- File Size: 288 KB
- Print Length: 173 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: First Strike Productions (October 28, 2011)
- Publication Date: October 28, 2011
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0060SHUIQ
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #423,865 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Dialogue Secrets (Screenwriting Blue Books Book 10) Kindle Edition
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They say there are four stages of artistic greatness:
#1: Not knowing you're bad.
#2: Knowing you're bad.
#3: Knowing you're good.
#4: No longer even realizing you're good -- a natural.
By my estimation, I've been at about 2 1/2 for a while now. My weakness, I pinpointed, is dialogue. My lit manager used to work for Kathleen Kennedy. He developed scripts that she's worked on. He knows what makes a good script, and I've learned a LOT from him. But he's never been able to really help me break through with my dialogue. I kept getting notes like, "Handle this exposition better" or "OTN!!!" or "verbose!" and so on. He could recognize it needed to be changed. I could recognize. But neither of us could say WHY.
Enter DIALOGUE SECRETS.
I DEVOURED this little e-book. Devoured. It did for me what the "Save the Cat" series did for my script structure. I love it, quite simply. Mr. Martell lays out dozens of techniques. Each technique comes with an explanation of what it is, how to recognize it, how to fix it, and more often than not, an example (or three).
He also reinforces, again and again, the core principle of dialogue: SHOW don't TELL. If you're a writer, you've heard this before. But my background is prose. I'm a published novelist (2 novels) and game designer (over 30 published books with writing credit), so to me, "show don't tell" always meant active voice vs. passive; prose techniques; and so on. This is the first time I've heard it articulated for scripts, and specifically, dialogue. Mr. Martell explains it in so many different ways and how it relates to so many different types of problems in poorly written scripts that by the time you get to the end you'll have a simple but powerful tool to sharpen your dialogue. Just an easy test, or question to ask yourself, to recognize if it's in dire need of some polish. And if you find there's trouble, there's plenty of good advice and examples to show you how to fix it.
What also delighted me was learning that, sometimes, the problem with the dialogue comes from your structure. Mr. Martell emphasizes that dialogue is there to perform three functions (as detailed in the book), and that sometimes, to set the stage for beautifully crafted dialogue, sometimes you have to rearrange your script. Or change a scene, subtly or even entirely. Perhaps move the story forward a tad -- or back. And so on.
This also speaks to recognizing when dialogue is not needed. "Film is a visual medium" is a phrase oft repeated in this book, and learning the purpose of dialogue, and its part in the greater whole, is not something missing from the lessons within.
There are also quizzes, little self tests, at the end of each lesson to further help reinforce what you just learned. I'm looking forward to going back through and doing those next.
I have a few projects on my plate. One of them I'm waiting for notes from the producer for the first revision. I KNOW my dialogue will need some strong polishing -- and I was dreading it (why I searched the Internet and found this gem). But now, I'm positively enthusiastic to get to work on the dialogue. ENTHUSIASTIC. Because not only does this book have a lot of good advice on how to recognize and fix bad dialogue, but ideas and lessons for elevating your dialogue. And I'm damn excited to give more character to my characters.
My only complaint is that there seem to be an entire series of these little Blue Books. I only intended to buy this one, but if each one is as insightful as this, then I'm going to have to buy them all.
This book is a great value! It's an easy read (grammatical errors, yes, but I personally couldn't care less about those) and packed with info. There isn't a whole lot of "fat" within the pages, just a lot of solid, usable info. The last chapter of the book is called "Forty Dialogue Tips" and at the end of almost each tip, there is an exercise to help you practice what you just read. These exercises are not only fun, but so incredibly helpful.
If you have dialogue issues too, I'd definitely recommend this book, especially at this price.