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Screenwriting Tips: Dialogue, Action and Characters

January 07, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 181

The dialogue you create for your character should seamlessly fit the character's personality and help move the story. Good dialogue in a screenplay should reveal the uniqueness of a character. If you cover the names of your characters and read just the dialogue, you should be able to identify each of the characters. For example, the main character should not sound like the supporting character. Their mannerisms should be distinct. Make your characters stand out from each other. Allow the audience to become fascinated with the lives of your characters. Do not let your characters chat incessantly in a scene. "Talking heads" slow the pacing of a screenplay. Conversations between characters that are irrelevant to the plot should be lifted out of the script. Avoid "blunt" and "on the nose" dialogue. Focus on purposeful dialogue that will help inject life and depth into your characters.

Focus On Showing the Action

In screenwriting, avoid the temptation of "announcing" to the audience that your character is attracted to another character. For example "Johnny is crazy over Sarah." Instead, go for the "show" and less of the "tell." The action of a character generates more visual and emotional impact than a passive narrative. Unlike novel book writing, screenwriting requires the writer to effectively convey the story visually for the movie screen. Words must channel the character's desires through action, not just merely stating what a character is feeling. The audience wants to experience and see things, not just be "told" of something. Find external means to convey Johnny's craziness for her. Create an opportunity for the audience to form a bond with the character. Set up a scene to show Johnny's strong attraction towards Sarah. Does Johnny get restless around her? When he sees Sarah entering the office building, does he rush to hold the door in hopes of gaining her attention? Rather than "telling" the audience Johnny is crazy over Sarah, "show" the audience how that character acts around the other character.

Character Development

The best way to harvest your characters is to observe how people interact with each other in your daily life. Whether you are at a race track, grocery shop or coffee shop, be in tune with your surroundings. Watch how people carry themselves and listen to how they talk to one another. If you are starting out, take a small notepad with you and jot down the funny moments or interesting sound bites you hear from those around you. What you observe and keep in mind that day will help you create characters that are not carbon copies of each other.

In order to garner the attention of a literary manager or agent, screenwriters must demonstrate that they have a distinct voice in their writing and also an understanding of what is commercial in the industry. Screenwriting is the business of writing scripts that have entertainment value. Allow your audience to live in the moment of your story.

Ellexia Nguyen is the owner of The Script Joint, a screenplay consulting company that works with screenwriters, producers and directors. She started out in the industry at Paramount Pictures. For fast, professional script analysis and editing services, visit today! Mention that you heard about it through EzineArticles and get $5 off Script Notes service.

Source: EzineArticles
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