Common Dialogue Mistakes And How To Fix Them by Chapman University Professor Paul Joseph Gulino

Paul Joseph Gulino, Associate Professor at Chapman University Dodge College of Film and Media Arts:  Okay, so here’s an interesting problem that you see with scripts that maybe don’t work that well, they have talk but no dialogue.

Talk, human speech can be poetic, it can be witty, clever, polite, moving but it isn’t dialogue unless there is action under it and that’s something to look for. There’s really two elements with dialogue that you can learn about. It isn’t simply a talent. Some people have a natural talent, they can have an ear for it and capture it. But it goes beyond that. You can actually learn how to do this and by action…well let me explain it this way. In a dramatic scene you will often find…not a dramatic scene, in a scene the problem is no drama, the students will come with what I call Q&A dialogue:

“How are you today?”

“Okay, how about you?”

“Well not bad. I think I’ll go to the store. What about you?”

“Well I think I’ll not go to the store.”

That’s Q&A dialogue, it doesn’t really qualify as dialogue.

It’s useful to think of dialogue (especially in the rewrite stage and I’d emphasize that) in the first draft just pour it on the page and don’t worry if it’s Q&A dialogue, don’t worry about it. It will only block you up if you worry about it. 

But once it’s on the page and…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).  


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