Dialogue question

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  • #16
    Re: Dialogue question

    Shonda went on to say that her actors are explicit in their reciting of lines, the play every comma and every ellipsis.

    i just finished David Mamet's Masterclass and it was hilarious and really insightful.

    just started James Patterson's Masterclass this morning on my walkabout. i really like it. he's got great advice and a passionate energy when he talks about writing that every writer should feel.

    he feels like one of us when talking about rejection. 31 publishers rejected his first novel and he said most would've stopped submitting after 6 rejections, he said you have to believe in yourself. don't give up.

    i have the master access pass and so far i've taken:
    Aaron Sorkin
    Ron Howard
    Jodi Foster
    Shonda Rhimes
    David Mamet
    Gordon Ramsay (two Masterclasses) he has some good insights on being the best, loved it and can apply his attitudes to writing. haha.
    James Patterson - in progress

    PS: i use direction. i've learned the rules and i know how to break them. that said, i use them only when the are necessary to communicate the story either with a specific stylized approach (how the scene is to be seen visually) or when it's necessary for clarity's sake. and of course, i always write scene transitions. it's one of the small pleasures, really.
    "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

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    • #17
      Re: Dialogue question

      Nobody calls the police if you do not write it a certain way.

      That said, the preferable way is to use parentheticals for character directions, which are things like emotions, facial expressions, and movements that do not involve change of position (e.g., dialogue with a parenthetical that says "shivering" or "shaking" is all right).

      Other movements are stage directions, and these should appear in action lines.

      One nuance here: Certain things would work all right in character direction (in my opinion) or in action lines.
      BOARD CHAIRMAN
      (trying to stand)
      Excuse my weakness, gentlemen. I am still
      recovering from an injury.

      OR

      The Board Chairman struggles to stand as he begins to speak.

      BOARD CHAIRMAN
      Excuse my weakness, gentlemen. I am still
      recovering from an injury.

      You do not have to be a fanatic about these things.
      Last edited by ComicBent; 04-01-2019, 02:02 PM.

      "The fact that you have seen professionals write poorly is no reason for you to imitate them." - ComicBent.

      Comment


      • #18
        Re: Dialogue question

        The proper format for action/description is that they have their own line, flush left, running left to right margins, and this is what I suggest for a writer to do, but there are exceptions. I use these exceptions all the time.

        Some examples:

        If a character had a long monologue to make, sometimes, depending on the context and what the writer wants to convey, the writer would break it up, so the reader could catch his breath and/or make it inviting to the reader. The writer could achieve this with a line of action and come back to the character, or a writer could stay with the character by putting a concise action in a parenetical. It all depends on what the writer wants to convey.

        Sometimes a writer would put the parenetical "beat" in the dialogue to express a dramatic pause. I hate the use of the technical jargon "beat." Sure, it's quick and easy and does the job, but I feel it's cold, lacking energy and unimaginative. I'd like to use something that would reveal/express character, and/or plot. If there isn't anything to express this, then any simple action would do. Anything but "beat."

        If I had a block of description at the bottom of the page that jumped to the next page, leaving a huge block of wasted white space at the bottom, or a block of dialogue that was split with the (MORE) parenetical, which I hate, I would bring back this dialogue, or description, where it fills up the white space at the bottom, by looking for a line of action that I could use a concise parenetical in the dialogue instead, thereby saving space and bringing back what ran to the next page.

        Sometimes a writer would use an action parenetical to maintain the flow of the dialogue, or to evoke rhythm, or emotion, where if the dialogue was interrupted with an action line, this may cause the loss of what the writer wanted to convey.

        For example, I'm gonna use the opening paragraph of one of my early scripts. A teen romantic comedy:

        FADE IN:

        EXT. ELEMENTARY SCHOOLYARD - DAY

        Recess. Gazillion kids, run, play and hang out.

        17 YEAR-OLD GIRL'S VOICE
        It's funny how looks have a strange
        affect on people. I first noticed
        this when I was ten. And just my
        luck, I happened to have a look
        that draws people close around me.
        (takes a breath)
        So close, it's hard to breathe.

        It's okay to have an action parenetical in your dialogue, but I suggest to use it sparingly and with purpose and effectiveness. Not to use it willy-nilly. Industry people don't like to see action in the dialogue. It slows their read. They want to fly down the pages and move on to the next script.
        Last edited by JoeNYC; 04-02-2019, 04:44 AM.

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        • #19
          Re: Dialogue question

          Edited To Delete Double Post
          Last edited by JoeNYC; 04-02-2019, 06:50 AM.

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          • #20
            Re: Dialogue question

            Originally posted by manfredlopez View Post
            i watched Ron Howard's Masterclass and i think he would've been pleased to see that scene. sounds like someone's pride got in the way of a great idea.

            what an amazingly talented actor who can take elevate something to a powerful scene because he knows human nature-- what people are thinking.

            it is too bad that his talent to contribute may have been stifled-- personally, i would've been ecstatic... it was hilarious!
            "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

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            • #21
              Re: Dialogue question

              Thank you all for the help.

              Comment


              • #22
                Re: Dialogue question

                Originally posted by finalact4 View Post
                Shonda went on to say that her actors are explicit in their reciting of lines, the play every comma and every ellipsis.

                i just finished David Mamet's Masterclass and it was hilarious and really insightful.

                just started James Patterson's Masterclass this morning on my walkabout. i really like it. he's got great advice and a passionate energy when he talks about writing that every writer should feel.

                he feels like one of us when talking about rejection. 31 publishers rejected his first novel and he said most would've stopped submitting after 6 rejections, he said you have to believe in yourself. don't give up.

                i have the master access pass and so far i've taken:
                Aaron Sorkin
                Ron Howard
                Jodi Foster
                Shonda Rhimes
                David Mamet
                Gordon Ramsay (two Masterclasses) he has some good insights on being the best, loved it and can apply his attitudes to writing. haha.
                James Patterson - in progress

                PS: i use direction. i've learned the rules and i know how to break them. that said, i use them only when the are necessary to communicate the story either with a specific stylized approach (how the scene is to be seen visually) or when it's necessary for clarity's sake. and of course, i always write scene transitions. it's one of the small pleasures, really.
                Today, a Cuban writer friend in Florida gave me the gift of a 1-year All-Access Pass to the Master Class series. Perfect timing, since we’re both holed up in our writing lairs with only our projects, streaming television, and the Internet forums for diversion.

                The Shonda Rhimes Master Class is excellent. She’s well spoken and easy to listen to and gives the budding television drama writer an informative overview of what to do, what to expect, what is expected, and how to go about writing the story you believe in.
                "If you're going to have a story, have a big story, or none at all." — Joseph Campbell

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