1. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Do you think that dialogue sells the characters more in a lot of cases?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Ryan Elder, Sep 29, 2015.

    When it comes to writing screenplays, I read books on it as well as online courses, and one thing that people in the business say is that movies are a visual medium and that you should only resort to dialogue if you absolutely have to. One producer even said it's a really tough sell if a script goes over 40% dialogue.

    However, I took a draft of a script of mine and re-wrote a large scene with much more dialogue as a test to show readers.

    The scene was a detective who is investigating pieces of evidence without dialogue and putting them together. I then added dialogue to the scene and a new character for him to talk to explaining and going over everything as he is figuring things out.

    Two readers so far told me that they like the new scene better, and I will ask more. There is also a scene in a loud nightclub, where one character approaches another with something to say without it being audible, cause the music is suppose to be on the soundtrack only. The audience can still tell what is happening and do not really need hear it it to tell what is going on.

    I rewrote that scene with dialogue and readers like it better, possibly because maybe you get more of a feel for the characters when you hear them interact, even though you still understand it plotwise, even so.

    What do you think? Do you think that the rule of keeping the dialogue under 40% is not true or not so absolute as some in the business make it out to be, with audiences?
     
  2. Augusto
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    Augusto Senior Member

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    The more dialogue you use, the better... if you want to please your readers. Is not like dialogues are more informative, it's just that they are easier and "eye candy".

    You can play with it. Two pages of text and one tiny line of dialogue is an oasis in the desert. Readers will certainly pay a lot of attention to that oasis, so if there is something in particular you really want to stick in the mind of the reader: create the desert and put the information right in the oasis. It will work...!

    Also, too much desert means you're aiming to the literary authorities and you don't give a fuck about the regular readers. Too much oasis is not an oasis anymore but a jungle.
     
  3. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Are your readers professionals who work on taking scripts to the screen, or just readers? A written script and a movie are two fundamentally different things. An ordinary reader's reaction to the percentage of dialogue in a written script doesn't tell you much about how they would react to an actual movie.
     

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