Script Analysis: “The Incredibles” – Part 5: Dialogue

August 12th, 2016 by

Reading scripts. Absolutely critical to learn the craft of screenwriting. The focus of this weekly series is a deep structural and thematic analysis of each script we read. Our daily schedule:

Monday: Scene-By-Scene Breakdown
Tuesday: Plot
Wednesday: Characters
Thursday: Themes
Friday: Dialogue
Saturday: Takeaways

Today: Dialogue

Written and directed by Brad Bird.

IMDb plot summary: A family of undercover superheroes, while trying to live the quiet suburban life, are forced into action to save the world.

Some questions to consider in relation to dialogue in The Incredibles:

* What do you consider to be the most memorable lines… and why?

* Any notable callbacks (a line used once, then used again later in a different context)?

* How about set-up & payoffs?

* Any exposition that caught your eye for being handled exceptionally well?

Head to comments and let me know what dialogue in the script made the most impact on you.

Major kudos to Traci Nell Peterson for doing this week’s scene-by-scene breakdown.

For Part 1, to read the Scene-By-Scene Breakdown, go here.

For Part 2, to read Plot analysis, go here.

For Part 3, to read Characters, go here.

For Part 4, to read Themes, go here.

If you have a favorite movie script you’d like to break down scene-by-scene and contribute to our archive, as well as provide the foundation for a week’s worth of discussion and analysis, email me with your suggestion.

Note: The script has to be available online somewhere.

To see the archive of scene-by-scene breakdowns, go here.

Circling back to where we started, reading scripts is hugely important. Analyzing them even more so. If you want to work in Hollywood as a writer, you need to develop your critical analytical skills. This is one way to do that.

So seize this opportunity and join in the conversation!

I hope to see you in comments about this week’s script: The Incredibles.

Two recent videos on writing dialogue

June 19th, 2016 by

Two videos about the craft of writing dialogue hit online in the last week:

Now You See It

Channel Chriswell Extra

Both worth watching. Movies are primarily a visual medium, but great dialogue is a major plus in creating a good script read.

Script Analysis: “Man Up” – Part 5: Dialogue

June 17th, 2016 by

Reading scripts. Absolutely critical to learn the craft of screenwriting. The focus of this weekly series is a deep structural and thematic analysis of each script we read. Our daily schedule:

Monday: Scene-By-Scene Breakdown
Tuesday: Plot
Wednesday: Characters
Thursday: Themes
Friday: Dialogue
Saturday: Takeaways

Today: Dialogue.

Written by Tess Morris.

IMBd plot summary: A single woman takes the place of a stranger’s blind date, which leads to her finding the perfect boyfriend.

Some questions to consider in relation to dialogue in Man Up:

* What do you consider to be the most memorable lines… and why?

* Any notable callbacks (a line used once, then used again later in a different context)?

* How about set-up & payoffs?

* Any exposition that caught your eye for being handled exceptionally well?

Head to comments and let me know what dialogue in the script made the most impact on you.

Major kudos to Clare Macdonald for doing this week’s scene-by-scene breakdown.

For Part 1, to read the Scene-By-Scene Breakdown, go here.

For Part 2, to read Plot analysis, go here.

For Part 3, to read Characters, go here.

For Part 4, to read Themes, go here.

I am soliciting volunteers to do a scene-by-scene breakdown to be used as the foundation of our script reading series. There are also over 150 movie scripts from the last 5 years, many of which we have yet to analyze.

Beyond your name being noted here, my thanks and some creative juju, hopefully you will learn something about story structure and develop another skill set which is super helpful in learning and practicing the craft.

To read examples of scene-by-scene breakdowns, go here.

To access the entire Go Into The Story Script Read and Analysis Series, go here.

Reading scripts is hugely important. Analyzing them even more so. If you want to work in Hollywood as a writer, you need to develop your critical analytical skills. This is one way to do that.

So seize this opportunity and join in the conversation! Make it a commitment to read more scripts in 2016!

To read my interview with Man Up screenwriter Tess Morris, go here.

To read my interview with Man Up producer Rachael Prior, go  here.

To watch Man Up online, go here.

Chuck Wendig: Tweetstorm About Writing Dialogue

May 14th, 2016 by

Chuck Wendig is a novelist, screenwriter, game designer, and of late has added comic book writer to his burgeoning resume. He is also on Twitter (@ChuckWendig) and his feed is both hugely entertaining and informative. To wit, the other day, he went on what he calls a “tweetstorm” about writing dialogue, then storified it on his blog (also recommended) Terrible Minds. It’s a great read. Here are few tweety excerpts:

—-

Good stuff! For the rest of Chuck’s tweetstorm, go here.

Script Analysis: “The Silence of the Lambs” – Part 5: Dialogue

April 29th, 2016 by

Reading scripts. Absolutely critical to learn the craft of screenwriting. The focus of this weekly series is a deep structural and thematic analysis of each script we read. Our daily schedule:

Monday: Scene-By-Scene Breakdown
Tuesday: Plot
Wednesday: Characters
Thursday: Themes
Friday: Dialogue
Saturday: Takeaways

Today: Dialogue. You may download a PDF of the script here.

Screenplay by Ted Tally, novel by Thomas Harris.

IMDb plot summary: A young F.B.I. cadet must confide in an incarcerated and manipulative killer to receive his help on catching another serial killer who skins his victims.

Major kudos to Derek Jacobs for doing this week’s scene-by-scene breakdown. To download a PDF of the breakdown, go here.

For Part 1, to read the Scene-By-Scene Breakdown, go here.

For Part 2, to read Plot analysis, go here.

For Part 3, to read Characters, go here.

For Part 4, to read Themes, go here.

I am looking for volunteers to read a script and provide a scene-by-scene breakdown for it to be used as part of our weekly series. What do you get? Beyond your name being noted here, my thanks, and some creative juju, hopefully you will learn something about story structure and develop another skill set which is super helpful in learning and practicing the craft.

The latest volunteers:

12 Years a Slave – Georgevine Moss
Beasts of No Nation – Jacob Holmes-Brown
Bridge of Spies – Scott Guinn
Carol – Jillienne Bee
Celeste and Jesse Forever – Ryan Canty
Diary of a Teenage Girl – Cynthia
Ex Machina – Nick Norman-Butler
Frozen – Doc Kane
Gone Girl – Ashley Lara
Inside Out – Katha
Legend – Olivia
Leviathan – Piotr Ryczko
Locke – Megaen Kelly
Macbeth – Trung
Man Up – Kristy Brooks
Monsters University – Liz Correal
Mud – Kevin
Nightcrawler – DJ Summit
Pawn Sacrifice – Michael Waters
Spotlight – Rhidian Pentz
Steve Jobs – Angie Soliman
Straight Outta Compton – Timm Higgins
The End of the Tour – Steve Fabian
The Iron Lady – Leslie
The Way Way Back – The Deuce
Trainwreck – Joni Brainerd
Wreck It Ralph – Kenny Crowe

Thanks, all!

To see examples of scene-by-scene breakdowns, go here. Part of the goal is to create a library of breakdowns for writers to have at their disposal for research and learning.

You may see the scripts we can use for the series – free and legal – by going here.

To date, we have analyzed 55 movie scripts, a great resource for screenwriters. To see those analyses, go here.

Thanks to any of you who will rise to the occasion and take on a scene-by-scene breakdown.

And for those of you who have volunteered, please send me your scene-by-scene breakdown as soon as possible!

Circling back to where we started, reading scripts is hugely important. Analyzing them even more so. If you want to work in Hollywood as a writer, you need to develop your critical analytical skills. This is one way to do that.

So seize this opportunity and join in the conversation!

I hope to see you in comments about this week’s script: The Silence of the Lambs.

Script Analysis: “The End of the Tour” – Part 5: Dialogue

April 8th, 2016 by

Reading scripts. Absolutely critical to learn the craft of screenwriting. The focus of this weekly series is a deep structural and thematic analysis of each script we read. Our daily schedule:

Monday: Scene-By-Scene Breakdown
Tuesday: Plot
Wednesday: Characters
Thursday: Themes
Friday: Dialogue
Saturday: Takeaways

Today: Dialogue.

Screenplay by Donald Margulies, book by David Lipsky.

IMDb plot summary: The story of the five-day interview between Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky and acclaimed novelist David Foster Wallace, which took place right after the 1996 publication of Wallace’s groundbreaking epic novel, ‘Infinite Jest.’

Some questions to consider in relation to dialogue in The End of the Tour:

* What do you consider to be the most memorable lines… and why?

* Any notable callbacks (a line used once, then used again later in a different context)?

* How about set-up & payoffs?

* Any exposition that caught your eye for being handled exceptionally well?

Head to comments and let me know what dialogue in the script made the most impact on you.

Major kudos to Steve Fabian for doing this week’s scene-by-scene breakdown.

For Part 1, to read the Scene-By-Scene Breakdown, go here.

For Part 2, to read Plot analysis, go here.

For Part 3, to read Characters, go here.

For Part 4, to read Themes, go here.

To download a PDF of the breakdown, go here.

To read my 2015 interview with screenwriter Donald Margulies, go here.

Tomorrow we shift our focus to the script’s key characters.

I am looking for volunteers to read a script and provide a scene-by-scene breakdown for it to be used as part of our weekly series. What do you get? Beyond your name being noted here, my thanks, and some creative juju, hopefully you will learn something about story structure and develop another skill set which is super helpful in learning and practicing the craft.

The latest volunteers:

12 Years a Slave – Georgevine Moss
Beasts of No Nation – Jacob Holmes-Brown
Big Eyes – Rachel Sheridan
Bridge of Spies – Scott Guinn
Carol – Jillienne Bee
Celeste and Jesse Forever – Ryan Canty
Diary of a Teenage Girl – Cynthia
Ex Machina – Nick Norman-Butler
Frozen – Doc Kane
Gone Girl – Ashley Lara
Inside Out – Katha
Legend – Olivia
Leviathan – Piotr Ryczko
Locke – Megaen Kelly
Macbeth – Trung
Man Up – Kristy Brooks
Monsters University – Liz Correal
Mud – Kevin
Nightcrawler – DJ Summit
Pawn Sacrifice – Michael Waters
Steve Jobs – Angie Soliman
Straight Outta Compton – Timm Higgins
The End of the Tour – Steve Fabian
The Iron Lady – Leslie
The Way Way Back – The Deuce
Trainwreck – Joni Brainerd
Wreck It Ralph – Kenny Crowe

Thanks, all!

To see examples of scene-by-scene breakdowns, go here. Part of the goal is to create a library of breakdowns for writers to have at their disposal for research and learning.

You may see the scripts we can use for the series – free and legal – by going here.

To date, we have analyzed 54 movie scripts, a great resource for screenwriters. To see those analyses, go here.

Thanks to any of you who will rise to the occasion and take on a scene-by-scene breakdown.

And for those of you who have volunteered, please send me your scene-by-scene breakdown as soon as possible!

Circling back to where we started, reading scripts is hugely important. Analyzing them even more so. If you want to work in Hollywood as a writer, you need to develop your critical analytical skills. This is one way to do that.

So seize this opportunity and join in the conversation!

I hope to see you in comments about this week’s script: The End of the Tour.

Movie Analysis: “The Shawshank Redemption” – Dialogue

April 1st, 2016 by

Another in our bi-weekly series in which we analyze movies currently in release. Why? To quote the writing mantra I coined over 5 years ago: Watch movies. Read scripts. Write pages. You will note which one comes first. Here are my reflections from that post about the importance of watching movies:

To be a good screenwriter, you need to have a broad exposure to the world of film. Every movie you see is a potential reference point for your writing, everything from story concepts you generate to characters you develop to scenes you construct. Moreover people who work in the movie business constantly reference existing movies when discussing stories you write; it’s a shorthand way of getting across what they mean or envision.

But most importantly, you need to watch movies in order to ‘get’ how movie stories work. If you immerse yourself in the world of film, it’s like a Gestalt experience where you begin to grasp intuitively scene composition, story structure, character functions, dialogue and subtext, transitions and pacing, and so on.

Let me add this: It’s important to see movies as they get released so that you stay on top of the business. Decisions get made in Hollywood in large part depending upon how movies perform, so watching movies as they come out puts you in the same head space as reps, producers, execs, and buyers.

For this week’s movie, we go back in time to 1994: The Shawshank Redemption, screenplay by Frank Darabont, novella by Stephen King.

Our schedule for discussion this week:

Monday: General Comments
Tuesday: Plot
Wednesday: Characters
Thursday: Themes
Friday: Dialogue
Saturday: Takeaways

For those of you who have not seen the movie, do not click MORE as we will be trafficking in major spoilers. But seriously, if you haven’t seen The Shawshank Redemption, stop whatever you’re doing and watch it! If you have seen The Shawshank Redemption, I invite you to join me in breaking down and analyzing the movie.

(more…)

Movie Analysis: “The Big Short” – Dialogue

March 18th, 2016 by

Another in our bi-weekly series in which we analyze movies currently in release. Why? To quote the writing mantra I coined over 5 years ago: Watch movies. Read scripts. Write pages. You will note which one comes first. Here are my reflections from that post about the importance of watching movies:

To be a good screenwriter, you need to have a broad exposure to the world of film. Every movie you see is a potential reference point for your writing, everything from story concepts you generate to characters you develop to scenes you construct. Moreover people who work in the movie business constantly reference existing movies when discussing stories you write; it’s a shorthand way of getting across what they mean or envision.

But most importantly, you need to watch movies in order to ‘get’ how movie stories work. If you immerse yourself in the world of film, it’s like a Gestalt experience where you begin to grasp intuitively scene composition, story structure, character functions, dialogue and subtext, transitions and pacing, and so on.

Let me add this: It’s important to see movies as they get released so that you stay on top of the business. Decisions get made in Hollywood in large part depending upon how movies perform, so watching movies as they come out puts you in the same head space as reps, producers, execs, and buyers.

This week’s movie: The Big Short which won the 2016 Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay by Charles Randolph and Adam McKay, based on the book by Michael Lewis. You may download the script here.

Our schedule for discussion this week:

Monday: General Comments
Tuesday: Plot
Wednesday: Characters
Thursday: Themes
Friday: Dialogue
Saturday: Takeaways

For those of you who have not seen the movie, do not click MORE as we will be trafficking in major spoilers. If you have seen The Big Short, I invite you to join me in breaking down and analyzing the movie.

(more…)

Movie Analysis: “Spotlight” – Dialogue

March 4th, 2016 by

Another in our bi-weekly series in which we analyze movies currently in release. Why? To quote the writing mantra I coined over 5 years ago: Watch movies. Read scripts. Write pages. You will note which one comes first. Here are my reflections from that post about the importance of watching movies:

To be a good screenwriter, you need to have a broad exposure to the world of film. Every movie you see is a potential reference point for your writing, everything from story concepts you generate to characters you develop to scenes you construct. Moreover people who work in the movie business constantly reference existing movies when discussing stories you write; it’s a shorthand way of getting across what they mean or envision.

But most importantly, you need to watch movies in order to ‘get’ how movie stories work. If you immerse yourself in the world of film, it’s like a Gestalt experience where you begin to grasp intuitively scene composition, story structure, character functions, dialogue and subtext, transitions and pacing, and so on.

Let me add this: It’s important to see movies as they get released so that you stay on top of the business. Decisions get made in Hollywood in large part depending upon how movies perform, so watching movies as they come out puts you in the same head space as reps, producers, execs, and buyers.

This week’s movie: Spotlight which won the 2016 Academy Award for Best Picture, written by Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy. You may download. the script here.

Our schedule for discussion this week:

Monday: General Comments
Tuesday: Plot
Wednesday: Characters
Thursday: Themes
Friday: Dialogue
Saturday: Takeaways

For those of you who have not seen the movie, do not click MORE as we will be trafficking in major spoilers. If you have seen Spotlight, I invite you to join me in breaking down and analyzing the movie.

(more…)

Script Analysis: “Gone Girl” – Part 5: Dialogue

February 19th, 2016 by

Reading scripts. Absolutely critical to learn the craft of screenwriting. The focus of this weekly series is a deep structural and thematic analysis of each script we read. Our daily schedule:

Monday: Scene-By-Scene Breakdown
Tuesday: Plot
Wednesday: Characters
Thursday: Themes
Friday: Dialogue
Saturday: Takeaways

Today: Dialogue. You may download a PDF of the script here.

Screenplay by Gillian Flynn based on her novel.

IMDb plot summary: With his wife’s disappearance having become the focus of an intense media circus, a man sees the spotlight turned on him when it’s suspected that he may not be innocent.

Some questions to consider in relation to dialogue:

* What do you consider to be the most memorable lines… and why?

* Any notable callbacks (a line used once, then used again later in a different context)?

* How about set-up & payoffs?

* Any exposition that caught your eye for being handled exceptionally well?

Head to comments and let me know what dialogue in the script made the most impact on you.

For Part 1, to read the Scene-By-Scene Breakdown, go here.

For Part 2, to read Plot analysis, go here.

For Part 3, to read Character analysis, go here.

For Part 4, to read Themes analysis, go here.

Tomorrow we shift our focus to the script’s dialogue.

I am looking for volunteers to read a script and provide a scene-by-scene breakdown for it to be used as part of our weekly series. What do you get? Beyond your name being noted here, my thanks, and some creative juju, hopefully you will learn something about story structure and develop another skill set which is super helpful in learning and practicing the craft.

The latest volunteers:

12 Years a Slave – Georgevine Moss
Beasts of No Nation – Jacob Holmes-Brown
Bridge of Spies – Scott Guinn
Carol – Jillienne Bee
Celeste and Jesse Forever – Ryan Canty
Diary of a Teenage Girl – Cynthia
Ex Machina – Nick Norman-Butler
Frozen – Doc Kane
Gone Girl – Ashley Lara
Inside Out – Katha
Legend – Olivia
Leviathan – Piotr Ryczko
Locke – Megaen Kelly
Macbeth – Trung
Man Up – Kristy Brooks
Monsters University – Liz Correal
Mud – Kevin
Nightcrawler – DJ Summit
Pawn Sacrifice – Michael Waters
Steve Jobs – Angie Soliman
Straight Outta Compton – Timm Higgins
The End of the Tour – Steve F
The Iron Lady – Leslie
The Way Way Back – The Deuce
Trainwreck – Joni Brainerd
Wreck It Ralph – Kenny Crowe

Thanks, all!

To see examples of scene-by-scene breakdowns, go here. Part of the goal is to create a library of breakdowns for writers to have at their disposal for research and learning.

You may see the scripts we can use for the series – free and legal – by going here.

To date, we have analyzed 53 movie scripts, a great resource for screenwriters. To see those analyses, go here.

Thanks to any of you who will rise to the occasion and take on a scene-by-scene breakdown.

And for those of you who have volunteered, please send me your scene-by-scene breakdown as soon as possible!

Circling back to where we started, reading scripts is hugely important. Analyzing them even more so. If you want to work in Hollywood as a writer, you need to develop your critical analytical skills. This is one way to do that.

So seize this opportunity and join in the conversation!

I hope to see you in comments about this week’s script: Gone Girl.