boat " line was not in screenplay but added by the actor on set.

Of course a good actor will make the best job of a bad script, but a good actor with great lines such as Death of a Salesman.....your SMOoooKIN...

tibes
01-16-2005, 11:20 PM
1) Dialog isn't memorable, an actor's *performance* of it is memorable and makes you think it's the dialog that's memorable. How memorable would "we'll always have Paris" have been if it wasn't Bogart? Or "that'll be the day" if it wasn't John Wayne? (That was in "The Searchers" and it was so striking that that's where Buddy Holly got the idea for the song of that name from.) How memorable would "I'll be back" have been if it wasn't Arnold saying it? And it's not just big-name actors who bring dialog to life; every actor, good or bad, has an effect on the dialog they speak.


I have to disagree as well, but in a slightly different way. I think that those lines were memorable because the movie, and more importantly the character were working at that point in the film. Part of this can be attributed to the actor, part to the screenwriter, part the director and editor and composer and part to the other 100s of craftspeople working on the film.

Good dialog is only believable when you can believe that the character saying it believes it. To get to that point people need to know the character, and that is one of the primary tasks in making a film, one that doesn't result from any single person's work. However I guess you could say that it's the Director's job to ensure that the task is completed in the best possible way.

fwtep
01-16-2005, 11:45 PM
OK, if good dialog is so memorable why doesn't anyone remember it? Sure they'll remember a catch-phrase like in the samples I gave above, but when you come out of a movie you can tell me virtually everything about the characters and the story (and the FX :) ) but probably only be able to recall one or two catchy lines. And even those one or two lines would likely be less memorable if delivered differently or by a different actor. Some of the "great dialog" people mentioned so far in this thread (such as Quentin Tarantino) don't have dialog that's quite as memorable as you might thing. It may be *good*, but it's not memorable.

And Dazzan, if Bogart said "Heres looking into those big browns,baby!" I think it would have been memorable too, because he'd have made it memorable. Yes, part of what makes it work is the movie and the character, but when you have a script that works on the character and structure level, then add a good actor, the dialog will almost automatically work, as long as it's at least competent. In other words, the actual dialog on the page is less important than those other elements, and the dialog is made memorable *by* those elements, not because it's so clever and well written.

Also Dazzan, I've been on enough sets over the past 17 years (including on my own feqture) to know how things work between directors and actors. With rare exception, all dialog is pretty fluid in terms of what's on the page and what ends up on screen.

Fred

tibes
01-17-2005, 12:22 AM
OK, if good dialog is so memorable why doesn't anyone remember it? Sure they'll remember a catch-phrase like in the samples I gave above, but when you come out of a movie you can tell me virtually everything about the characters and the story (and the FX :) ) but probably only be able to recall one or two catchy lines. And even those one or two lines would likely be less memorable if delivered differently or by a different actor.

The actor definately has an effect on the success of a memorable line, since it's possible to make a complete mess of even the best dialog. But you can't tell me that this example...

How memorable would "I'll be back" have been if it wasn't Arnold saying it?

...wouldn't have been memorable if it wasn't Arnold saying it. It's three words, delivered in monotone, by a buff guy at the beginning of his film career. The reason it was so funny, and memorable is because the audience is in sync with the picture at that point in time and they can guess what the Terminator's idea of "I'll be back." is going to be. I believe that James Cameron expressed this same idea in some of the extra material on the Terminator DVD, although I could be wrong.

I'm not disagreeing with most of your points, but I don't think it's quite as simple as great actor's make memorable dialog. Actors do the best they can, sometimes they get lucky, but memorable dialog will come much more frequently if all the people involved are firing together.

DAZZAN
01-17-2005, 09:48 AM
And Dazzan, if Bogart said "Heres looking into those big browns,baby!" I think it would have been memorable too, because he'd have made it memorable. Yes, part of what makes it work is the movie and the character, but when you have a script that works on the character and structure level, then add a good actor, the dialog will almost automatically work, as long as it's at least competent. In other words, the actual dialog on the page is less important than those other elements, and the dialog is made memorable *by* those elements, not because it's so clever and well written.

Also Dazzan, I've been on enough sets over the past 17 years (including on my own feqture) to know how things work between directors and actors. With rare exception, all dialog is pretty fluid in terms of what's on the page and what ends up on screen.

Fred[/QUOTE]

Well, i will not blow my own trumpet,,,,,but I would like to stick by my original thoughts I do think written diologue can be great.....i guess we would agree to disagree.

Can i still post my problems on the Messiah thread or shall i just lay low for a while?

Bonedaddy
01-17-2005, 04:40 PM
OK, if good dialog is so memorable why doesn't anyone remember it?

My friend, upon the merest provocation, will recite all the dialogue for the following scenes:

"You know what they call a Quarter Pounder with cheese in Paris?"
"And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger..."
"You're not your ****ing khakis."
"THIS... is my BOOMSTICK!"
The entire movie "Monty Python and the Holy Grail"
The entire movie "Clerks"

...and I've met others that are like this. They are far from alone.

tibes
01-17-2005, 10:10 PM
The entire movie "Clerks"

And I think everyone will agree that the acting in Clerks is pretty ordinary at best. :) ...yet the dialog is still memorable, heck even George Lucas refered the Dante and his mate's conversation about the contractors working on the death star in the commentary track for Ep 6(?). :D

triababe
01-18-2005, 01:57 AM
hmmm fwteps does a good job of explaining. I think it's how we express what we view through our characters. Sometimes things just come up. When you write, you write through your characters. You don't plan what you're going to say ahead. It doesn't work like that, it just happens. Really. I know there are times when I wish I could write like so and so. It isn't going to happen. Simply because we're all different people. The old adage: Be yourself. (possibly one of the greatest lines around) is very true. Don't write to impress. You'll lose sight of who your characters are.

fwtep
01-18-2005, 03:33 AM
My friend, upon the merest provocation, will recite all the dialogue for the following scenes:

"You know what they call a Quarter Pounder with cheese in Paris?"
"And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger..."
"You're not your ****ing khakis."
"THIS... is my BOOMSTICK!"
The entire movie "Monty Python and the Holy Grail"
The entire movie "Clerks"

...and I've met others that are like this. They are far from alone.
In my original post I was going to say "with the exception of comedy," because obviously jokes fall into a different category than regular dialog, but I forgot.

As for memorizing Holy Grail and Clerks, that's not what we're talking about here. Other than jokes, how much of the dialog did you remember after the first viewing? Holy Grail has a few instant catch-phrases, like "She's a witch!" and "tis but a flesh wound," but those are part of jokes, which, as I said, is not what we're talking about here.

Fred

fwtep
01-18-2005, 03:36 AM
hmmm fwteps does a good job of explaining. I think it's how we express what we view through our characters. Sometimes things just come up. When you write, you write through your characters. You don't plan what you're going to say ahead. It doesn't work like that, it just happens. Really. I know there are times when I wish I could write like so and so. It isn't going to happen. Simply because we're all different people. The old adage: Be yourself. (possibly one of the greatest lines around) is very true. Don't write to impress. You'll lose sight of who your characters are.Right. One can't write like (for example) Tarantino unless one is writing dialog for one of Tarantino's characters. Good dialog should be unique to the character.

Fred

pem
01-18-2005, 06:34 AM
I'll certainly go with the idea that great dialogue is dialogue jives perfectly with the rest of the film: the characters, the scene, the emotional impact. But the thread is how do you get that?

I'll offer that writing great dialogue is like designing any other part of the film: find something important to say and say it well.

Or in other words, the principles of good dialogue are:

make sure you have something worthwhile to say (does it advance the plot, does it expose the inner workings of the character, does it flesh out the theme of the movie)

say it in a way that adds character to its meaning (how an idea is phrased puts spin or colour or character or added depth of meaning to the words spoken)

This is separate of how an actor delivers the dialogue: a great actor can take lousy dialogue and add depth and meaning to it but still might not be able to take it to greatness if it lacks meaning and character to start off with. I remember one bit of dialogue from Star Wars I, "There's always a bigger fish." and that was the best there was in that script for me. On the other hand, Star Wars IV, had "I'd rather kiss a wookie!", "Use the force, Luke!" "You're far too trusting." "The force is strong in this one." and so on.

What was the main difference? The better dialogue was saying something else besides what the words were saying.

Use the force, luke (and trust me)
You're far too trusting (and I win)
The force is strong in this one (and he's like me)
I'd rather kiss a wookie! (and you're getting me all hot and bothered!)

Don't get too clever: you are not obfuscating, you are expouding and adding detail. If you can be witty about it (and it suits the character/situation/theme) then do it. By witty, I mean statements that have multiple meaning. Like a pun a riddle or a joke: its funny /interesting because it surprises us with a meaning that we weren't thinking about but fits well or perfectly.

I struggle with dialogue unless I act it out. As a character I have to know where did I just come from, where am I going and how am I feeling and what am I thinking when I'm doing this action just like in any other piece of character acting. That's right, dialogue is just another action for a character. Writing good dialogue for a character is easier if you know your character well (though defining how they speak is part of definiing their character: do they always speak plainly, do they always speak flowerly language to their spouse, except when they are drunk, do they usually talk in a tangential or wandering manner...)

To get better at writing dialogue, listen carefully to people talk. A person always talks from their own point of view and more often then not, when commenting about something or someone, they are actually telling you what they think of themselves or what is going on inside them. For example "He's a bastard!" may mean "and I should know as it takes one to know one but I bet I can take him down", or "and I should know as I've had my fair share of bastards in bed and although they've all burned me, I want your fire." Then trim out all the ums and ah's of conversation, not just literally but also the filler that isn't the message.

There, simple eh!

Ok how about a character design analogy: Take a smiley face. Bland. Make one eye bigger than the other, add a green bruise on one side, stretch the smile tighter. Now you are saying something: its a smile but its no longer just "have a nice day" maybe it is an ironic and pitiful "have a nice #%$&@ day" Great dialogue is the same process.

Lunatique
01-18-2005, 06:48 AM
The secret to writing great dialogue has everything to do with the writer's wit and his observational skills. Ever noticed that there are people around you who are just great talkers? They are witty, and people love to hear them talk--people like that can write great dialogues if they had an interest in writing. If you are not one of those people, then you should observe people like that and analyze the pattern of their speech, and the formula that makes their conversations interesting. But mostly, it's an instinctual thing--some might call it talent. You either have it or you don't. It's a seperate skill from forming plots, developing characters..etc.

I've noticed that video game producers tend to be very witty and talkative. Some are full of BS, but that's what makes them so entertaining to listen to--their BS skills are just awesome. If you throw a bunch of video game producers into a room and listen to them shoot the breeze--you'll have some great dialogues.

MarkSnoswell
01-20-2005, 04:22 AM
Here is a short list of the most highly (and widely) recommended books on the topic...

Making a Good Script Great (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0573699216/qid=1106192789/sr=1-2/ref=sr_1_2/104-3811739-9722324?v=glance&s=books) by Linda Seger

Creating Unforgettable Characters (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0805011714/ref=pd_bxgy_text_1/104-3811739-9722324?v=glance&s=books&st=*) by Linda Seger.

Story: Substance, Structure, Style and The Principles of Screenwriting (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0060391685/qid=1106192883/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/104-3811739-9722324?v=glance&s=books)
by Robert McKee.

Art of Creative Writing (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0806502002/qid=1106193202/sr=2-1/ref=pd_ka_b_2_1/104-3811739-9722324) by Lajos Egri

SELF-EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS: How to Edit Yourself into Print (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0060545690/qid=1106193261/sr=2-1/ref=pd_ka_b_2_1/104-3811739-9722324) by Renni Browne, et al.

As someone who wrote (professionally) up to 15,000 words a month I could offer a lot of specific suggestions myself... but I wont. It's more fun to tease you, LOL, but honestly... If you are serious then get one or more of these books and study them first. If you want I can offer a longer list from my personal library, which are all top recommendations.

Hmmm... thereís one recommendation I will give. Share your ideas as much as you like but seek out, and take notice, of people proven to know more than you... People whose advice you will probably have to pay for in the form of buying their book or taking their course.

These forums are part of a much bigger plan for us. I canít give details now... but one small part of those plans involves getting professional writers and editors involved. I have contacted my own fiction editor to see if she is still doing on-line writing courses -- which from first hand experience I can say are really good. I will let you know as soon as I hear back.

Mark

MarkSnoswell
01-20-2005, 05:07 AM
AH ... lots of people asking the same questions all over the place so I have started a dedicated Writing and resources thread http://www.cgtalk.com/showthread.php?t=203595

Mark

spudk
01-20-2005, 09:48 PM
I haven't written a great deal of dialogue, but one trick that I have started using is to just write down an entire conversation between the characters. Write everything down that you think they would say including the "Uh"'s and "erm"'s. It may take a couple of pages. Then go back and distill out the minimun needed to get the point across. It may reduce your several pages down to only 3 or 4 exchanges but it ends up sharp and to the point.

It also allows you to try several different thought branches and may give you more insight into the characters.

Fungusmonkey
01-21-2005, 02:31 AM
One word: READ.

Read as much as you f-ing can. Tarantino learned to write dialogue from reading Elmore Leonard Novels, Kevin Smith learned to write dialogue from reading Gregory McDonald books, etc. etc. etc.

Take a writer (literary or film) that you love. Not like, LOVE. Read as much as you can and really try to understand WHY you love the way they write. Then, use that in your work.

Step Two: RE-WRITE like you've never re-written before.

I don't know a single author, screenwriter, poet, or musician who likes their work at first. They spend days, months, years working and reworking it until it passes for decent in their eyes. With enough work, any script can be great, any dialogue memorable. For some people, one or two passes and it's gold. I'm on the nineteenth version of one of my scripts, and it's just now getting damn decent. See what I mean?

Nemoid
01-21-2005, 10:15 AM
hugo pratt , a great comic book artist and storyteller (read Corto Maltese stories if u can, do yourself a favor) used to say that he mainly was a dialogue author. this was his definition of storyteller. first come s idea, but dialogues are what express this idea mainly and it happens to be in most of media.

dialogues are fundamental.
of course they are based on reality.
listening people is a good first step,
paying attention to how people express themselves, and react to things as well.
then, of course, the author have to imagine himself ad the char , he must know him really well .
basing chars a bit on existing people helps a whole lot.
sometimes the author reachs perfection, sometimes not.

good dialogue is also a matter of rithm. rithm is a good thing to keep attention in media. writing, cinema, comics...

very often, dialogues in movies are not that good or special, in the words used, but they work very good on rithm. this works really fine!

Tarantino dialogues, based on his interpretation of reality, and on having read alot and seen alot of b movies and tv series , are very good, but not always realistic.
if this work for the movie , why not? extreme movie extreme dialogues.

in movies , acting while's the final process, transforms dialogues, and often , directors modify dialogues, because they trust on acting power. for example, Scorsese or Coppola do alot of acting tests, and dialogue is not really definitive, until the scene isn't planned. so they base dialogues alo on what the actor feels is right.

of course, good actors know how to say things in very subtle manners and to give even to silly words a good value.

"Use the Force, Luke"

isn't this a silly phrase ? yet , spoken by Sir Alec Guinness it worked perfectly..:)

Lunatique
01-21-2005, 01:05 PM
Another thing one really has to do is have enough life experiences. You have to get to know all kinds of people and be exposed to all kinds of personalities, age groups, ethnic cultures..etc in order to have a rich palette to draw from. If your only exposure to different people are what's in the movies and TV, then you are getting your inspiration from second hand sources, and those are never the best source to draw from for genuine works of authenticity.

I'm one of those people that can strike up conversations with total strangers while standing in line at the grocery store--part of it is definitely because I'm a writer, and I actively try to broaden my palette to draw from. Another reason is because I just find people fascinating--even an old grandma sitting in the corner can have incredible stories from her life to tell.

SkullboX
01-21-2005, 09:09 PM
You have to get to know all kinds of people and be exposed to all kinds of personalities, age groups, ethnic cultures..etc[...] the best source to draw from for genuine works of authenticity. That's a contradiction. How can any work be genuine or authentic if you forcibly seek experiences you otherwise wouldn't have would you have lived your life the way you wanted?

Unless it's the kind if person who likes to travel, meet people from all over the world and pick their brain, the work is not going to be any more genuine.

Nemoid
01-25-2005, 05:15 PM
i think observating and paying attention to reality- the reality you come from - is the key.

many writers live in the same place they describe, so obviously they know their reality very deeply. that's why they can start to create with it.


then, if u can voyage this is even better. otherwise gathering the more informations you can in books, documentaries and more ,reading informative books and most important using them, can help a whole lot. way too much movies haven't the deepness of a simple book so they're a good place to start from.

Manuel Ponce
01-25-2005, 07:56 PM
And Dazzan, if Bogart said "Heres looking into those big browns,baby!" I think it would have been memorable too, because he'd have made it memorable. Yes, part of what makes it work is the movie and the character, but when you have a script that works on the character and structure level, then add a good actor, the dialog will almost automatically work, as long as it's at least competent. In other words, the actual dialog on the page is less important than those other elements, and the dialog is made memorable *by* those elements, not because it's so clever and well written.

I think that's the key to the question of the post. The "Character" is the one that makes a dialog memorable, so lets take for instance the movie "Aliens" where Vazquez say's : "Lets' ROCK!, whould anyone remember that if a conservative accountant said that in an NYPD episode. correct me if im wrong but I've written for game mod's and the newspaper the Reader in Chicago.

DAZZAN
01-26-2005, 11:59 AM
I think that's the key to the question of the post. The "Character" is the one that makes a dialog memorable, so lets take for instance the movie "Aliens" where Vazquez say's : "Lets' ROCK!, whould anyone remember that if a conservative accountant said that in an NYPD episode. correct me if im wrong but I've written for game mod's and the newspaper the Reader in Chicago.

Sorry thats FWTEP you quoteing who was quoteing me.....I dont believe in what he`s written as i had said,and yours seems to to a sound bite quote than elements from a scene.

Also thats both of you who seem to give advice....then have the need to put up some writeing credentials,I myself was not impressed by him or your credentials as writers...if you have a problem with my first post about 94% of people cannot write memerable dialogue,and 97% of people who think they can direct.

Well it was my opinion,but at least you can take it or leave it,and no i will not give out my credentials as i always hate people who do that.

I thought this was a very risky subject to talk about,but i thought you would not meet people who say blah blah blah,then try to back it up by saying they have done this or that.

There are always bigger fish in the pond.

andrewBwinter
01-26-2005, 03:05 PM
Here is a short list of the most highly (and widely) recommended books on the topic...

Making a Good Script Great (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0573699216/qid=1106192789/sr=1-2/ref=sr_1_2/104-3811739-9722324?v=glance&s=books)by Linda Seger

Creating Unforgettable Characters (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0805011714/ref=pd_bxgy_text_1/104-3811739-9722324?v=glance&s=books&st=*) by Linda Seger.

Story: Substance, Structure, Style and The Principles of Screenwriting (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0060391685/qid=1106192883/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/104-3811739-9722324?v=glance&s=books)
by Robert McKee.

Art of Creative Writing (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0806502002/qid=1106193202/sr=2-1/ref=pd_ka_b_2_1/104-3811739-9722324) by Lajos Egri

SELF-EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS: How to Edit Yourself into Print (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0060545690/qid=1106193261/sr=2-1/ref=pd_ka_b_2_1/104-3811739-9722324) by Renni Browne, et al.

As someone who wrote (professionally) up to 15,000 words a month I could offer a lot of specific suggestions myself... but I wont. It's more fun to tease you, LOL, but honestly... If you are serious then get one or more of these books and study them first. If you want I can offer a longer list from my personal library, which are all top recommendations.

Hmmm... thereís one recommendation I will give. Share your ideas as much as you like but seek out, and take notice, of people proven to know more than you... People whose advice you will probably have to pay for in the form of buying their book or taking their course.

These forums are part of a much bigger plan for us. I canít give details now... but one small part of those plans involves getting professional writers and editors involved. I have contacted my own fiction editor to see if she is still doing on-line writing courses -- which from first hand experience I can say are really good. I will let you know as soon as I hear back.

Mark

In addition:
The Foundations of Screenwriting, Syd Field
The Tools of Screenwriting: A Writers Guide to the Craft and Elements of a Screenplay by Howard, David & Edward Mabley
How to Write for Animation, Scott Jefferey

Having recently finished a screenwriting for media course at the local college, I highly recomend it so you can get an understanding of story basics first, then the dialogue seems to come from the scene. Hard to explain.

CG seems to be in the "kiss" stage, like the first motion picutre, (the kiss) which was fascinating because of the technology and not the story, which came later on film's evolution. A good story in traditional 2D animation will outstrip a CG short any day of the week. (My 3 year old daughters just got Garfield and while Jennifer Love Hewitt is certainly a piece to view, the story lacks and Bill Murray's voice as Garfield is pedantic and boring, but Garfield is animated really well)

Take a course. Learn some things and see what you can bang together.

"My hovercraft has eels" - Python circa 1970's

best,
abw

jmBoekestein
02-01-2005, 06:43 PM
My friend, upon the merest provocation, will recite all the dialogue for the following scenes:

"You know what they call a Quarter Pounder with cheese in Paris?"
"And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger..."
"You're not your ****ing khakis."
"THIS... is my BOOMSTICK!"
The entire movie "Monty Python and the Holy Grail"
The entire movie "Clerks"

...and I've met others that are like this. They are far from alone.

Hey I do that all the time! I also think that there are some bogus comments in here, people are pointing to a little element in order to prove the whole. Why do that?

-bleep-
"So certain are you?"

whah waz thah?
What's wrong with me?

<starts twitching and falls over>

Nucleo
02-02-2005, 10:59 AM
Why, Mr. Anderson, why? Why, why do you do it? Why, why get up? Why keep fighting?... Is it [for] freedom or truth, perhaps peace--could it be for love? Illusions, Mr. Anderson, vagaries of perception. Temporary constructs of a feeble human intellect trying desperately to justify an existence that is without meaning or purpose.

:p Thats a monologue but its awesome!!

Ilikesoup
02-11-2005, 10:52 PM
The secret to writing great dialogue has everything to do with the writer's wit and his observational skills. Ever noticed that there are people around you who are just great talkers? They are witty, and people love to hear them talk--people like that can write great dialogues if they had an interest in writing. If you are not one of those people, then you should observe people like that and analyze the pattern of their speech, and the formula that makes their conversations interesting. But mostly, it's an instinctual thing--some might call it talent. You either have it or you don't. It's a seperate skill from forming plots, developing characters..etc.


Keep in mind that you're probably not hearing the first telling of this tale. The people who tell a great story are good with people and they like to talk a lot. Every time they retell the tale, they eliminate useless detail and embellish the good ones. Some people have a knack for carving a great tale out of a random occurence but it's definitely a learned and practiced skill.

As for building a scene through great dialogue, you have to treat the scene like you're planning a vacation. Know your starting point -- where you are and what the audience knows. Know where you're going -- what information you will introduce during the scene. Know how many stops you will make along the way -- how "jokey" and loose the dialogue will be or how direct. Write a draft and load it with ideas, then revise, revise revise on consecutive drafts, eliminating stray thoughts and bad jokes. The last few revisions can be used for spicing up what's left of the scene -- rewording things to add to characterization or intensify a mood.

I agree with fwtep when he said that dialogue is not real speech. In real life you can spend 4 hours in an International House of Pancakes getting free refills on your coffee. In a movie you might have to boil down that same conversation into a 4 minute scene. Lastly, the thing that makes dialogue great isn't how realistic it is, although a lack of realism can kill a scene. Great dialogue makes us consider something new that hadn't noticed before or asks questions that we might be afraid to ask.

"When Harry Met Sally" (by Nora Ephron)--
Harry's dialogue with Sally about why men and women can't maintain a friendship if they're attracted to each other because sex always gets in the way. People may agree or disagree with the statement, but it's a valid point of view. A guy talking to a girl about the "laws" of sexual attraction is risky because he might get a quick slap in the face. Sally counters with her point of view and the audience is left to consider who is right. A real life conversation would probably involve palm sweat and would drag on for an hour.

For the record, I'm not great at writing dialogue or telling stories -- I'm more often the quiet one by the punch bowl at parties. However, having acted in college and having watched too many movies (both good and bad) I really appreciate when it's done well.

jmBoekestein
02-16-2005, 01:45 AM
everything is a learned and practiced skill, but a guy in my class has only just turned eighteen and he's in filmschool now studying to become a screenplay writer. That's odd at the least, I'd say that it is something that is just a part of your character. But just as you can learn to deal with things you can probably learn to make better dialogue. But it definitely requires a "people-person".

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