Examples of good screen writing

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  • Examples of good screen writing

    Hi Guys,

    I did not know if this was the right place to post but thought it may end up in the right place.

    I simply wanted to ask if anyone could recommend a book or post some script extracts of excellent dialogue in film.

    I feel I sometimes offer too obvious and on the nose dialogue and so want to read a lot of excellent stuff to gain a comparison gauge in my head

    I hope that makes sense.

    Thanks

  • #2
    Re: Examples of good screen writing

    You've gotta visit this place. https://screencraft.org/2019/07/08/1...tudy-dialogue/

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Examples of good screen writing

      Not extracts, but a script repository (produced and unproduced) from one of the best:

      https://davidkoepp.com/script-archive/

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Examples of good screen writing

        Getting access to scripts, especially from movies you love, is the best way to learn what great dialogue looks like on the page. Sure many can posts links to them.

        A book like this https://www.amazon.com/Four-Screenpl...s=books&sr=1-9

        https://www.amazon.com/Shawshank-Red...s%2C153&sr=8-2

        current -- https://www.amazon.com/Fleabag-Scrip...%2C153&sr=8-10

        Also I'd put on subtitles and watch TV and Films you loved and pay attention to what they are doing. Great way to learn.

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        • #5
          Re: Examples of good screen writing

          Karl Iglesias has a great book called "Writing for Emotional Impact." It's good. I highly recommend it.

          Just reading scripts with good dialogue isn't enough.

          You need to analyze the scene (what's happening) to discover what a character wants, what motivates them, what will happen if he is unsuccessful in getting what he wants. Someone is in the scene that stands in their way of getting what they want, this creates conflict. Characters use subtext to avoid saying outright what they want because it can make them vulnerable, exposed and disadvantaged. Often we don't say what we really mean out of fear.

          Down and dirty example...

          Joe walks into a car dealership. He needs a getaway car because he just crashed the previous one and his gang is about to rob a bank in an hour. He needs a car. NOW. Something cheap, but dependable, right? Something that isn't going to draw attention. He's got $1,000 in his pocket when he walks on the lot and he isn't leaving without a car, one way or another.

          Mike, is the salesman. He was just scolded by his boss who told him if he doesn't sell that bright yellow lemon-of-a-car squatting on his lot,for $2,000 today, he will lose his job. Now Mike has a girlfriend and a baby at home and he needs this job because he has to bring diapers home. The lot closes in 10 minutes. It's his last chance to prove to his boss that he can do it.

          Two characters who are motivated. Two characters who want something from the other person. Two characters whose goals are in opposition. This will create conflict between them.

          Now write that scene. What will they say to each other? What will they withold? What manipulation/influencing tactics will they use to persuade the other to dp their bidding? At what point will they give a "tell?" When will they fall apart? Who will fold? Can you see how things could escalate?

          Take a good script. Analyze the scene. Once you understand the scene and the characters you will learn the techniques that great dialogue writers employ.
          "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

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          • #6
            Re: Examples of good screen writing

            Originally posted by finalact4 View Post
            Karl Iglesias has a great book called "Writing for Emotional Impact." It's good. I highly recommend it.

            Just reading scripts with good dialogue isn't enough.

            You need to analyze the scene (what's happening) to discover what a character wants, what motivates them, what will happen if he is unsuccessful in getting what he wants. Someone is in the scene that stands in their way of getting what they want, this creates conflict. Characters use subtext to avoid saying outright what they want because it can make them vulnerable, exposed and disadvantaged. Often we don't say what we really mean out of fear.

            Down and dirty example...

            Joe walks into a car dealership. He needs a getaway car because he just crashed the previous one and his gang is about to rob a bank in an hour. He needs a car. NOW. Something cheap, but dependable, right? Something that isn't going to draw attention. He's got $1,000 in his pocket when he walks on the lot and he isn't leaving without a car, one way or another.

            Mike, is the salesman. He was just scolded by his boss who told him if he doesn't sell that bright yellow lemon-of-a-car squatting on his lot,for $2,000 today, he will lose his job. Now Mike has a girlfriend and a baby at home and he needs this job because he has to bring diapers home. The lot closes in 10 minutes. It's his last chance to prove to his boss that he can do it.

            Two characters who are motivated. Two characters who want something from the other person. Two characters whose goals are in opposition. This will create conflict between them.

            Now write that scene. What will they say to each other? What will they withold? What manipulation/influencing tactics will they use to persuade the other to dp their bidding? At what point will they give a "tell?" When will they fall apart? Who will fold? Can you see how things could escalate?

            Take a good script. Analyze the scene. Once you understand the scene and the characters you will learn the techniques that great dialogue writers employ.
            That’s a fun example. Reminds me of the William H Macy scene in Fargo. Or the Ed/Jesse scenes in El Camino.

            Could be a great way to start a script.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Examples of good screen writing

              'Nightcrawler' by Dan Gilroy is a smartly-written joy to read, not least for the dialogue.
              Know this: I'm a lazy amateur, so trust not a word what I write.
              "The ugly can be beautiful. The pretty, never." ~ Oscar Wilde

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Examples of good screen writing

                Thanks for all the suggestions guys.

                These will be a lot of help.

                Comment


                • #9
                  The Art of Story on Youtube has a two part piece on Dialogue that's excellent.

                  Part I:

                  https://youtu.be/Ge0b5EPdL8I

                  Part II:

                  https://youtu.be/ilKxyfOmFGY
                  GirlinGray

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Crayon View Post
                    Re: Examples of good screen writing
                    b
                    'Nightcrawler' by Dan Gilroy is a smartly-written joy to read, not least for the dialogue.
                    Nightcrawler was one of the best films of the past 20 years. Superb.
                    Last edited by AK7576; 11-09-2020, 05:40 PM. Reason: Adding opinion - and better than anything his brother or father has done.

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                    • #11
                      Here's an old one - OUT OF THE PAST (from the novel also) by Daniel Mainwaring. Blisteringly good dialogue - Mitchum: "If I'm going to die, I'm going to die last." & "I can let it go. I can let it all go." - you have to see the context. He also wrote the original INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS. Two great ones in different genres.to

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                      • #12
                        You can always look up some of your favorite films in script form on imsdb.com (not imdb). This site is the internet movie script database. They have many scripts there you can read for free listed in alphabetical order and genre. Just choose a letter or genre and go. I find it a great source for reading scripts, especially older ones from my childhood, although they do have newer films like Joker, Black Panther, and A Quiet Place.

                        Bono had a great suggestion as well....put on the subtitles when watching a film or tv show. I personally do this with everything, not only because I am deaf in one ear, but it also gives you what is going on in the background like say when someone is in a room and a radio or tv is on in the background and what is being said on it is important. If you don't have the subtitles on, that information is sometimes lost as background noise.

                        Good luck in your reading/research!
                        Last edited by Darthclaw13; 11-21-2020, 03:24 PM.

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