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A problem with dialogue


#1

I’ve been writing screenplays for some time now. Something that people have pointed out to me is that I use alot of dialogue with people just talking about things not related, things you would talk about in real life. This is just my style and, it comes naturally to me, it’s just what I do best at. QT is the same way, and I wouldn’t want anyone to think that I’m tryin to imitate his style, because I can clearly see why they would say that. Should I try and change my writing style, or say fuck it and keep doing what I do?


#2

[color=Orange]Being a fellow writer myself, I would have to read an example of your dialogue to give you a serious critique/answer. But ultimately, it’s your decision, if you want to change or not.



If you have a certain style that you want to keep, then stick with it. Forget the naysayers. Yet, you should take into account if all of your critics agree about your dialogue exchanges in a negative manner, then you might want to consider changing or improving the dialogue.



How many people have read your material? And roughly how many liked your style and how many are not entirely feeling it. If it’s close to 50/50 and you like it, then I say don’t change. But if 70% to 90% have a problem with it (if you’ve had a LOT of folks read your work), then I would consider changing your style a bit.



Bottomline, trust your instincts!



8)


#3

The big problem people have when it comes to dialogue is, they include a bunch a gabber that doesn’t move the story forward.  There has to be a purpose to everything.



Don’t say that it’s “your” style, because it isn’t.  It’s Quentin Tarantino’s style, and he’s probably a lot better at it than you are (no offense).  My advice is, scrapt the whole Tarantino-esque dialogue, write some more and develop into your own.  Be yourself.  Anyone can write a bunch of dialogue, that “people would talk about in real-life.”  TO ME, that’s not good dialogue, I find it cheap, dumb and quite frankly, boring.



Quentin’s dialogue doesn’t consist of gabber, only the illusion of it.  That’s why he’s so good.  It all moves the story forward, it’s witty, it’s funny, and it’s HIS. ÂÂ



The industry doesn’t need another Tarantino wannabe, they need an “IHOP311.”  Plain and simple.



Do you know how many producers, and literary agents get shown scripts with Tarantino-like dialogue?  He’s the most imitated man in Hollywood.  None of the scripts are ever going to sell when a) They can just get the real stuff from the real man himself, while he’s still alive and kicking, and b) They’re not original.



Sorry if I came across harsh.


#4

[quote]The industry doesn’t need another Tarantino wannabe, they need an “IHOP311.” Plain and simple.



Do you know how many producers, and literary agents get shown scripts with Tarantino-like dialogue? He’s the most imitated man in Hollywood. None of the scripts are ever going to sell when a) They can just get the real stuff from the real man himself, while he’s still alive and kicking, and b) They’re not original.



Sorry if I came across harsh.[/quote]

[color=Orange]Everything you said is 100% true! And I don’t think you sounded harsh. You sounded realistic and to the point, which many of us trying to break into the industry needs to expect (and have a thick skin about it). I think the way you phrased your advice was actually very helpful without being malicious (which sometimes happens when dealing with industry folks).



I think IHOP311 will appreciate it. At least, I do.



8)


#5

[quote]I’ve been writing screenplays for some time now. Something that people have pointed out to me is that I use alot of dialogue with people just talking about things not related, things you would talk about in real life. This is just my style and, it comes naturally to me, it’s just what I do best at. QT is the same way, and I wouldn’t want anyone to think that I’m tryin to imitate his style, because I can clearly see why they would say that. Should I try and change m y writing style, or say fuck it and keep doing what I do?[/quote]


Depends what you mean by "things you would talk about in real life". A lot of people here are quick to point out that "things you would talk about in real life" is QT's style. Well to a broad statement like that i would say - not necessarily so, i think he's more pop culture influenced than anything else. A lot of his dialogue revolves around movies/music/tv shows and shit related to it.

But if you mean by "things you would talk about in real life" and instead have your characters talk about everyday normal boring shit like sports, weather, current events, news, people bitching about work, gossip, and whatnot - not necessarily pop culture influenced - then it wouldnt be QT's dialogue. But if this everyday dialogue didnt relate to the story in some or any way then most likely the script would be terrible. I can't say ive seen a movie where people just mainly talk about everyday real life boring shit like the above stuff i mentioned and it didnt even move the story forward in some way. That would be a pretty boring movie i imagine.

#6

Remember, ANYONE, and yes I mean ANYONE can write dialogue consisting of “things people talk about in real-life.” That takes absolutely no talent at all. Challenge yourself and be unique.


#7

I find that when i write everyday type dialogue it tends to be more Seinfeld everyday talk rather than QT pop culture everyday talk


#8

Hey…why did the other responses in this thread get deleted? Nobody was fighting


#9

[quote=“IL_Buono”]
Hey…why did the other responses in this thread get deleted? Nobody was fighting
[/quote]
that was ain issue i explained to dangermouse yesterday which i explained to him as an attempt of mine to avoid any possible political arguments based upon political symbols being displayed in here, be it white, black or martian power.

i have nothing against political discussion as you know (there are some in the chat lounge already) but it is off topic in here in the screenwriting section


#10

[quote=“deliveryman”]
Do you know how many producers, and literary agents get shown scripts with Tarantino-like dialogue?  He’s the most imitated man in Hollywood.
[/quote]

But Tarantino, himself, rips off other people including Elmore Leonard, as a writer, and Jean-Luc Godard, as a director. I mean, despite his intelligence and quality, he’s quite unorginal himself so saying that it’s Tarantino style is just as much a lie. You could even say he copied pieces of the style of early François Truffaut, could you not?


#11

I’ld really have to read some of your screenplay to know what you’re talking about, to see if the dialogue is relevent to moving the story along or just making it sit there and do nothing. Two paragraph dialogue for one person is a bit much if it does NOTHING but talk about what breakfast cereal they ate. Unless it defines the character as a person or serves a purpose in an abstract way, but that’s hard to do in two paragraphs and grueling to read.



I would suggest acting it out and recording your performance on tape. Hear how it sounds. Play it for others and yourself. It’ll give you an idea of where you might be going right or wrong with the whole thing.