One of the biggest pitfalls screenwriters make in the realm of dialogue creation is the use of common pleasantries. Saying such as, “Good morning” or “How you doing?” may be common and socially acceptable, they are so common that they border boring. Keep your screenplay fresh and unique by avoiding these common pleasantries. If you feel they are absolutely necessary, find ways to formulate these sayings so they are unique to the character and the situation.
Common pleasantries are essential in a functioning person. We all use them on a daily basis. Yet, between all of us there are a million different ways to say the same thing. In your screenplay, avoid common pleasantries as they come across as lazy, boring and predictable – all qualities you never want to be associated with your screenplay.
Forgo Moments of Pleasantries
Many screenwriters find it essential to write scenes from beginning to end as if each scene was a short film. Add some spice to your screenplay by avoiding the common “entrance” and “exit” of a character. What would happen if the scene picked up 30 seconds after the characters first meet and their common pleasantries have been given. While you may say “hey there!” to every friend you see, doing so in your screenplay becomes boring and predictable.
Instead, figure out when we as the audience should tap into this intimate moment between characters. Go for the unexpected in your writing. Keep audience members on their toes by not giving them what they expect, which is a solid entrance and exit of characters.
If You Must Say “Hi” Do So Differently
Sometimes the most interesting greetings are those that are nothing like what we think. Instead of a character saying, “hello” perhaps have their entrance or greeting be an friendly insult. Perhaps the character immediately jumps into their problem or objective. No matter how you wish to construct the scene always strive to avoid what is expected.
Meeting the expectations of audience members in terms of predictability does not satisfy them. Rather, it justifies their reasoning for not liking your story. Let’s be honest – most moviegoers are jaded to the stereotypical Hollywood film. The formula that was once so successful is not figured out by viewers. Avoid falling into the trap of predictability by avoiding all common pleasantries. It’s your world, why not create your won pleasantries?