How does dialogue serve to reveal character?
Chas & Stu are joined once again by the renowned script developer and producer, Stephen Cleary. In the first part of our series on writing better dialogue (there will be more!), we take a close look at how dialogue serves character: individuating characters, revealing characterisation, shifting status, and much more.
Together, they (well, mostly Stephen) break down scenes from ANALYSE THIS, NOTTING HILL, REMAINS OF THE DAY and THE AVENGERS. In a first for Draft Zero, we include audio excerpts to make everything even clearer / stop Chas & Stu (mostly Stu) from butchering lines. That, and not everything is on YouTube.
And, in back matter, we continue the discussion into more academic areas of the difference between theatrical, cinematic and television dialogue.
With Stu busy working on Hollywood blockbusters, Chas is joined by Alli Parker (script department on Aussie TV series and former co-ordinator of European #scriptchat) to unpick successful romcoms to see if they can illuminate a path for writers working in this struggling genre. Cheap to produce and potentially highly lucrative, Chas and Alli look at RomCom’s conventions to see what it may take to reinvigorate this genre.
To that end, they look at *deep breath* WHEN HARRY MET SALLY, WHAT IF, THE PROPOSAL, 500 DAYS OF SUMMER, NOTTING HILL, FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS as well as special mentions to GOING THE DISTANCE, SEAN OF THE DEAD and ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND.
Stu and Chas are joined once again by the inestimable Stephen Cleary to explore his idea of ‘key scenes’. Scenes like the diner scene in HEAT. Or the boardroom showdown in MARGIN CALL. These scenes are not only key to a film, they can also be key to developing a story. Why? Stephen’s observation is that if you put your protagonist and antagonist in a scene together for a period of time and they will instinctively play out the beats of your whole story… if you have the characters figured out.
An interesting theory and one we put to the test. In addition to HEAT and MARGIN CALL, we look at scenes and sequences from THE GODFATHER, NOTTING HILL, THE DARK KNIGHT, THE RAID 2: BERANDAL and Stu avoids mentioning STAR WARS by working in EMPIRE STRIKES BACK instead.