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Thread: Writing dialogue

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Twin Cities

    Default Writing dialogue

    I'm currently considering writing and shooting some short films. I have a few story ideas I've put down in story webs. Soon I'm planning on starting the writing process. I plan on having two of my close friends help me write it. They thing I'm concerned about is writing the dialogue. I was wondering if there are some simple dialogue guidelines, rules, suggestions, or tips anyone could give me? Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Surrey, UK
    Blog Entries


    I'm sure there are plemty of gudelines available in writers courses and on the net. I know nothing about this but I've always found that a very necessary part of writing dialogue is to actually speak the lines out loud 9with as many people taking the roles of different characters as necessary. Its amazing how different lines sound when they're actually spoken from when they're written down.
    It also might help if you don't aim to speak the words that are written in yor draft. Instead, have the conversation, the gist, then listen to the words you and your co-writers actually speak.

  3. #3



    I use "Mind Mapping" (Tony Buzan) to help me create, arrange and organise my writing/dialogue..... It has been a massive help to me and highly recommend mind mapping for creative thinking.

    Tim’s advice about saying out the words compared to just writing and reading is really important and I suggest you do that for definite.

    Plus don’t rehearse in the same place as you film your finished footage/performance I recommend you have to two different places one for practise and one for filming.

    It is a psychological technique to program success.

    I always read and rehearse my scripts in another room and then when I have done really well and have memorised and tweaked/fine tuned my work I will then film myself in my filming area.

    I never ….. repeat never practise where I film. You want to link success to when/where you film not uncertainty.

    One last thing after every perfect performance create a neurological trigger (ie) Pavlov classical conditioning. NLP.

    Google “How to create a neurological anchor”
    Or “ Anchoring NLP”

    For instructions on how to effectively create a working trigger.
    Result you will be more confident and effective.

    Nothing is 100% guaranteed in life but it has helped me immensely

    Hope that helps you along with Tim’s great advice.

    Best of luck with your writing /videos


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    London, England


    Ther should be a "writing group" in most towns (check Public Library, or ask amateur dramatic group) . . . Certainly reading out the lines you've written and performing any actions ("Stands up, walks to the door and opens it") - may add considerable time to a plain reading. "How long is it" seems to be the second question to "what's the story"
    I've been critisised for including Camera directions, actor directions ("searches handbag , takes out a hairbrish and tidies hair). . . . but I "see" the story - aparently Charles Dickens could "see" his characters before he wrote.
    There are software aids to formatting your scripts, but initially I don't think this matters as long as your "Words" are clearly separated so Actors don't get confused.

    Before your friends get too involved, you need to have an Agreement concerning the Rights, so one party can't "spoil the fun" should they have a disagreement and walk off...

  5. #5


    Great advice!

    Another good writing technique is to wait for it .....turn of your p.c screen (As long as you are a decent typist !
    This is to stop your brain looking for immediate errors in the writing process .You just write for a selected pre determined amount of time then later on you go back and switch into your self critical mode and cull and fine tune the first creative phase of writing ....... Sounds weird I know ....I learned this technique from Joe vitali.

    I think looking around for writing groups is a great suggestion by "Vidmanners"

    Find people who are doing what you want to do and are much much better and more experienced than you and learn,learn learn.

    Best of luck.

  6. #6


    Man 1 : "What do ya mean, writing dialogue".
    Man 2 : "You er'd, I said writing dialogue".
    Man 1 : "If you want me to do that you godda pay me".
    Man 3 : "Chaps, don't get your selves into such a tizzy"
    Man 1 : "Who the F*ck was that" ?
    Man 2 : "I duno but he sounds like a W*nker".
    Man 1 : "Drink" ?
    Man 2 : "Yeh, mines a pint"
    Man 3 : "I'd simply die for a vigin daiquiri.

    Man 1 & 2 look at each other in disbelief.

    Be the character you are writing about and write the dialogue the way you think they would speak. Then say the line out loud to make sure they are right.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Surrey, UK
    Blog Entries


    Quote Originally Posted by slimbob View Post
    I always read and rehearse my scripts in another room and then when I have done really well and have memorised and tweaked/fine tuned my work I will then film myself in my filming area.

    I never ….. repeat never practise where I film. You want to link success to when/where you film not uncertainty.
    Great tip. Obvious when you think about it, but I never thought about it!

  8. #8


    Thanks Tim!

    Another thing I do to help me is create the trigger.

    So right (straight away) after every successful take I perform a unique trigger (eg) shout yes and make a tight right fist ....
    When I am feeling really good (ie) Thinking :


    This trigger (right fist and shout yes) I don’t ever do apart from when I perform this unique trigger (compared to a clap for example) (not unique stimulus) done often in everyday life.

    I perform it after every successful take ….. after a while of doing this your brain /nervous system will link the feeling of success/confidence etc to the stimulus/trigger .

    How long does it take to create working trigger??? Can happen very quickly it all depends on the intensity of the feeling you are attaching to the stimulus neurologically.

    More intense = quicker to create a working trigger.

    Once working If you now perform it before you are about to shoot an important take your nervous system will create the feeling in you (ie) confidence and the feeling/state that you can do this take perfectly.

    Not my idea ... I wish
    Pavlov .... then used in (NLP) (anchoring) it does work and you can do it with any feeling.

    For example when ever I crack up (laughter) maybe with mates or watching a funny film I perform my hysterical trigger which involves me squeezing my nose and blowing air after through it (ie) makes a funny noise. I do this whilst I am laughing

    If I do this trigger when I feel a bit sad or fed up I start laughing Tim !!!!

    Really funny …… It’s hard to feel sad when you are laughing!!!!
    Your body won’t let you just like it is hard to feel depressed if you put a big smile on your face.

    Last year I bought The Laurel & hardy box set all their work!

    I went through all of it 60 + hours and simplified it down to just 1 hour of stuff that cracks me up literally (I love those two) what a shame they had to pass away I think God should of let them both live forever to keep the world laughing and happy !

    Anyway if I have a bad day I watch some of it and within minutes I am laughing plus I use my trigger too (keep it up to date)

    No time to feel bad TiM !! (lifes too short!)

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