An excerpt from my script review for The House which will be available 07/03/17:
4.) Dialogue and Description
You want your reader to be entertained as he’s reading, just like you want an audience to enjoy your story on the big screen.
This is so much more than plot, though, and I feel this point is often overlooked.
Having a clever tone gets eyes from the title page until your final “FADE OUT”.
That’s one of the main goals as writers, right? Especially amateur ones?
The tone of this script sprinkled in some enjoyable lines that not only eliminated lengthy blocks of description, but led to a mental chuckle as I read.
A sweet, Pixar-esque sequence of SCOTT (Will Ferrell) and his
awesome wife KATE, having a baby daughter, ALEX, at first
unprepared then evolving into competent, loving parents:
You can “see” that kind of candy coated, Pixar imagery as you watch this quick montage. Visuals have a certain glowy filter in your mind as they play out.
Of course they’ll serve sweet
potato fries, Reggie. We’ll even
have garlic aioli dipping sauce!
Everyone nods. Garlic aioli is a badass dipping sauce.
The last sentence SHOWS you how much people like garlic aioli. You’re seeing them nod their heads at each other, and murmuring agreement. It’s very creative.
So are we doing this? Kate? Old
friend? What do you say?
Kate pauses. Is she actually considering it?
You can see Kate’s wheels turning, especially because she really wants to say “no” to this stupid idea.
Again from page 31:
We break into a STARTING A MUTHAFUCKIN CASINO sequence, with
QUICK CUTS of them preparing for opening night.
This is a comedy, so this over the top tone reinforces the notion that we’re here to have fun. Part of us is excited to see if they can pull this off.
SCOTT IS FREAKED OUT SEQUENCE: (Note: This sequence should
look like the cocaine-fueled paranoia sequence in Goodfellas
with the helicopter chasing Ray Liotta.)
Memorable quick cuts from a memorable movie, so we visualize it in a certain light in our minds.
My one complaint here was that Henry never actually hallucinated while driving around like Scott does. He just assumed the helicopter was following him. Not an “apples to apples” comparison, is all I’m saying.
One key to remember when emulating professionals, and these writers did it well probably because they are, is not to overdo this technique.
You should only sprinkle fun little visuals and lines throughout your script.
How many? No exact answer here, and it’s up to you to use your discretion, and feedback from readers, to know how fine a line you should walk.
Want EARLY access to our videos, uploads, and movie/script reviews? Members get them FIRST! Follow this link to our Discussion Forum.
And be sure to check out our Notes Service, where I give my detailed thoughts and suggestions on your script.