bad guys = bad dialogue

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  • bad guys = bad dialogue

    Hello!

    I was just writing a dialogue and discovered, that it's really hard to make tough guys sound intreresting and threatening in unusual ways. Usually they sound too over-the-top, then too pulp-fictionish.
    How do you to make your baddies dialogue fresh and intimidating?

    Thanks,

    Mankiboi

  • #2
    Re: bad guys = bad dialogue

    well, you have to not think that they're evil. you have to figure out makes the person tick, and understand his viewpoint. most ppl want to view themselves positively, and i have a hard time believing ppl are just evil. they may do evil things, but you have to figure out what the rationale is.

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    • #3
      Re: bad guys = bad dialogue

      I could tell you, but then I'd have to bust all your teeth with this claw hammer and cut your tongue out with this rusty hacksaw to make sure you don't squeal, see?

      If your bad guys make a threat, make sure it makes the audience flinch along with the victim. Think Marsellus Wallace in Pulp Fiction.

      Or maybe no threat at all is even more threatening than a threat would be. When the bad guy is the most reasonable or charming character in the room, tension starts to sweat like nitro on a hot day.

      Shrug, my thoughts, for what they're worth.

      -Derek
      -> * <- Click on this magic star to be transported to my website. Ruby slippers optional.
      ________________________________________________
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      • #4
        Re: bad guys = bad dialogue

        I was just writing a dialogue and discovered, that it's really hard to make tough guys sound intreresting and threatening in unusual ways.

        What do you mean by unusual? You mean you want a tough guy to sound like a tough guy but talk like Richard Simmons? If you're character is the "tough guy" I'd stick with his sound.
        Joan: What does the "T" stand for?
        Jack: Trustworthy.

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        • #5
          Re: bad guys = bad dialogue

          Do what I say or I'll put a can of tuna down your throat and shove a hungry cat up your azz.

          Fortune favors the bold - Virgil

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          • #6
            Re: bad guys = bad dialogue

            It depends on who they are talking to.

            If it's one baddie to another, the manner and word choice would be different then if it's a baddie to a goodie.

            At anyrate, just remember everyone's motivations in the scene. There will always be one character that has control over the scene, the upperhand ~ even if it's just psychological.

            I would stay away from claw hammers and tuna cans unless it's a comedy. If the baddies are supposed to be truely threatening, I tend to be more scared (and intrigued) by a a guy that can be charming one second, a cold intellectual in the next, and then suddenly lash out with a fit of violence. (Violent toward his own underlings is even more bad-ass, I think).

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            • #7
              Re: bad guys = bad dialogue

              I found your Pulp Fiction reference odd.

              I mean, for all the dialog said by "bad people" in that film.
              I didn't think any of it was "On the Nose".

              The characters you're describing are more like bad guys from Corky Romano or something.

              S

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              • #8
                Re: bad guys = bad dialogue

                By referencing Pulp Fiction I meant that cool-talking criminals are so overused. I think it's a little bit unbelievable, when criminal talks this way. You'll probably never hear this kind of cool threatening in real life. Yes, it's interesting in movies but still...
                Thank you for your advice!

                Mankiboi

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                • #9
                  Re: bad guys = bad dialogue

                  Yes, it's interesting in movies
                  And that's why dialogue is crafted - so it is interesting.

                  Real life dialogue is boring. Dramatic dialogue is entertaining. It is the essence of conversation, not the imitation of it. It is the things we wish we had said. It is action through discourse and like a character's physical action, the verbal action should be just as interesting and cinematic in style.

                  Fortune favors the bold - Virgil

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                  • #10
                    Re: bad guys = bad dialogue

                    1) There are no bad guys - just different points of view. So think of your *characters* - who are they? What are they like? What makes them unique? What makes them *interesting*? How does that come out through dialogue? That's the same thing you do with any other character.

                    2) Subtext. Skill. Dialogue isn't easy. You have to find intersting ways to say things. That's work. Make sure that what they say isn't *eactly* what they mean - that there's a shading to it, or that they say one thing and do something else. Or that they use a metapor or some sort. Just like any other dialogue.

                    3) Unusual Character. This is a Tarantino trick - you take a stock character or situation and turn it on its head. Okay, imagine what your threat scene would be like if the "bad guy" was a typical Jewish mother just trying to get the person being threatened to do what's best for themselves. Write that dialogue. Okay, now imagine the threat is coming from a High School cheerleader obsessed with being popular. Okay, imagine the thret is coming from some hottoe trying to talk the victim into bed (even though it may be a dirt nap)? See - each piece of dialogue is unique and different because you are recasting the situation or giving us a unique character.

                    My absolute favorite threat scene is from Robert Altman's THE LONG GOODBYE. The gangster villain (Mark Rydell) is telling our hero Marlowe (Elliott Gould) how much he loves his girlfriend (some hot chick - I don't remember the actress' name). He's caressing her, asking Marlowe if he's ever seen such a beautiful woman. He's sipping a coke and caressing his girl and telling Marlowe how much he loves her, how beautifulo her face is... then he smashes the coke bottle against her face - slashing skin off her! Blood sprays all over Marlowe from the now-screaming girlfriend. Rydell says: "I love her. I don't even like you." Now *that's* a threat!

                    - Bill
                    Free Script Tips:
                    http://www.scriptsecrets.net

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                    • #11
                      Re: bad guys = bad dialogue

                      My absolute favorite threat scene is from Robert Altman's THE LONG GOODBYE. The gangster villain (Mark Rydell) is telling our hero Marlowe (Elliott Gould) how much he loves his girlfriend (some hot chick - I don't remember the actress' name). He's caressing her, asking Marlowe if he's ever seen such a beautiful woman. He's sipping a coke and caressing his girl and telling Marlowe how much he loves her, how beautifulo her face is... then he smashes the coke bottle against her face - slashing skin off her! Blood sprays all over Marlowe from the now-screaming girlfriend. Rydell says: "I love her. I don't even like you." Now *that's* a threat!
                      A deeply weird, deeply disturbing scene. One of my all time fave movies. You know, the governator was in this one too. Don't recall if he had any lines.
                      If you really like it you can have the rights
                      It could make a million for you overnight

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                      • #12
                        Re: bad guys = bad dialogue

                        I guess you're really asking about how to write 'tough-guy' dialogue (as opposed to bad guy).

                        To me, the best tough guy threat ever was :

                        "I think in all fairness, I should explain to you exactly what it is that I do. For instance tomorrow morning ill get up nice and early, take a walk down over to the bank and... walk in and see and uh... if you don't have my money for me, I'll... crack your fvckin' head wide-open in front of everybody in the bank. And just about the time that I'm comin' out of jail, hopefully, you'll be coming out of your coma. And guess what? I'll split your fvckin' head open again. 'Cause I'm fvckin' stupid. I don't give a fvck about jail. That's my business. That's what I do."


                        It's Nicky Santoro in Casino. It's not the physical threats that are so disturbing. It's the revelation that you are dealing with a complete sociopath.

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                        • #13
                          Re: bad guys = bad dialogue

                          Originally posted by wcmartell
                          My absolute favorite threat scene is from Robert Altman's THE LONG GOODBYE. The gangster villain (Mark Rydell) is telling our hero Marlowe (Elliott Gould) how much he loves his girlfriend (some hot chick - I don't remember the actress' name). He's caressing her, asking Marlowe if he's ever seen such a beautiful woman. He's sipping a coke and caressing his girl and telling Marlowe how much he loves her, how beautifulo her face is... then he smashes the coke bottle against her face - slashing skin off her! Blood sprays all over Marlowe from the now-screaming girlfriend. Rydell says: "I love her. I don't even like you." Now *that's* a threat!
                          You know, it's fortunate that between watching many movies and visiting screenwriting boards, I can catch that scenes I've written into my scripts like this one have already been done in other films.

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