Creating Dynamic Dialogue


Pilar Alessandra, script consultant, gives a few tips on removing the flatness from your dialogue.

COME IN LATE, LEAVE EARLY
Begin on a conflict and end on a question, cliffhanger or strong out line.

REDUCE MONOLOGUES
Screenwriting isn’t speech writing. Can you cut down your dialogue to one line that encapsulates its meaning?

PLAY VERBAL GAMES
Be sarcastic, joking, playful or condescending. Modulate tone and volume to alter the meaning. Talk in code, lingo or riddles. Change the subject, add flattery, answer a question with another question, delete key or cliched words or wholly embrace or avoid the truth.

TRADE LINES
They include catch phrases, expressions and idioms.

SUBTEXT
Replace dialogue that state feelings with subtle actions that show them.

USE THE LANGUAGE OF THE CHARACTER
Based on their profession, stage of life,  age speech patterns and speech impediments.

REDUCE CHATTER
Cut greetings, small talk and verbal introductions unless they serve the agenda of the scene.

ELIMINATE STATIC PHONE CALL SCENES
Create activity that keeps the camera and plot moving.

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Ryan Fitting says:

    How much time should you spend playing verbal games? It seems like there would be a point when the audience would lose track of the story.

    1. If it’s a stylistic device such as mindless chatter about the best brand of ketchup on fries before blowing up a building you can go on a little longer. If it’s exposition, be as brief as possible.

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