Daily Dialogue theme suggestions?

April 14th, 2012 by

We’ve just come off a run of about 4 straight weeks of suggested DDTs by GITS folks and exhausted the supply, so time to fill up the pantry.

What are your ideas for a daily dialogue theme?

Some guidelines:

* The theme should be entertaining: What better way to start off our creative day [the DDT posts at 6AM Eastern] than with some great, memorable dialogue?

* The theme should have depth: That is there should be at least 7 good examples of it in movies so we have enough for a week’s worth of posts.

* The theme have provide us some takeaway: This is my way of saying ‘educational.’ At the end of the day, GITS is about helping writers become better at the craft, so if we can learn something about how to handle dialogue through DDTs, great.

As an added bonus, it’s a great way to get your online moniker mentioned daily for seven days running.

If you have any suggestions for Daily Dialogue themes, please post them in comments.

And as always, thanks for your involvement with GITS!

8 thoughts on “Daily Dialogue theme suggestions?

  1. Spring is in the air! How about marriage proposals? There are a ton of examples of this: some funny, some sad, some deceitful, some obligatory, some honest. As I was looking for scenes it became very clear how much culture, tradition and geographical location play a part in how proposals are written. Just like every scene should, of course, the good ones grow organically from the situation and the dynamic between the characters. Here are a few suggestions in chronological order:

    Jane Eyre (2011)


    Jane finally stops, her great distress escaping her.

    JANE: How? I have lived a full life here. I have not been trampled on. I have not been petrified. I have not been excluded from every glimpse of what is bright. I have talked, face to face, with an original, expanded mind. I have known you, Mr. Rochester; and it strikes me with anguish to be torn from you.

    ROCHESTER: Then why must you leave?

    JANE: Because of your wife!

    ROCHESTER: I have no wife.

    JANE: But you are to be married.

    ROCHESTER: Yes – Jane, you must stay.

    JANE: And become nothing to you? Am I a machine without feelings? Do you think that because I am poor, obscure, plain and little that I am soulless and heartless? I have as much soul as you and full as much heart. And if God had blessed me with beauty and wealth I could make it as hard for you to leave
    me as it is for I to leave you.

    This comes as a revelation to Rochester.

    JANE: I’m not speaking to you through mortal flesh. It’s my spirit that addresses your spirit as if we’d passed through the grave and stood at God’s feet, equal – as we are.

    Rochester takes Jane in his arms.

    ROCHESTER: As we are.

    She struggles.

    JANE (Freeing herself): I am a free human being with an independent will, which I now exert to leave you.

    Rochester releases her.

    ROCHESTER: Then let your will decide your destiny. I offer you my hand, my heart and a share of all this.

    He gestures towards the house, the land. Jane is stunned.

    ROCHESTER: I ask you to pass through life at my side. Jane, you are my equal and my likeness. Will you marry me?

    JANE: Are you mocking me?

    ROCHESTER: Do you doubt me?

    JANE: Entirely. (BEAT) Your bride is Miss Ingram –

    ROCHESTER: Miss Ingram? She is the machine without feelings. It’s you – you rare, unearthly thing. Poor and obscure as you are – please accept me as your husband.

    Jane begins to believe him, she studies his face.

    ROCHESTER: I must have you for my own.

    JANE: You wish me to be your wife?

    ROCHESTER: I swear it.

    JANE: You love me?

    ROCHESTER: I do.

    JANE: Then sir, I will marry you.

    Vera Drake (1994)


    Ethel: What’s the matter?

    Reg: Nothing.

    Ethel: Ain’t you had a nice night?

    Reg: Yes. You? You ever thought about moving out?

    Ethel: What do you mean?

    Reg: What do you think about getting married?

    Ethel: What, to you?

    Reg: Yes.

    Ethel: I ain’t never thought about it.

    Reg: I’ve been thinking about it.

    Ethel: Have you?

    Reg: About three or four weeks. What do you reckon? Do you wanna?

    Ethel: Yes. I do.

    Reg: All right, then. Better tell your mom.

    Great Balls of Fire (1989)


    Myra: Where are we goin’?

    Jerry: Take a look in that glove compartment there. I wanna show you somethin’. It’s a marriage license.

    Myra: I… I thought you had to stand there and say something.

    Jerry: Well, it’s only a permit, Myra.

    Myra: Oh, so we ain’t married?

    Jerry: Not yet. But that’s my prayer. I’m asking you to marry me.

    Myra: Me?

    Jerry: I love you.

    Myra: Oh, Jerry. Jerry, I’m only thirteen years old.

    Jerry: Oh, heck. My sister Frankie Jean, she was only twelve when she got married.

    Charade (1963)


    REGGIE: What’s your first name today?

    CRUIKSHANK: Brian.

    REGGIE: Brian Cruikshank — it would serve me right if I got stuck with that one.

    CRUIKSHANK: Who asked you to get stuck with any of them?

    REGGIE: Is there a Mrs. Cruikshank?


    REGGIE: But you’re — divorced?


    REGGIE (crestfallen): Oh.

    CRUIKSHANK: My mother — she lives in Detroit. Come on now — give me those stamps.

    REGGIE: Only if you can prove to me that you’re really Brian Cruikshank.

    CRUIKSHANK: How about if next week some time I put it on a marriage license — that ought to —

    REGGIE: Quit stalling — I want to see some identification — now!

    CRUIKSHANK: I wouldn’t lie on a thing like that — I could go to jail.

    REGGIE: You’d lie about anything.

    CRUIKSHANK: Well, maybe we’d better forget about it, then.

    REGGIE: You can’t prove it, can you? You’re still trying to — (the coin drops into the slot) marriage license! Did you say — ?

    CRUIKSHANK: I didn’t say anything. Will you give me those stamps?

    REGGIE: You did too say it — I heard you. Oh, I love you Adam — I mean Alex — er, Peter — Brian. I hope we have lots of boys — we can name them all after you.

    CRUIKSHANK: Before we start on that, do you mind handing over the stamps?

    The Graduate (1967)



    CLOSE UP ONE BEN’S HAND fiddling with the crumpled telegram. Students are moving quickly from building to building. Ben is walking alongside Elaine.

    BEN: We could go down and get our blood tests tomorrow.

    ELAINE: Tomorrow?

    BEN: Or this afternoon. It’s a good day for it.

    ELAINE: Benjamin – I haven’t even said I’ll marry you yet.

    BEN: We’ll need our Birth Certificates. I happen to have mine with me. Where’s yours?

    They move up the steps of a classroom building. Ben pushes through a lot of students to keep up with Elaine.


    They walk down a corridor. On each side are open doors to classrooms with students filing into each of them.

    ELAINE: I just don’t think it would work.

    BEN: Why wouldn’t it?

    A bell rings. Elaine turns into one of the doors. Ben is left in the hall. He looks around. All the doors in the classrooms close. He leans against the wall.


    Standing poised by the door. The bell rings. The classroom doors open and students start to file out. Elaine comes out of the classroom.

    BEN: Why wouldn’t it?

    ELAINE: I just don’t think it would…

    Elaine starts walking down the corridor towards the exit door. Ben follows her, moving out of the way of the other students.


    Elaine and twenty other girls are in basketball uniforms. Two teams of girls are playing basketball. Elaine sits on the bench, watching. Ben stands behind her. The girls are shouting and clapping and jumping up and down.

    BEN: Tomorrow then – can we get our blood tests tomorrow morning?

    She turns and looks at him.

    ELAINE: Why don’t you just drag me off if you want to marry me so much?

    BEN: Why don’t I just drag you off? All right – I will. Right after we get the blood tests.

    ELAINE: Well – I have to see Carl first.

    BEN: Carl who?

    Elaine jumps up, applauding a shot.

    BEN: Carl who?

    ELAINE: Carl Smith. He’s a medical student. We’ve known him for years.

    BEN: Who – that guy at the Zoo?

    ELAINE: Yes.

    BEN: Why do you have to see him?

    ELAINE: Well — I said I might marry him.

    Elaine and several other girls run onto the court as a number of girls run off the court to the bench.

    BEN (yelling after her): You WHAT?


    Ben is seated across a study table from Elaine. There are many other students scattered around the room.

    BEN: How did he do it? Did he get down on his knees? He didn’t get down on his knees, I hope.

    ELAINE: No, Benjamin.

    BEN: Well, what did he say? I’m curious.

    ELAINE: He said he thought we’d make a pretty good team.

    BEN: Oh no. He said that.

    ELAINE: Shhhh.

    BEN: Where did he do it?

    She starts to get up.

    BEN: I’d like to know where it happened?

    She starts to move away.

    BEN: It wasn’t in his car, was it?


    Ben and Elaine are standing at the entrance.

    BEN: Are we getting married tomorrow?

    ELAINE: No.

    BEN: The day after tomorrow?

    ELAINE: Maybe we are and maybe we aren’t.

    She goes through the doorway into Wendell Hall. Ben remains standing in exactly the same position. After a few moments the door opens and Elaine comes out, steps quickly to Ben, kisses him, then runs back inside.

    Muriel’s Wedding (1994)


    Ken: Mariel, you’ve probably seen the news about the civil war in South Africa. Well, just as the South Africans seem to be doing the right thing by the blacks, the police open fire on a black soccer club, and that is bad news for David.

    Muriel: Are you black?

    David: What?

    Muriel: I don’t know why I said that.

    Ken: Well, well, it is funny, in a way. But let’s be honest. The South Africans were never much chop in the pool anyway. David here is a bit of a freak, really. And I think that he is gonna get the gold medal for the fifteen hundred metres in the next Olympic Games. Mariel, how did you feel when Kieren Perkins took gold for Australia at Barcelona?

    Muriel: Who?

    David: Kieren Perkins. He’s an Australian champion.

    Ken: Now, David’s family are willing to do anything to see him fulfill his potential as a champion even if it means swimming for another country. And they’re willing to pay ten thousand dollars to the girl that’ll help Dave out. Are you from Sydney originally?

    Muriel: What? No, Porpoise Spit.

    Ken: Ah. And why did you leave there?

    Muriel: Well, because of all the mental things that happened to me. I got shallow, and my physical being could have been improved and as well as my mentality.

    David: What about the black-haired one?

    Ken: No, she was Turkish. She’s only been in the country five minutes. Now, whoever marries David will have to tell the immigration authorities that they’re in love with him. Now, there’ll be media attention so they’ll have to live with David in his flat for at least four months after the marriage. I’ve worked out all the details of the romance which you and David will have to stick to. But the most important thing is to convince people that you two are really in love.

    David: What about the blonde?

    Ken: You didn’t like her.

    David: I’m not so sure now.

    Ken: Now, I think Mariel might be just what we’re looking for. Well, it’s up to you now, love. Would you find it difficult to lie?

    Muriel: I could try.

    1. Saint 716 says:

      You had me at Muriel’s Wedding.

  2. ShadeBlossom says:

    Here is the trailer for the film, “The Sisters” starring Maria Bello and Mary Stuart Masterson. A lot of the dialogue is very scathing and sharply delivered.


  3. churnage says:

    Similar to Teddy P’s suggestion, how about first dates?

    –Groundhog Day


    –Knocked Up

    –Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

    –High Fidelity

    –The Family Stone

  4. Liz Swan says:

    This might seem like a silly idea – but I will throw it into the pot anyway. We’re looking at dialogue – well how about unspoken dialogue.

    The use of none verbal dialogue to communicate strong aspects of a movie. To see how the screenwriter handled the piece of writing and then compare with on screen version. Hope you get my drift.

    Thanks. Liz Swan

  5. LloydMorgan says:

    How about “Narration”? Films like The Big Lebowski, Assassination of Jesse James and Dances With Wolves have all made use of poetic narration.

  6. Revelations or Surprise Moments (like the opening scene of Crazy Stupid Love dialogue, etc.) perhaps?

  7. Scott says:

    Lots of good ideas. And Liz, we’ve actually done a week of non-verbal ‘dialogue,’ I believe last year, so that is a good suggestion. I’ll put together a schedule in upcoming DDT post. Thanks for your feedback!

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