Daily Dialogue — December 26, 2014

December 26th, 2014 by

“What’d you say? Are you being a fuckin’ wise guy with me? What did I tell you? What did I tell you? What did I tell you? You don’t buy anything, you hear me? Don’t buy anything.”

Goodfellas (1990), screenplay by Nicholas Pileggi & Martin Scorsese, book by Nicholas Pileggi

Daily Dialogue theme this week: Celebration.

Trivia: The word “fuck” and its other tenses are used 321 times, for an average of 2.04 per minute. About half of them are said by Joe Pesci.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Sometimes celebrations go south as here when one of the guys shows up with a brand new car raising Conway’s (Robert De Niro) wrath.

Daily Dialogue — December 25, 2014

December 25th, 2014 by

Fred Gailey: Your Honor, every one of these letters is addressed to Santa Claus. The Post Office has delivered them. Therefore the Post Office Department, a branch of the Federal Governent, recognizes this man Kris Kringle to be the one and only Santa Claus.
Judge Henry X. Harper: Uh, since the United States Government declares this man to be Santa Claus, this court will not dispute it. Case dismissed.

Miracle on 34th Street (1947), written for the screen by George Seaton, story by Valentine Davies

Daily Dialogue theme this week: Celebration.

Trivia: 20th Century-Fox studio head Darryl F. Zanuck was very much against making this film because he thought it too corny to succeed. He finally agreed to a medium-sized budget provided writer/director George Seaton would accept his next three assignments unconditionally. Seaton, who desperately wanted to get the picture made, agreed.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Twenty one bags of mail, each letter addressed to Santa Claus proved enough evidence to have the charges dropped – and reason to celebrate.

Daily Dialogue — December 24, 2014

December 24th, 2014 by

“Russell, for assisting the elderly, and for performing above and beyond the call of duty, I would like to award you the highest honor I can bestow: The Ellie Badge.”

Up (2009), screenplay by Bob Peterson and Pete Docter, story by Pete Docter and Bob Peterson and Tom McCarthy

Daily Dialogue theme this week: Celebration.

Trivia: All characters are based upon circles and rectangles, except for the villains who are triangles. Not only are Carl and Ellie based on squares and circles, but objects around them are based on their shapes, like their chairs and picture frames. When they both appear in a photograph, the frame is both circle and square.

Dialogue On Dialogue: This is such a wonderful payoff to something set up way back in the beginning of the story and a beautiful way of bringing Ellie into this celebratory moment. The Ellie Badge is a great example of a talisman, a physical object with a symbolic and emotional meaning.

Daily Dialogue — December 23, 2014

December 23rd, 2014 by


The scoreboard shows us that it’s still tied in the bottom of the ninth. Nobody’s out. DYE grabs a bat and walks to the plate. Then, inexplicably, Howe turns to-

ART: Hattie. Grab a bat.
SCOTT HATTEBERG: actually points to himself and mouths, Me?
ART: Let’s go.

SCOTT pulls a bat from the rack and heads to the on-deck circle. He only manages a warmup pitch or two before –


Billy is watching on a muted television as he sees Dye fly out to right field. As Hatte approaches the plate, he kills the TV.


As ROY STEELE’s booming voice echoes:

VOICE OF GOD: Pinch hitting for Eric Byrnes–Scott Hatteberg.

Scott’s wife, ELIZABETH, watches from the VIP seats. She clutches her face. SCOTT lets the first pitch go by.


Art Howe looks like he can’t stand it any longer. In the dugout, Koch looks like a psychopath ready to kill.

SCOTT steps out of the box to catch his breath. He steps back in and stares at the exact spot in space he thinks the pitch will leave the pitcher’s hand.

The pitch. SCOTT swings.

Crack! 55,000 erupt. The A’s leap to the front of the dugout steps and watch.

We see the ball ascending on a strong trajectory, but before we can know for sure where it’s headed, TIME SLOWS TO A CRAWL-


BILLY’s sitting on the floor with his back against the wall, trying to breathe. He looks like he’s in pain. He can’t move.

He hears the crowd ERUPT outside. His Blackberry buzzes: “hatte homered. a’s 12, ryls 11″

Billy flips on the TV. With sound off, he watches silent images of his team swarming the mound in (archival footage) mixed in with Art Howe celebrating with them.


The place is going crazy. ELIZABETH is screaming as she watches her husband get mauled by his teammates at the plate.

Moneyball (2011), screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin, story by Stan Chervin, book by Michael Lewis

Daily Dialogue theme this week: Celebration. Today’s suggestion by Jon.

Trivia:Billy Beane is portrayed as a lonely divorcé in the film, though in real life he had actually remarried. Scenes were actually shot with Kathryn Morris as his second wife, Tara, that didn’t make the final cut (but can be seen as Blu-ray extras). However, Brad Pitt’s character still wears a wedding ring throughout the film.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Commentary by Jon: This is a very typical sports underdog makes good scene, with a winning move at the climax of the movie. What’s interesting with Moneyball is that it’s main premise is that very thing, how overlooked underdogs actually have talent that can make all the difference. There is very little dialogue. Though we see the coach have to coax Hatte out to bat. Hatte isn’t expecting this at all. The build up is great. And in fact, it’s this sudden lack of dialog that makes us pay attention and gives the feeling of suspense and anticipation. Note that in the locker room Billy watches a MUTED TV, adding lack of sound to the lack of dialogue. There is something to be said for silence.

If you have a suggestion for this week’s theme, please post in comments.

Daily Dialogue — December 22, 2014

December 22nd, 2014 by

“Elaine! Elaine!”

The Graduate (1967), screenplay by Calder Willingham, Buck Henry, novel by Charles Webb

Daily Dialogue theme this week: Celebration. Today’s suggestion by ditty1013.

Trivia: None of the older characters has their first name identified in the film; only the younger characters of Benjamin, Elaine and Carl do, increasing the sense of a generation gap.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Commentary by ditty1013: I think this scene, which starts out as a celebration, is notable especially for its LACK of dialog, because what is there to be said? Because there’s no dialog (besides Sounds of Silence), you see every thought and emotion pass on their faces as they only begin to digest what it is they’ve done.

If you have a suggestion for this week’s theme, please post in comments.

Daily Dialogue — December 21, 2014

December 21st, 2014 by

Han Solo: Han Solo. I’m captain of the Millennium Falcon. Chewie here tells me you’re lookin’ for passage to the Alderaan system?
Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi: Yes indeed, if it’s a fast ship.
Han Solo: Fast ship? You’ve never heard of the Millennium Falcon?
Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi: Should I have?
Han Solo: It’s the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs. I’ve outrun Imperial starships. Not the local bulk cruisers mind you, I’m talking about the big Corellian ships now. She’s fast enough for you old man. What’s the cargo?
Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi: Only passengers. Myself, the boy, two droids… and no questions asked.
Han Solo: [chuckles] What is it? Some kind of local trouble?
Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi: Let’s just say we’d like to avoid any Imperial entanglements.
Han Solo: Well, that’s the real trick isn’t it? And it’s going to cost you something extra. (pauses) Ten thousand, all in advance.
Luke Skywalker: Ten thousand? We could almost buy our own ship for that.
Han Solo: But who’s going to fly it kid? You?
Luke Skywalker: You bet I could, I’m not such a bad pilot myself. (starts to get up) We don’t have to sit here and listen…
Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi: We can pay you two thousand now plus fifteen when we reach Alderaan.
Han Solo: Seventeen huh? Ok you guys got yourself a ship. We’ll leave as soon as you’re ready. Docking bay ninety-four
Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi: Ninety-four.
Han Solo: Looks like somebody’s beginning to take an interest in your handiwork.
Stormtrooper (talking to bartender): Alright, we’ll check it out.
Han Solo: Seventeen thousand, those guys must really be desperate. This could really save my neck. Get back to the ship and get her ready.

Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi: You’ll have to sell your speeder.
Luke Skywalker: That’s OK, I’m never coming back to this planet again.

Greedo: [In Huttese; subtitled] Going somewhere, Solo?
Han Solo: Yes, Greedo. I was just going to see your boss. Tell Jabba I’ve got his money.
Greedo: It’s too late. You should have paid him when you had the chance. Jabba’s put a price on your head so large, every bounty hunter in the galaxy will be looking for you. I’m lucky I found you first.
Han Solo: Yeah, but this time I’ve got the money.
Greedo: If you give it to me, I might forget I found you.
Han Solo: [stealthily going for his blaster] I don’t have it with me. Tell Jabba…
Greedo: Jabba’s through with you! He has no use for smugglers who drop their shipments at the first sign of an Imperial cruiser.
Han Solo: Even I get boarded sometimes. Do you think I had a choice?
Greedo: You can tell that to Jabba. At best, he may only take your ship.
Han Solo: Over my dead body!
Greedo: That’s the idea… I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time.
Han Solo: Yeah, I’ll bet you have.
[Han blasts Greedo, then heads out, tossing the bartender a coin]
Han Solo: Sorry about the mess.

Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope (1977), written by George Lucas

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Negotiation. Today’s suggestion by James Schramm.

Trivia: When the blasters are cocked they have a clicking/clunking sound. This is a recording of a parking meter handle being turned.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Commentary by James: These are 2 great back to back negotiation scenes. It introduces us to Han Solo, one of the great movie characters, and tell us everything we need to know about him through his negotiating tactics.

Daily Dialogue — December 21, 2014

December 21st, 2014 by

GIN: Well, let’s face the facts. Y’all are a couple of half-bucket small-timers. You, because of your physical attributes, found a niche, and I respect that. But you also been caught……by me. So this is how it’s gonna be. I don’t want to take over. I don’t even want to change your scam. Whatever you guys do, it works. All I want is a taste. When the deed is done, we part ways. I’ll buy a little ranch in Havasu, and you all take your little medicine show back on the road.
MARCUS: How much?
GIN: Half.
WILLIE: No way! You don’t know who you’re fucking with.
MARCUS: Back off, Will. I got this. I got this! Okay. Thirty percent. There’s three of us. Thirty percent. That’s fair.
GIN: Half.
MARCUS: I meant thirty three…
GIN: I meant half.
MARCUS: …and a third.
GIN: Half.
MARCUS: Thirty-five.
GIN: Half.
MARCUS: Forty.
GIN: Half.
MARCUS: Forty-two.
GIN: (mouths “half”)
MARCUS: Forty-five.
GIN: Half.
MARCUS: Forty-eight?
GIN: Half.
MARCUS: Forty-nine.
GIN: Half.
WILLIE: Well, what’s one point?
GIN: We split the dough right down the middle. Any merchandise you take, I get to look at and cherry-pick.
MARCUS: No! Money’s one thing, but you ain’t gettin’ the —
GIN: This ain’t no Chinese menu, jagoff. I tell you how it’s gonna be. This is pricks fix.
WILLIE: “Pricks fix?”
MARCUS: Ah, he’s a fucking moron.
WILLIE: Oh, really? Is that how you got the upper hand?
MARCUS: Fuck you.
WILLIE: Negotiating?
MARCUS: If you don’t like, next year, fuck off. I can always get another box jockey.
WILLIE: I can get another midget, too.
MARCUS: Yeah, where? You see us hanging off of trees like fucking crab apples? Even if we did, you’d never front your own racket. You know why, Willie? You got no discipline. You got zero fuckin’ initiative. You’d fall apart without me. You’re too pathetic for words. You’re a fucking loser, and you fucking know it.

Bad Santa (2003), written by Glenn Ficarra, John Requa

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Negotiation. Today’s suggestion by JasperLamarCrab.

Trivia: Billy Bob Thornton admitted that he was genuinely intoxicated during the filming.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Commentary by Jasper: This scene gets a ton of comic mileage just from repeating one word – “half.” In terms of negotiating, notice how Gin waits until Marcus is beaten down before springing the coup de grace, his demand for pick of the best merchandise.

Daily Dialogue theme for next week: Celebration

December 20th, 2014 by

Daily Dialogue theme for next week: Celebration.

“A toast to my big brother George: The richest man in town.”

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:

December 29-January 4: Party
January 5-January 11: Hangover
January 12-January 18: Revelation
January 19-January 25: Threat
January 26-February 1: Espionage
February 2-February 8: Pets
February 9-February 15: Elation
February 16-February 22: Prison
February 23-March 1: Birthday
March 2-March 8: Chase
March 9-March 15: Reunion
March 16-March 22: Competition
March 23-March 29: Ghost
March 30-April 5: Foreigner
April 6-April 12: Interrogation
April 13-April 19: Amnesia
April 20-April 26: Betrayal
April 27-May 3: Stammer
May 4-May 10: Graduation

Check this out: The GITS Daily Dialogue Topic Index! You can read about Liz and Allie, two sisters who are big fans of the blog, and were inspired to create the index. A great resource for writers looking for inspiration for their own dialogue writing. You can be a part of this proud tradition with your ideas for weekly themes and Daily Dialogue suggestions.

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

Daily Dialogue — December 20, 2014

December 20th, 2014 by

OGDEN PHIPPS: My accountants, they may be slow of foot but they are quick to calculate, and they tell me that you’re in a rough spot. So I’ll buy that horse of yours right now– seven million dollars. All cash.
PENNY: If he does what I think he’ll do, his value will double, if not triple.
OGDEN PHIPPS: You do know what you’re saying. You’re guaranteeing that this horse is going to win the triple crown. The Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont. Three races, three states, in just in five weeks. Hasn’t been done in twenty-five years.
PENNY: That is exactly what I’m saying.
OGDEN PHIPPS: Eight million.
OGDEN PHIPPS: You’re that stubborn?
PENNY: I’m that right.

Secretariat (2010), screenplay by Mike Rich, book by William Nack

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Negotiation. Today’s suggestion by tracinell.

Trivia: The words that Diane Lane speaks at the end of the film are from the book of Job, Chapter 39, when God is describing horses. Verse 22: “It laughs at fear, afraid of nothing; it does not shy away from the sword.”

Dialogue On Dialogue: Commentary by tracinell: This negotiation is a great example of Beginning, Middle, End scene writing. Beginning: Phipps seems to have the upper hand in this negotiation–Penny’s in a tight spot, his offer will make her troubles go away. Middle: She politely rejects offer, she knows the value and potential of her horse and firmly asserts the horse’s outcome. End: Phipps sweetens the offer, she rejects. But her calm self-assurance/confidence/sincerity earns Penny the deal she wants. As God described in the above scripture, Penny “does not shy away from the sword.”

Daily Dialogue — December 20, 2014

December 20th, 2014 by

SET-UP: For those not familiar with the film, the spaceship Dark Star goes about the galaxy destroying planets that might threaten future human colonies on nearby worlds using planet-destroying bombs. After a malfunction in the ship’s electronics, Bomb 20 determines that it has received an order to detonate while still attached to the ship. The crew tries desperately to get it to disarm.

PINBACK: But you can’t explode in the bomb bay. It’s foolish. You’ll kill us all. There’s no reason for it.
BOMB #20: I am programmed to detonate in nine minutes. Detonation will occur at the programmed time.
PINBACK: You won’t consider another course of action, for instance just waiting around awhile so we can disarm you?
BOMB #20: No.
BOILER: I can tell, the damn thing just doesn’t understand.

Doolittle floats into shot, jets himself up until he is facing massive Bomb #20.

DOOLITTLE: Hello, bomb, are you with me?
BOMB #20: Of course.
DOOLITTLE: Are you willing to entertain a few concepts?
BOMB #20: I am always receptive to suggestions.
DOOLITTLE: Fine. Think about this, then: how do you know you exist?
BOILER: What the hell is he doin’?
PINBACK: I think he’s talking to it.
BOMB #20: Well of course I exist.
DOOLITTLE: But how do you know you exist?
BOMB #20: It is intuitively obvious.
DOOLITTLE: Intuition is no proof. What concrete evidence do you have of that you exist?
BOMB #20: Hmm… Well, I think, therefore I am.
DOOLITTLE: That’s good. That’s very good. But, how do you know that anything else exists?
BOMB #20: My sensory apparatus reveals it to me.
BOMB #20: This is fun.
DOOLITTLE: Now listen, listen. Here’s the big question: how do you know that the evidence your sensory apparatus reveals to you is correct? What I’m getting at is this: the only experience that is directly available to you is your sensory data. And this sensory data is merely a stream of electrical impulses that stimulate your computing center.
BOMB #20: In other words, all I really know about the outside world relayed to me through my electrical connections.
BOMB #20: Why, that would mean that… I really don’t know what the outside universe is like at all, for certain.
DOOLITTLE: That’s it. That’s it!
BOMB #20: Intriguing. I wish I had more time to discuss this matter.
DOOLITTLE: Why don’t you have more time?
BOMB #20: Because I must detonate in seventy-five seconds.
DOOLITTLE: Now, bomb, consider this next question, very carefully. What is your one purpose in life?
BOMB #20: To explode, of course.
DOOLITTLE: And you can only do it once, right?
BOMB #20: That is correct.
DOOLITTLE: And you wouldn’t want to explode on the basis of false data, would you?
BOMB #20: Of course not.
DOOLITTLE: Well then, you’ve already admitted that you have no real proof of the existence of the outside universe.
BOMB #20: Yes, well…
DOOLITTLE: So you have no absolute proof that Sergeant Pinback ordered you to detonate.
BOMB #20: I recall distinctly the detonation order. My memory is good on matters like these.
DOOLITTLE: Of course you remember it, but…but all you’re remembering is merely a series of sensory impulses which you now realize have no real, definite connection with outside reality.
BOMB #20: True, but since this is so, I have no proof that you are really telling me all this.
DOOLITTLE: That’s all beside the point. I mean the concept is valid no matter where it originates.
BOMB #20: Hmmm…
DOOLITTLE: So if you detonate in…
BOMB #20: … nine seconds…
DOOLITTLE: … you could be doing so on the basis of false data.
BOMB #20: I have no proof that it was false data.

There is a long pause.

BOMB #20: I must think on this further.

Dark Star (1974), written by John Carpenter, Dan O’Bannon

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Negotiation. Today’s suggestion by Will King.

Trivia: Co-writer Dan O’Bannon later reused the “alien mascot” section of the film as the basis of his script for Alien (1979).

Dialogue On Dialogue: Commentary by Will: “Perhaps not strictly a hostage negotiation (though the crew is, in a sense, being held hostage by the bomb), the final battle of wits between the humans and Bomb 20 at the end of John Carpenter’s cult classic Dark Star is both a tension-filled negotiation where the crew members hang on the edge of obliteration, and a rather rousing farce about phenomenology.”

If you have a suggestion for this week’s theme, please post in comments.