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Moment of Genius:

Dan O'Bannon talking about writing a screenplay, when he has a problem with exposition where it seems forced, cut it. Keep the dialogue true to the characters in their situation. It's important that he knows what's happening as a writer, and it's important that the filmmakers know it, but the characters do not have to say it.

I think that's a lot harder to do in practice, but what a wonderful bit of breakthrough for writing, at least for me.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
mlif
Aug. 23rd, 2005 05:24 pm (UTC)
I couldn't agree more. I think this is possibly the #1 mistake made in screenwriting. As Dan Decker puts it, have the characters "DO" something the conveys the information. Don't just show it, or worse - never just TELL something. His rule of thumb for dialog is: Characters only speak when they want something and speaking is the only means of getting what they want.
magicmarmot
Aug. 23rd, 2005 06:09 pm (UTC)
I think it's an easy rule to write down, but it's harder in practice to delineate.

There's a lovely film called "Reign in Darkness" that is a superb example of exposition gone bad. The last ten-plus minutes of the film is a character monologuing solid exposition, and the main part of the film is flooded with voiceover narration that is completely unnecessary.

But when I start writing, dialogue becomes the key way that I get exposition out there. I try not to do exposition tennis, but sometimes it's the way to get info out there. And I hate that.

I need more practice.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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