Tag Archives: Screenwriting technique

Voice of the Dialogue

Voice of the Dialogue

Have you heard of the phrase when someone says “he has lost his voice”. It is used to imply a situation in which a person’s views are neglected or he is not convincing anymore. One of the most common reasons you would hear is people saying “he doesn’t sound real”. People disconnect with the person and his opinions at this stage. Now map this to movies. Your characters are already unreal and are a mere fictitious depiction on the screen. How can you have your audience connected? You could only do this by effective construction of the contents in movies. Out of the many contents, dialogues play a very significant part. In this week’s Friday Fundas I will explore the element of voice within a dialogue.

You would remember watching a movie and you were totally confused when a certain character speaks a dialogue that doesn’t fit well and it totally disconnects you from the movie and brings back to the reality. This is where the movie fails to engage with you. If you are an aspiring screen writer then you should be very careful in choosing the words your characters speak. Sometimes the sentence or the dialogue itself might be very powerful but the background and the personal nature the character would dictate if the dialogue would connect with the audience or not. For instance let us look at the movie The Matrix released in 1999. What if the dialogues of Morpheus were spoken to Trinity? You would feel it is totally absurd right? Most of the budding screenwriters struggle with this aspect. If you have written a scene involving two characters then interchange the names of the characters and read the script again if you don’t feel the abrupt change in way the characters are speaking then it is time to bring about the variation in the voice and distinguish the characters. If you don’t draw this distinction then all your dialogues will have the same voice even though it is spoken by different characters. One of the techniques many screenwriters use is to observe and draw inspiration from the desired surrounding. For instance, if your scene involves a restaurant sequence then you could go to a restaurant sit down on a table and observe the conversations happening around. You would start picking up various people talking in different style. Now pick up a style for one of your character and develop the dialogues. This would create the desired distinction you need. When the audience watches this on the screen they would subconsciously get involved in the movie and forget that they are witnessing fiction. In the Hindi movie Lagaan there are numerous of characters playing significant role in the movie. If you observe carefully each of the character has its own voice and is very distinct from the other. This makes the scenes very convincing. Hence voice of the dialogue is a very important aspect every screenwriter needs to pay attention to. Many of the movies employ a different person to write the dialogues for the movie while a different person is responsible for the screenplay. Next time when you watch a movie pay attention to the way the dialogues are constructed, you would appreciate the amount of hard work a dialogue writer and screen writer has put in.

Friday Fundas: Foreshadowing


In this week’s Friday fundas we would see a popular technique used in screenwriting called foreshadowing. Foreshadowing is a technique screen writers use in the screenplay that gives a hint or clue to the audience as to how the plot would unfold.  This is a very useful technique in preparing the audience for the upcoming events in the plot and when they occur it is convincing. In a good screenplay you always find a foreshadowing event placed in the first act or the beginning of the second act of the script (see 3 act structure for more information on three act structure).

Let us look at some examples of foreshadowing in popular movies

Avatar - Jake Sully runs out free
Avatar – Jake Sully runs out free

In the movie Avatar Jake Sully is shown running out of the base first time he is connected to the Avatar. Later in the movie he becomes part of the Na’vis and fights against the humans. You find this convincing as he is not connected to the mission and would do what he believes in.

Baasha Medical College scene
Baasha Medical College scene

In the Tamil blockbuster Baasha, there is a scene where Manickam played by Rajnikanth is negotiating for a medical seat for his sister. He tells his name is Manickam but he has another name… and after so muted dialogues you see the dean of the college very frightened of him. This is a very good pre-cursor for his past life which would be revealed in the second half. Imagine if this was not there and all of a sudden he becomes a don in second half it would not have been so convincing.

3 Idiots Pen Scene
3 Idiots – pen used in space

In the movie 3 Idiots there is a scene where in Virus is displaying a pen that can be used in the space and it has been given to him by his professor.  Rancho stuns him with a question as to why pencil was not used in space. Towards the end of the movie we see him giving this pen to Rancho and also explaining him the logical reason of why pencil was not used in space. This simple scene conveys how Rancho has become the best student ever for Virus. It is so effective due to the foreshadowing sequence in the beginning of the script.