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Dialogue

"Talking and eloquence are not the same: to speak, and to speak well, are two things." 
Ben Jonson 1641


When I have formulated the idea for a story in my head and I begin to organise the major events as experienced by the main characters, I begin to think about the dialogue.  What will the characters be speaking about?  How will their dialogue drive the story forward?  Is what they say interesting?  Ultimately how will they speak, and will they speak well?  It is quite hard to understand what speaking well is, and this can come from a process.

In earlier blogs I have written about the importance of writing without the blocks or the constraints.  I see scripts and dialogue in the same way, write as you think it is to be said.  It will never be right the first time, in fact if it is I'd place you in the genius compartment.  But write as you think it should be said, that way the crux of the dialogue will become evident, and by this I mean the true essence or concept of the delivery of that line.  Most people will not speak the way you have written it, but what you want to say will be obvious.  The fun can occur at the ensuing edits when each dialogue is read over and over, shaved, cut back, edited to only a few words, but concise, to the point, where the character begins to speak 'well'.

Once the character is able to speak well, the empathy towards that character will be established by the audience.  As a result once a script has been developed and edited by the writers, script editors, I always find it beneficial to have a reading with professional actors so that the flow of the story and dialogue can be heard.  Again if the dialogue is not working, it will be evident.  For me the best lines in films are always the shortest, those that create an impact with minimal dialogue, those that can and do get to the heart of what it is that the character wants to say.

 "Find a truly original idea. It is the only way I will ever distinguish myself. It is the only way I will ever matter."
A Beautiful Mind (2001)

 "This is the Land of Legend, where everything is possible when seen through the eyes of youth!"
The Thief of Bagdad (1940)


 "Bread, that this house may never know hunger. Salt, that life may always have flavor." "And wine, that joy and prosperity may reign forever!"
Its A Wonderful Life (1946)


 "Oh, we have 12 vacancies: 12 cabins, 12 vacancies."
Psycho (1960)

Write as you think the dialogue should be said, that's the least that you can do as the writer...but what should really be said, and said well, will come with time and hard work thereafter. 

Stella Dimadis 2013.

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