In Scriptnotes 286, John August and Craig Mazin tie up discussion on a few topics from their previous episode, and have a very useful in-depth discussion in film dialogue.
As carry-over from the last week, John and Craig discuss an existing show—Finding Carter—which follows a the story of a girl kidnapped at birth—similar to Kamiyah Mobley. There is also a fascinating discussion of incorrect mass memories (The Mandela Effect), what causes it, and multiple well known cases.
The largest body portion of the episode is devoted to the discussion of discussion—dialogue. John and Craig go over the history of dialogue from the first stories told, and Greek comedies and tragedies, through the silent era and radio drama, early talkies, and modern film and television. They focus especially on the importance of listening as a writer—putting yourself in the shoes of your characters and listening to what you have one say before you write the other character’s response. There are many helpful tips in this discussion—especially the inclusion of dialogue marker—words which indicate whatever is about to be said ties into a conversation, rather than standing on its own (words such as “now,” “by the way,” “you know,” “so,” “and,” “or,” “but,” “I mean,” and “then.”) They also suggest most dialogue can be broken up into a few modes of speech: neutral (every day, low-stakes conversation), emotional (feelings in control—irrational, often loud, not well put together), declarative (intentional grandstanding—used for important news, speeches, point delivery), and manipulative (convince, calm, inspire, avoid—purposeful tactic which necessitates positive or negative manipulation/influencing).
To finish, they discuss hate, hate mail, nazis, and their One Cool Things: An article about how to stay outraged without losing your mind, and women—specifically the Women’s March protest.