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Old 11-02-2007, 09:11 AM   #61
AaronB
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Default Re: On-the-Nose Dialogue

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Originally Posted by TwoBrad Bradley View Post
When telling/showing the truth, if you have a choice, choose action.
Excellent advice. This is a rationale I can understand.
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Old 11-02-2007, 10:44 AM   #62
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Default Re: On-the-Nose Dialogue

The job of dialog is to reflect character. Everything that character says should reflect who they are as a person. That doesn't mean that it has to advance the story, because the scene the character is in should be doing that.

Go watch a movie like Key Largo, or Harold and Maude, if you want to have a good idea of how to use dialog, and how dialog should be used.

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Old 11-02-2007, 11:37 AM   #63
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Default Re: On-the-Nose Dialogue

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Originally Posted by TwoBrad Bradley View Post
On-the-nose dialogue is truth.
Dialogue as sub-text masks the truth.

Action is truth.
It is more difficult to mask the truth with action.

When telling/showing the truth, if you have a choice, choose action.
Great post..

Couldn't put it better myself..
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Old 11-02-2007, 07:55 PM   #64
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Default Re: On-the-Nose Dialogue

I just googled: what good screenplay dialogue contains; then went to the following link
http://www.hollywoodsymposium.com/tips.htm#Dialogue
from which I copied the following paragraph about dialogue. (I added the bolds)

DIALOGUE
Good screenplays contain good dialogue. Strong dialogue is lean, easily spoken, generally has no more than two or three lines per speech, and it does not use lots and lots of parentheticals telling actors how to act. Meaning should be found in and under the dialogue itself, and should not need to be explained parenthetically. Powerful dialogue possesses the qualities of fine music--with a rhythm and melody. It projects character attitudes and conflict. It offers up exposition very sparingly, and often imparts meaning through subtext and by implication. Successful dialogue conveys the personality of the character speaking, so that all characters don't sound alike. And rather than explaining people, good dialogue subtly reveals the inner truth of human beings.
Genuinely fine dialogue is hard to write. But have you given it your best and most considered shot?


I think it summarizes a lot that's been discussed so far on this thread.

Last edited by jonpiper : 11-02-2007 at 08:25 PM.
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Old 11-02-2007, 10:11 PM   #65
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Default Re: On-the-Nose Dialogue

Risking the wrath of you experienced screenwriters out there who find it beneath them to copy from an internet page, I copied the following

The purpose of dialogue in screenplay writing
-Moves story forward
-Communicates facts and information to the reader
-Reveals character
-Establishes character relationships
-Makes your chracters real, natural and spontaneous
-Reveals the conflicts of the story and characters
-Reveals the emotional states of your characters
-Comments on the action

www.wildsound-filmmaking-feedback-events.com/screenplay_character.html

Those are all possible purposes for dialogue.

However, I think GREAT dialogue does not communicate many facts and much information to the reader nor does it frequently comment on the action. Too much of that kind of dialogue is OTN.
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Old 11-02-2007, 10:58 PM   #66
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Default Re: On-the-Nose Dialogue

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Originally Posted by jonpiper View Post
However, I think GREAT dialogue does not communicate many facts and much information to the reader nor does it frequently comment on the action. Too much of that kind of dialogue is OTN.
I completely disagree. GREAT dialogue does communicate facts and information but it does it in a subtle way so that it's not OTN and you don't even realize you're being "informed" of anything. Commenting on the action could mean any number of things. That's open to interpretation. I don't need an oral OTN play-by-play by the characters, but people do have a tendency to talk while they're doing *stuff* and often that conversation has to do with the *stuff* that they're doing. How characters react differently (what they do and SAY) to a situation (the action of a scene) will reveal a lot about each character and help establish character relationships and all of the others on the list. It's all intertwined.
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Old 11-03-2007, 06:04 AM   #67
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Default Re: On-the-Nose Dialogue

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonpiper View Post
I just googled: what good screenplay dialogue contains; then went to the following link
http://www.hollywoodsymposium.com/tips.htm#Dialogue
from which I copied the following paragraph about dialogue. (I added the bolds)

DIALOGUE
Good screenplays contain good dialogue. Strong dialogue is lean, easily spoken, generally has no more than two or three lines per speech, and it does not use lots and lots of parentheticals telling actors how to act. Meaning should be found in and under the dialogue itself, and should not need to be explained parenthetically. Powerful dialogue possesses the qualities of fine music--with a rhythm and melody. It projects character attitudes and conflict. It offers up exposition very sparingly, and often imparts meaning through subtext and by implication. Successful dialogue conveys the personality of the character speaking, so that all characters don't sound alike. And rather than explaining people, good dialogue subtly reveals the inner truth of human beings.
Genuinely fine dialogue is hard to write. But have you given it your best and most considered shot?


I think it summarizes a lot that's been discussed so far on this thread.
Very good post.. That's the official purpose of dialogue and is a good definition of what it "is" and how it "functions"..

Yes, very good..
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Old 11-03-2007, 01:07 PM   #68
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Default Re: On-the-Nose Dialogue

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Originally Posted by velysai View Post
I completely disagree. GREAT dialogue does communicate facts and information but it does it in a subtle way so that it's not OTN and you don't even realize you're being "informed" of anything. Commenting on the action could mean any number of things. That's open to interpretation. I don't need an oral OTN play-by-play by the characters, but people do have a tendency to talk while they're doing *stuff* and often that conversation has to do with the *stuff* that they're doing. How characters react differently (what they do and SAY) to a situation (the action of a scene) will reveal a lot about each character and help establish character relationships and all of the others on the list. It's all intertwined.
Thank you for the clarification. I think we're both saying the same thing.

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Originally Posted by jonpiper http://messageboard.donedealpro.com/...s/viewpost.gif
However, I think GREAT dialogue does not communicate many facts and much information to the reader nor does it frequently comment on the action. Too much of that kind of dialogue is OTN.


Great dialogue can communicate facts and information and it can comment on the action, but it does so subtly, as you pointed out. What I was trying to say is I don't think great dialogue hits the reader over the head with facts, information, and character comments on the action.
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Old 11-03-2007, 07:03 PM   #69
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Default Re: On-the-Nose Dialogue

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Originally Posted by jonpiper View Post
Thank you for the clarification. I think we're both saying the same thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonpiper http://messageboard.donedealpro.com/...s/viewpost.gif
However, I think GREAT dialogue does not communicate many facts and much information to the reader nor does it frequently comment on the action. Too much of that kind of dialogue is OTN.


Great dialogue can communicate facts and information and it can comment on the action, but it does so subtly, as you pointed out. What I was trying to say is I don't think great dialogue hits the reader over the head with facts, information, and character comments on the action.
Ah, I see we're coming at it from two different sides. A slight inference misunderstanding. I think it's safe to say just try not to write OTN dialogue. Ever. Period. That's a nice goal, eh?
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Old 11-05-2007, 07:24 AM   #70
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Default Re: On-the-Nose Dialogue

I had a teacher who made us go through our scripts and cross out all the dialogue we'd put in because we were convinced it was necessary for the audience to understand our stories.

In the vast majority of cases, our scripts read much better without it.

I'm not saying there's never a need for exposition, just that we usually believe we need a lot more than we do.
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