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Monday, August 21, 2006

Q. Concerning the narrative toolbox, what's your word on writing dialogue for chatty improv-ish shows like It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia? In Sunny, the characters spend most of their time bickering and speaking over each other. Would you try and match their natural interruptions and pauses word for word or write a script with complete thoughts and let them make it magical on set?
Personally, I try to recreate on the page the experience of seeing the film or tv show. So when I want snappy overlapping banter, I'll write in lots of interruptions, generally using dashes liberally.

Then, if they want to improvise on the set, they can, but they have an actual script to fall back on.

I don't trust actors to write good dialog, myself, having so much experience of actors coming up with terrible dialog. Left to their own devices most actors will sound like uneducated Southern Californians, regardless where they are actually from. They will also forget the narrative point of the scene, along with any setups or payoffs you may consider important.

If you're a writer-director you can write it however you like and then make it magical. But if you are not going to be on the set yourself, I wouldn't count on someone else delivering the magic.

Anyone else disagree?

Bear in mind, of course, that other people have other methods; this is just mine.

1 Comments:

Appreciated Alex, my dash key will receive a loving it hasn't received since that one time when I accidently hot-keyed it to release all the air in my x-girlfriend's tires.

By Blogger David Cope, at 2:20 AM  

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