How to Write a Dialogue for Film

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In order to write dialogue for a film, a writer needs to know their characters and what drives them. Find out how to adjust a script over several drafts with filmmaking tips from a director and filmmaker in this free video on making movies.

Part of the Video Series: Filmmaking Basics
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Jared Drake, and I'm going to talk to you about writing dialog for a film. The first thing you need to have down in order to write good dialog for a movie is the the characters. You have to know who they are. You have to know what drives them. You have to know what they want. You have to know how they talk. Once you know that person and can, in a way, be that person yourself writing their dialog becomes much easier. Typically, what you'll do is you'll write a full pass of the film, or a full pass of the script which is just getting the beats out there, getting everything on the page, getting the rough draft in place. Then, you'll begin to tweak the structure of it. Maybe certain scenes aren't working. Maybe, ya' know, the plot point at the end of act two isn't coming as strong because something you're doing at the start of act two, and so you tweak the bigger picture first. Then, towards the end of the process if you done a couple drafts you're like all right, these scenes are tellin' the story. They're goin' in the right direction. Then, you go back and you do a pass for dialog, you do a pass for action, and you start really tweaking things. Generally, what I like to do is do a full pass for just one character. So, you really get into that character's voice, you get into that character's mind. You start to talk like that character, and yada yada. And so, you do a full pass just for that person, and you develop a nuance to their dialog that, hopefully, feels as genuine and as honest as as it can be. That's the whole objective with dialog. How do you make it feel completely true to that character.

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