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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Character & Dialogue part 1

Character and Dialogue is crucial. Obviously. Its as important as structure. And its not an accident that these two elements are together. Character insight is 50% driven from dialogue and dialogue can only flow from an understanding of character.

Great. So what? What do we do about it? In this post we'll look at two things.

1 - Perfect cast I've written about this idea before. But here it is again. The idea is to cast the film before you write it. The aim is not to actually get into a production corner where only one person could play the role but rather to help you, as a writer, get a feel for your character. Write it as if Bill Murray was the character. Whoever plays the role eventually won't sound like Bill Murray but the world-weary feel will shine through. Your perfect cast need not be drawn from the film acting world. We played Archie in the Circumference trailer in the style of Tony Blair.

2 - Research A big idea that can be explained simply. Take a cue from our actor friends and do your research. A lot of writers will do secondary research (read some books / articles etc). But what about primary research? Are you speaking to people who do the job your main character does? Are you spending a day in a school if your film features schoolchildren? Things will have moved since your day! Are you getting on the phone and speaking to experts? David Cohen is one of the worlds greatest Cellists. He has read my script that features a cello player and he has given some expert insights. I didn't know David before. But I do now. And he wants to continue to be involved. That's the benefits of research - better script, great contacts in other industries, building a core following, getting things right early in development to save costs later.

New to this diagram?
What is it? - How do I get a copy? - Read from the beginning on the blog.

The Scriptwriter's Life diagram is by Tim Clague from a joint venture by Projector Films, South West Screen & MartonHouse.
The diagram can be used by anyone and is under a Creative Commons License.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good stuff, as ever, Tim.