Daily Dialogue Topic Index

July 24th, 2014 by

I have been hosting this blog for over six years now and since just about Day 1, I have been blown away by the people who follow it. Aspiring writers, professional writers, screenwriters, TV writers, novelists, playwrights, poets, musicians, directors, producers, managers, agents, execs, actors, and on and on. Comments here on the blog, dozens of emails each day, tweets on Twitter. Talented people, passionate about stories and storytelling, committed to learning the craft, then bringing that knowledge to bear on their creativity.

It’s been a 74 month-long conversation in which I trust we all have benefited from our collective insights into the creative process, writing and life in general.

And then there are special moments like what happened yesterday. Out of the blue on my Twitter feed, I see this:

Curious, I clicked on the link which took me to the blog of Allie & Liz: “Screenwriters, Sisters, Junk-Food Addicts.” There on the front page of their clean, well-designed and attractive website, I read this:

Allie and I are big fans of Scott Myers’ blog, Go Into The Story. The other day I’m writing a scene where one character confronts another, and I’m a little stuck, so I start trying to think of other movies that have similar scenes.

That didn’t go so well. It was close to lunch. I blame the hunger.

Anyways, I immediately think, “I know I’ll check out some daily dialogue posts on GITS. Maybe I can find some on confrontation.” I did turn to GITS. I did not find any posts on confrontation. Turns out it’s kind of hard to search for daily dialogue themes, so I did what any reasonable human being would do in that situation. I put down the screenwriting and coded up a little PHP script to scrape the daily dialogue RSS feed from GITS and create an index of all the posts based on theme.

You’re welcome.

Now I’m really intrigued, so I click on the second link and it takes me to an astonishing page: An alphabetized list of links to hundreds and hundreds of Daily Dialogue posts, sorted by topics. Like this:

Acceptance Speech

And this:

Witty Banter

For years, I had been wondering about doing something like this to make the 2,261 Daily Dialogue posts (as of today) into more of a resource for writers. Just like Liz wrote, what if a writer needed a bit of inspiration to craft dialogue for a scene featuring a specific theme. Go to a list, search for the topic, and voila! Dozens of examples from notable movies.

I thought about it. Liz actually did it. On her own.

I was so excited when I realized what Liz had done, I sent the links to Franklin and here is how he responded: “JAW. DROPPED.”

Indeed!

This is an example of the type of thing that goes on here at Go Into The Story week after week, albeit what Liz has done is an extreme and extremely cool version of it.

My very first instinct about starting this site was to create a resource for screenwriters. The blog has evolved over time, but that mission is still a primary one. There are over 15,000 posts here and if there are ways to make it more user friendly or helpful to writers, I’m all for exploring those options.

Or as in the case of Liz and her sister, I’m equally happy to have readers just drop a Golden Egg of Virtual Goodness right in my freaking lap!

We’ll be figuring out how to incorporate the Daily Dialogue Topic Index into the site’s archives in a formal way with a permanent acknowledgement and High Hosannas to Liz and Allie, but for now, feel free to visit the page Liz created and worship its utter topical beauty. Then if you’d be so kind as to head to comments to thank the sisters for their commitment to GITS and creating such an awesome resource, I’d appreciate it.

Finally while we’re at it, occasionally I’ll open the floor for suggestions, so this seems like a good time to do that. If you have ideas on how to improve the site, things you’d like to see done, or anything you think would be of value to readers, please feel free to post your ideas in comments.

Onward!

Daily Dialogue — July 24, 2014

July 24th, 2014 by

Wally’s meter fully charges.
His head slowly rises from his box.
Blinks.
The cockroach hops with joy.
Eve is relieved.

…She holds out her hand to him.

EVE
(with love)
Wally…

Wally gives her a blank stare.
He turns away from Eve.
Motors out the truck.
She grabs him.
Turns him back around.

EVE
(It’s me!)
Eve!

Wally just stares.
Doesn’t seem to know who she is.

EVE
(hums)
[Here, look at these.]

She grabs the RUBIK’S CUBE and LIGHT BULB from the shelf.
The light bulb glows in her hand.
She gives them to Wally.
No reaction.

EVE
(Remember?)
Wally?

Wally looks blankly at the junk on the shelves.

EVE
(hums)
[I know!]

She hovers over to the video player.
Plays HELLO DOLLY.
Looks back to see if it has any effect.

Wally is over at the shelves.
Has scooped all his prized possessions into his compactor.
Crushes them into a cube.
Eve is gut-punched.

Wally motors outside.
Runs over the cockroach on his way out.
The insect pops back to life.
Watches his friend in shock.

EXT. WALLY’S TRUCK – DAY

Wally rolls up to a nearby trash pile.
Scoops up trash.
Spits out a cube.
Eve hovers over to him.
Still in disbelief.

EVE
(somber)

Wally continues to stack his cubes.
She stops him.
Lifts his head. Stares into his eyes.
Nobody home.

Eve presses his “play” button.
Nothing but STATIC.
Eve begins to panic.
Shakes him.

EVE
Wally…Wally! WALLY!

No response.
He’s gone.
She hovers in silence next to him for a long time…

Finally, Eve grasps Wally’s hand.
Forces his fingers to interlace with hers.
Holds him close one last time.
Leans her head against his.
Hums softly.

EVE
[Hums IOTAM]

She touches her forehead to his.
Goodbye Wally.
A TINY SPARK between them.

Eve turns to hover away.
Jerked back.
Her fingers caught between his.
She checks his eyes again.
Nothing.

But then…
No.

…a tiny SERVO NOISE.
She looks down at their hands.

CLOSE ON WALLY’S FINGERS

They start to move.
Slowly close around Eve’s.

She looks back at his face.
Wally’s eyes gradually come into focus.
His brows raise…

WALLY
Ee-vah?

EVE
Wally!

He notices their hands entwined. His dream come true.

WALLY
(amazed)
Ee-vah!!

She giggles.

Wall-E (2008), screenplay by Andrew Stanton and Jim Reardon, story by Andrew Stanton and
Pete Docter

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Robot.

Trivia: Within the first 5 minutes there is a monologue via the holographic billboards. The first dialogue between WALL·E and EVE begins 22 minutes into the movie. The first human dialogue begins 39 minutes into the movie.

Dialogue On Dialogue: This is such a great moment, a deft payoff to this:

Wall-E watches Hello Dolly, then imitates the humans holding hands. And we know from that visual what Wall-E wants. Therefore his ‘reawakening’ here is not out of the blue, but rather set up, then paid off beautifully.

If you have any suggestions for this week’s theme, please post in comments.

Daily Dialogue — July 23, 2014

July 23rd, 2014 by

TYRELL: Well, Mr. Deckard?

Deckard is looking at Tyrell and wincing indecisively.

He doesn’t get it. Are they playing with him?

TYRELL: (continuing) Perhaps some privacy will loosen your tongue, Mr. Deckard.

He turns to Rachael

TYRELL: Would you step out for a few moments, Rachael?

Rachael exits looking a little shaken. What’s going on?

Deckard stares at Tyrell.

Tyrell meets his look.

TYRELL: I’m impressed. How many questions does it usually take to spot one?
DECKARD: I don’t get it.
TYRELL: How many questions?
DECKARD: In columns of four cross referenced, twenty or thirty.
TYRELL: It took more than a hundred for Rachael, didn’t it ?
DECKARD: She really doesn’t know?
TYRELL: She’s beginning to suspect, I think.
DECKARD: Suspect! How can she not know she is.
TYRELL: Well, we began to notice in them a strange obsession.

Tyrell is pacing now, lecturing.

TYRELL: After all, they are emotionally inexperienced with only a few years in which to store up the experiences which you and I take for granted. If we gift them with a past… we create a cushion or pillow for their emotions.. and we can control them better.
DECKARD: They want memories?
TYRELL: It’s the dark corners, the little shadowy places that makes you interesting, Deckard….. gusty emotions on a wet road on an autumn night.. the change of seasons… the sweet guilt after masturbation.
DECKARD: Jesus Christ,Tyrell!

Tyrell looks startled.

DECKARD: Where do you get them, the memories?
TYRELL: In the case of Rachael, I simply copied and regenerated cells from the brain of my sixteen-year-old niece. Rachael remembers what my little niece remembers.
DECKARD: I saw an old movie once. The guy had bolts in his head.

Deckard looks amazed while Tyrell looks pleased with himself.

Blade Runner (1982), screenplay by Hampton Fancher and David Webb Peoples, novel by Philip K. Dick

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Robot. Today’s suggestion by Jon Raymond.

A note from Jon: “Note the script has been substantially changed. The production version is shorter, more concise, and direct to the point of the “memories” concept. In the released version, Deckard simply speaks the word “memories,” while in the script this is explained in much more detail.”

Trivia: Philip K. Dick first came up with the idea for his novel ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’ in 1962, when researching ‘The Man in the High Castle’ which deals with the Nazis conquering the planet in the 1940s. Dick had been granted access to archived World War II Gestapo documents in the University of California at Berkley, and had come across diaries written by S.S. men stationed in Poland, which he found almost unreadable in their casual cruelty and lack of human empathy. One sentence in particular troubled him: “We are kept awake at night by the cries of starving children.” Dick was so horrified by this sentence that he reasoned there was obviously something wrong with the man who wrote it. This led him to hypothesize that Nazism in general was a defective group mind, a mind so emotionally flawed that the word human could not be applied to them; their lack of empathy was so pronounced that Dick reasoned they couldn’t be referred to as human beings, even though their outward appearance seemed to indicate that they were human. The novel sprang from this.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Commentary by Jon: “The basis of robots in movies, for me, has always been the comparison with them to humans. What can they do that humans can’t? What can humans do that they can’t? Ultimately it always comes down to a reference to the abstract, such as to art, love or to the soul. Can a robot have a soul? Can a robot love? I find Blade Runner especially interesting. Rachel apparently isn’t aware she is a robot, she is so perfectly made. Even Deckard can’t detect her at first and he is the supposed expert. I love that she is a love interest in light of all this.”

If you have any suggestions for this week’s theme, please post in comments.

Daily Dialogue — July 22, 2014

July 22nd, 2014 by

Andrew Martin: May one, sir? Is now a good time?
‘Ma’am’ Martin: What? A good time for what?
Andrew Martin: Last night, Sir taught…
Sir: No, no, no, don’t blame me Andrew. Just… go ahead.
Andrew Martin: Thank you sir
Andrew Martin: [Very fast] Two cannibals were eating a clown. One turns to the other and says “Does this taste funny to you?” How do you make a hanky dance? Put a little boogie in it! What is a brunette between two blondes? A translator! Do you know why blind people don’t like to sky-dive? It scares their dogs! A man with demensia is driving on the freeway. His wife calls him on the mobile phone and says “Sweetheart, I heard there’s someone driving the wrong way on the freeway.” He says “One? There’s hundreds!” What’s silent and smells like worms? Bird farts. It must have been an engineer who designed the human body. Who else would put a waste processing plant next to a recreation area? A woman goes into a doctor’s office, and the doctor says “Do you mind if I numb your breasts?” “Not at all.” *makes ‘motor-boating’ noise. “Num-num-num-num.”
Andrew Martin: [Family chuckles] One did it sir!
Sir: Andrew, it was fine, but we might want to talk about appropriateness and um, and timing.
Andrew Martin: It’s ten-fifteen sir.

Bicentennial Man (1999), screenplay by Nicholas Kazan, novel by Isaac Asimov and Robert Silverberg

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Robot. Today’s suggestion by blknwite.

Trivia: Andrew is a NDR-114. This may be a tribute to Stanley Kubrick, who used the number 114 in multiple films such as A Clockwork Orange (1971) and Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964).

Dialogue On Dialogue: Commentary by blknwite: “I know its pure cheese but I love it. Also love this quote on IMDB, Nicolas Kazan: ‘The next time someone reads your script and either really hates something that you know works, or makes cavalier and foolish suggestions – perhaps you should ask them ‘Did you ever hear a song for the first time and hate it and then, two weeks later, find yourself singing it?’”

If you have any suggestions for this week’s theme, please post in comments.

Daily Dialogue — July 21, 2014

July 21st, 2014 by

Marvin: I think you ought to know I’m feeling very depressed.
Trillian: Well, we have something that may take your mind off it.
Marvin: It won’t work, I have an exceptionally large mind.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy (2005), screenplay by Douglas Adams & Karey Kirkpatrick from the book by Douglas Adams

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Robot. Today’s suggestion by Debbie Moon.

Trivia: Deep Thought reveals the answer to the ultimate question 42 minutes into the film.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Commentary by Debbie: “Many of the best robot moments are robots aspiring to act like people – noble, passionate, heroic, emotional. Marvin acts exactly like a person – but it’s that annoying guy who’s always moaning and won’t shut up…”

If you have any suggestions for this week’s theme, please post in comments.

Daily Dialogue — July 20, 2014

July 20th, 2014 by

“You want to fuck? You’ll be fucked fifty times a day… before you die!”

Revenge (1999), screenplay by Jim Harrison and Jeffrey Alan Fiskin, novella by Jim Harrison

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Revenge. Today’s suggestion by blindwillyz.

Trivia: After Jim Harrison’s novella was published in 1979, the film version of Revenge became something of a hot property in Hollywood, and had numerous directors attached over the years. Amongst these were John Houston, Sydney Pollack and Jonathan Demme.

Dialogue On Dialogue: A spurned husband confronts his cheating wife with knife in hand. This is an act of revenge… that sets up a whole series of revengeful events. Hence, the movie’s title.

Daily Dialogue theme for next week: Robot

July 19th, 2014 by

The Daily Dialogue theme next week: Robot.

“Klaatu barada nikto!”

Chances are, you’ll never write a script with a robot in it. But just in case you do, next week is for you! Let’s pull together noteworthy dialogue involving robots.

The usual drill:

* Copy/paste dialogue from IMDB Quotes or some other transcript source.

* Copy/paste the URL of an accompanying video from YouTube or some other video source.

I’d also ask you to think about why the dialogue is notable. Is there anything about the dialogue which provides some takeaway re screenwriting?

Here is our lineup for upcoming Daily Dialogue themes:

July 28-August 3: Teaching

August 4-August 10: Grief

August 11-August 17: Voice-Over Narration

August 18-August 24: Smack Talk

August 25-August 31: Delivering Bad News

Please post those and your ideas for this week’s theme — Robot — in comments. Thanks!

If you have any ideas for Daily Dialogue themes, feel free to post as well.

Daily Dialogue — July 19, 2014

July 19th, 2014 by

“It’s your time, boy.”

Rolling Thunder (1977), screenplay by Paul Schrader and Heywood Gould, story by Paul Schrader

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Revenge.

Trivia: In the book “Schrader On Schrader” Paul Schrader who co-wrote the movie complains how the studio completely twisted his original version of the story. He wrote it as a critique of US involvement in Vietnam War and fascistic and racist attitudes in America. Rane was originally written as white trash racist with many similarities to Schrader’s more famous character Travis Bickle (the main character of Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver). In this version, Rane becomes a war hero without ever having fired a gun, and comes home to confront the Texas Mexican community. Rane’s racist upbringing and hatred that grew in him in Vietnam slowly come out. This version ends with Rane’s indiscriminate slaughter of Mexicans which was meant as a metaphor for Vietnam. Schrader concludes with a claim that he basically wrote a film about fascism and the studio made a fascist film.

Dialogue On Dialogue: For this type of genre-piece, there’s a tradition of revenge one-liners. “It’s your time, boy” slots right in with that trope.

If you have any suggestions for this week’s theme, please post in comments.

Daily Dialogue — July 18, 2014

July 18th, 2014 by

“My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions and loyal servant to the TRUE emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.”

Gladiator (2000), screenplay by David Franzoni and John Logan and William Nicholson, story by David Franzoni

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Revenge.

Trivia: Though dozens of versions of the script were written, the original 130 page draft, dated October 1997 by David Franzoni, is “… different in almost every detail from the finished movie.” (As quoted by ‘David S. Cohen’ in his book ‘Screen Plays’.)

Dialogue On Dialogue: The penultimate moment in Maximus’ revenge, revealing the truth of who he is and what his plans are.

If you have any suggestions for this week’s theme, please post in comments.

Daily Dialogue — July 17, 2014

July 17th, 2014 by

INT. ROCKY CAVERN

KIRK: Khan, you have Genesis, but you don’t have me. You were going to kill me, Khan. You’re going to have to come down. You’re going to have to come here!

INT. RELIANT BRIDGE

KHAN: I’ve done far worse than kill you. I’ve hurt you. And I wish to go on hurting you. I shall leave you, as you left me — as you left her: marooned for eternity in the centre of a dead planet — buried alive.

KIRK: Khan — !

Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan (1982), screenplay by Jack B. Sowards, story by Harve Bennett and Jack B. Sowards, television series by Gene Roddenberry

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Revenge. Today’s suggestion by noirdreams1941.

Trivia: Producer Harve Bennett viewed all the original Star Trek (1966) episodes and chose Star Trek: Space Seed (1967) as the best candidate for a sequel. Spock even remarks in the script that it would be interesting to return in a hundred years or so to see what type of civilization had grown there. This is the first time a movie was made as a sequel to a specific television show episode.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Commentary by noirdreams1941: “Khan may have been thwarted this time but his response ratchets up his malevolence and commitment to seeking-‘n’-destroying Kirk.

In the TV series Kirk had gone through all manner of moods, in battle, in different dimensions, intoxicated, but the much-lampooned “Khhaaaaan!” burst of rage and frustration is a great emotional punctation at the end of the scene. It ramps up the stakes and showed that our hero, tired, feeling old (we didn’t know then that umpteen sequels would follow), having just met up with his old flame and nearly decked his estranged son, with an intellectually and physically superior ghost from his past hunting him down, was emotionally nearing the ropes at that point. The locations help accentuate this: Kirk and co are subterranean and hunkered down, Khan’s scooting around the planet in control of a pirated spaceship. (And I still like it a whole lot better than the riff/rip-off switcheroo at the end of Into Darkness.)

Khan wants to punish Kirk for marooning him, for marooning Khan’s beloved wife and tribal family. This echoes Kirk’s own ‘marooning’ of his son David and Carol Marcus, David’s mother and how Kirk was feeling marooned from his old post and the Enterprise at the beginning of the film.”

If you have any suggestions for this week’s theme, please post in comments.