1. lvlr
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    lvlr Member

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    Screenplay: Character need to change the subject without seeming insecure....

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by lvlr, Jan 30, 2010.

    Okay, I'm a screenwriter, and one of my characters is discussing having a bad marriage. At some point in the dialog the character needs to ask to change the subject but in a way that doesn't make her seem insecure or afraid of talking about it. It has to be something on the order of:

    ...Blah, blah...

    I'm sorry I don't want to talk about it anymore.
    What do you want to talk about?

    It has to merit a "what do you want to talk about?" type of question.

    The best I've come up with is:

    ...Blah, blah...
    Okay, New topic.

    What do you want to talk about?
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Actually, it's a rather clumsy way for a character to change the subject. More often, someone will just stop responding to what the oter person was saying, and instead go off on a tangent from something said in the last few sentences.

    For example, he might start talking about hie wife's sister is a bad example for his wife, and why, last week, the sister threw a dish at her husband, turns out she was sh*tfaced again. You know, she really needs to get into a rehab program before she kills herself or someone else. She thinks nothing of driving drunk...

    Suddenly the discussion isn't about his lousy marriage or his useless wife, it's about the sister-in-law's boozing.
     
  3. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Agreed. OP's example resembles too much a dialogue tree from a computer game. Natural dialogue has blurry boundaries.
     
  4. Laura Cross
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    Laura Cross New Member

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    This dialogue is boring and too on the nose. Why is the character talking about having a bad marriage? Film is a visual medium, it would be much more engaging and interesting to SHOW that the character has a bad marriage.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    aside from the good advice offered above, one can't really help you with that, without knowing the context... what came before; what you want to come after; who's doing the talking and what their relationship is with each other... and so on...

    i mentor/tutor many aspiring screenwriters, so if you want some detailed help with this, feel free to drop me a line...

    love and hugs, maia
    maia3maia@hotmail.com
     
  6. ManhattanMss
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    ManhattanMss Contributing Member

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    I think the key is related to the fact that (in a screenplay especially) it's not so much about what you want to avoid, but what is it you want to affirm in his character (and behavior and such) by having him change the subject. Are you going for having his character seem more interested in the other party, where a "But enough about me, what about you?" kind of transition serves to show a kind of genuine or gentlemanly interest? Or is he on a mission to find out something in particular about the other person, where some kind of clumsy transition would serve to illustrate he's attempting (and maybe failing) to mask (or maybe to show) his real intentions, like: (takes a long swallow of beer) "So, where are you off to so quickly?" or "What's your interest in the ... [whatever scenario brought them together]?

    Think motivation and how to show where it comes from and what it might look and feel like.
     
  7. lvlr
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    lvlr Member

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    Good answer. When I ask brain storming questions I usually get text-book answers. I've got the textbooks. Thanks a lot! I'm using your suggestion.
     

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