Professor Michael Green

Sizin üçün oyun:

Google Play'də əldə edin


Yüklə 481 b.
tarix20.05.2018
ölçüsü481 b.


Professor Michael Green

  • Professor Michael Green


Constructing the Scene

  • Constructing the Scene

  • The Principles of Construction

  • Techniques for Construction

  • Writing Exercise # 10



The Function of Dialogue

  • The Function of Dialogue

  • The Characteristics of Good Dialogue

  • Techniques and Tips

  • Writing Exercise # 11



Lesson 12: Part I

  • Lesson 12: Part I



We think of dialogue as conversation between characters in drama or literature.

  • We think of dialogue as conversation between characters in drama or literature.

  • But in any fictional medium, dialogue isn’t really conversation – it is the illusion of conversation.

  • Real conversation is random, repetitive, and often pointless, while dramatic dialogue is ordered and purposeful.



Writing good dialogue takes lots of practice. Some screenwriters have a natural gift for turning a phrase, using humor or innuendo to deepen the meaning of a film conversation.

  • Writing good dialogue takes lots of practice. Some screenwriters have a natural gift for turning a phrase, using humor or innuendo to deepen the meaning of a film conversation.

  • Most people, though, need to work hard to achieve this.

  • A few strategies for success include actively listening to the patterns of speech that people use and developing an ear for words.

  • You can also take notes of exchanges as you hear them.



The role of dialogue in a screenplay is to:

  • The role of dialogue in a screenplay is to:

  • Advance the plot towards its climax.

  • Advance the audience’s understanding of the main characters.

  • Advance the audience’s understanding of the story by providing information which cannot otherwise be shown.

  • Set the tone for the film, especially comedy.



Film dialogue must be crafted within the context of character and conflict.

  • Film dialogue must be crafted within the context of character and conflict.

  • It must give the appearance that this is what a specific character would say under a specific set of circumstances.

  • Yet, it cannot stray too far from the main topic of the screenplay.

  • If a line does not serve one of the basic functions listed above, you should consider cutting it from the page.



Dialogue generally makes up the largest portion of a screenplay and each scene also.

  • Dialogue generally makes up the largest portion of a screenplay and each scene also.

  • When dialogue advances the plot, it relates directly to conflict.

  • That doesn’t mean that the dialogue only describes specific plot-oriented details, but the dialogue helps illustrate the progress of the conflict. It shows how the conflict affects the characters and how they react to it.



What characters say and don’t say is a main way that they reveal and define themselves in life and film. How a person speaks can be very telling about where she comes from, her level of education, etc.

  • What characters say and don’t say is a main way that they reveal and define themselves in life and film. How a person speaks can be very telling about where she comes from, her level of education, etc.

  • Her choice of words to describe experiences provides hints to her deeper nature.

  • Dialogue allows the audience to more specifically comprehend the character and distinguish her from others.



Physical action is considered the best revelation of character in a film, but sometimes only dialogue can expose the real character motivations.

  • Physical action is considered the best revelation of character in a film, but sometimes only dialogue can expose the real character motivations.

  • Such dialogue should always be carefully considered. If a speech is too precise, it will ring false and lose impact, because in real life these kinds of disclosures are rarely made, and then usually under stress.

      • Collateral


A film character should face extraordinary circumstances when he is compelled to drop his guard and reveal his innermost feelings.

  • A film character should face extraordinary circumstances when he is compelled to drop his guard and reveal his innermost feelings.

  • When character revelation of this sort is properly motivated, it provides a powerful comment on the character – all the more so when it portrays him in a radically different light from what the audience expects.

      • Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront
      • Clip






Generally, dialogue plays some part in conveying the main exposition.

  • Generally, dialogue plays some part in conveying the main exposition.

  • But as a film progresses, more information is needed as characters make discoveries. Many of these discoveries are visual, but often they need confirmation and elucidation through dialogue.

  • Information given in dialogue must be consequential to the story or characters – eliminate it if it is not.



When dialogue helps set the tone of a film it’s usually a comedy.

  • When dialogue helps set the tone of a film it’s usually a comedy.

  • A sense of foreboding or catastrophe is best achieved through visuals and drama, not through poetic or overly dramatic dialogue.

  • But comedy relies on humor, funny lines, jokes and gags – visual and verbal. When dialogue crackles with quips and jokes, audiences respond with laughter and it can set the tone in seconds.



Lesson 12: Part II

  • Lesson 12: Part II



Again, dialogue isn’t real conversation, but the illusion of it – invented, contrived conversation that satisfies the demands of the scene.

  • Again, dialogue isn’t real conversation, but the illusion of it – invented, contrived conversation that satisfies the demands of the scene.

  • But it must sound real to work. If dialogue sounds stilted, false, corny or clichéd, it can destroy a worthy story.

  • Dialogue has the same characteristics in features or short films. It works best when it is clear, to the point, advances the tension and is subtle.



A character’s individual voice is one of the most important ways by which he reveals himself. It reflects where he has come from and where he has gone.

  • A character’s individual voice is one of the most important ways by which he reveals himself. It reflects where he has come from and where he has gone.

  • It gives an indication of how he thinks, what’s important to him and some degree of his psychology.



Patterns of speech

  • Patterns of speech

  • Accents and dialects

  • Phrases and expressions

  • that indicate (ethnic,

  • cultural) background

  • Grammar

  • Jargon

  • Slang (time and place)



Through dialogue you can illustrate differences between characters. One character may be philosophical or literal, make allusions or be direct.

  • Through dialogue you can illustrate differences between characters. One character may be philosophical or literal, make allusions or be direct.

  • A sense of humor can define one character while a lack of one can define another.

  • Emotion often forces people to revive speech patterns they had given up or hidden.

  • Pause the lecture and watch the clip from Pulp Fiction.



To understand how different people speak, you need to develop an ear for words.

  • To understand how different people speak, you need to develop an ear for words.

  • When you introduce characters whose backgrounds are different from yours, research becomes a true ally.

  • Research lends authenticity to a plot and milieu, but also produces a colorful and esoteric language that gives any screenplay authority and brings it to life.



In film, dialogue needs to be understood the first time it’s heard. You can’t rerun a passage in a film and take the time to think about it the way you can when you reread a book.

  • In film, dialogue needs to be understood the first time it’s heard. You can’t rerun a passage in a film and take the time to think about it the way you can when you reread a book.

  • The audience is listening to the dialogue and has to grasp its meaning before the film moves ahead.

  • The best dialogue is usually simple. It comes in short, ordered sentences that give the illusion of real speech.



In real life, people tend to talk in short sentences or sentence fragments, with simple direct words. They interrupt each other, repeat and overlap.

  • In real life, people tend to talk in short sentences or sentence fragments, with simple direct words. They interrupt each other, repeat and overlap.

  • Effective dialogue cannot follow these patterns – it will lose momentum and power.

  • Only use repetition, interruption and overlapping dialogue for specific purposes.





Poetic, flashy, and complex words and sentences generally confuse the dialogue's meaning. It can make dialogue hard to follow – both listening and reading.

  • Poetic, flashy, and complex words and sentences generally confuse the dialogue's meaning. It can make dialogue hard to follow – both listening and reading.

  • This doesn’t mean never use poetry or flashy phrases, express complex thoughts or esoteric language, especially depending on what kind character you are creating.

  • Overall, dialogue should strive for a combination of realism, poetry and purpose within the story.



Dialogue, like a scene, progresses to its most dramatic point. Lines, whether comic or dramatic, must develop the innate tension such progression contains.

  • Dialogue, like a scene, progresses to its most dramatic point. Lines, whether comic or dramatic, must develop the innate tension such progression contains.

  • In comedy, lines develop to a punch line, the funny twist that makes you laugh. Good writers save the joke until the end of the speech so as not to get in the way of important material.

  • Always save the strongest lines for scene finales to maximize their impact.



Many screenplays depend too heavily on dialogue to communicate every aspect of the story.

  • Many screenplays depend too heavily on dialogue to communicate every aspect of the story.

  • But the best dialogue is lean. Brevity is more valuable than amplification in a screenplay, especially since a screenwriter relies more on the visual aspects of a story than the dialogue to advance it.

  • As long as clarity isn’t an issue, cuts will only strengthen the dialogue, not weaken it.



Long speeches work better in novels and plays than in films and in film you must have a good reason to include one.

  • Long speeches work better in novels and plays than in films and in film you must have a good reason to include one.

  • Any passage running more than four or five lines should be scrutinized for editing or removal. The writer needs to consider length and convey information quickly.

  • An exception is a long speech used for character revelation. Since this is often the point of the film, the writer can take time to maximize the impact of the speech.



When dialogue is too direct and too clear, it often rings false, especially when the speeches involve emotional issues.

  • When dialogue is too direct and too clear, it often rings false, especially when the speeches involve emotional issues.

  • In real life, most people have difficulty expressing or communicating emotions. Others don’t want to confront emotional issues and talk around them. People tend to want to conceal or deny emotions and dialogue should reflect that.



Emotion is at the heart of a film and it must be forced out into the open where the audience can identify with the characters who are feeling it.

  • Emotion is at the heart of a film and it must be forced out into the open where the audience can identify with the characters who are feeling it.

  • Often beginning screenwriters will avoid emotion and conflict in their writing or are too obvious with their use. Both extremes can jeopardize whatever good will the audience may feel for the film.



The art of screenwriting is to capture character’s indirection so that the audience grasps the true, deeper meaning of what’s happening until the character’s force each other to reveal their real motivations.

  • The art of screenwriting is to capture character’s indirection so that the audience grasps the true, deeper meaning of what’s happening until the character’s force each other to reveal their real motivations.

  • When characters imply, rather than state on the nose what they are feeling, it allows the audience to make associations and connect more deeply with the characters.

  • Pause and watch the clip from Casablanca.





Once you basically know what a scene is about, rough it out, without censoring any thoughts or dialogue. Let the characters speak in order to find the heart of the scene.

  • Once you basically know what a scene is about, rough it out, without censoring any thoughts or dialogue. Let the characters speak in order to find the heart of the scene.

  • Often out of this one or two lines will be real gems and say everything necessary – you can toss out the rest. Because of repetitions within the scene, a few lines might express an important line better than others.

  • Save these lines for the most significant places in the scene and cut the rest.



Now look, word by word, at the dialogue and the scene. Most of the speeches should be no longer than one or two lines. (Watch your formatting so you are sure of the length.)

  • Now look, word by word, at the dialogue and the scene. Most of the speeches should be no longer than one or two lines. (Watch your formatting so you are sure of the length.)

  • Eliminate clichés, looking for more original ways to express your ideas, then rewrite, juggling beats of the scene around and rearranging lines.



Always read your dialogue out loud. The best indication of how it will sound is how it rolls off your tongue. We write dialogue to be spoken and it must sound natural.

  • Always read your dialogue out loud. The best indication of how it will sound is how it rolls off your tongue. We write dialogue to be spoken and it must sound natural.

  • Reading the dialogue out loud will also help you determine if all the characters sound alike – remember, you want individuals.

  • Saying the dialogue can also indicate whether or not emotion builds through a scene. Acting out the lines can help illustrate the emotional points.



Remember that not all communication is verbal. Even though you don’t want to write too many stage directions into your scenes, you can still indicate nonverbal language.

  • Remember that not all communication is verbal. Even though you don’t want to write too many stage directions into your scenes, you can still indicate nonverbal language.

  • Though you will want to keep them to a minimum, you can include gestures, facial expressions, and other body language to express actions and reactions.



Characters normally don’t address each other by name and names do not need to be used right away in a screenplay. Wait for a natural moment.

  • Characters normally don’t address each other by name and names do not need to be used right away in a screenplay. Wait for a natural moment.

  • When writing a scene with multiple characters you may use – but not overuse - dialogue cues to suggest who is talking to whom:

  • RICK

  • (to Ilsa)

  • You’re being cheated.



Always try to write from the specific emotion behind each scene.

  • Always try to write from the specific emotion behind each scene.

  • To illuminate conflict and emotion, dialogue is best in face to face confrontation.

  • Don’t overuse the words “yes” and “no.”

  • Don’t overuse profanity/name-calling.

  • Soliloquy and asides don’t work well in film.

  • Avoid clichés!

  • Make your last line memorable!





Watch the short film from the lesson, The Girls Guitar Club, and analyze how the character of the two protagonists is conveyed through dialogue. Is the dialogue in the film effective? Why or why not?

  • Watch the short film from the lesson, The Girls Guitar Club, and analyze how the character of the two protagonists is conveyed through dialogue. Is the dialogue in the film effective? Why or why not?



Compare and contrast the dialogue in the clips for Casablanca and Pulp Fiction in terms of the concept from the lesson. How is the function of the dialogue different in the two scenes? How is it similar.

  • Compare and contrast the dialogue in the clips for Casablanca and Pulp Fiction in terms of the concept from the lesson. How is the function of the dialogue different in the two scenes? How is it similar.



Write a paragraph for each of the main characters in your film describing his or her voice. Make sure you apply some of the concepts on voice we learned from the lesson. Then go back to your script and begin to tweak the dialogue to reflect this new detail.

  • Write a paragraph for each of the main characters in your film describing his or her voice. Make sure you apply some of the concepts on voice we learned from the lesson. Then go back to your script and begin to tweak the dialogue to reflect this new detail.



Next Lecture: How do I Embed Themes Into my Story

  • Next Lecture: How do I Embed Themes Into my Story




Dostları ilə paylaş:
Orklarla döyüş:

Google Play'də əldə edin


Verilənlər bazası müəlliflik hüququ ilə müdafiə olunur ©muhaz.org 2017
rəhbərliyinə müraciət

    Ana səhifə