Part of creating a successful and enjoyable screenplay is having dialogue patterns that are unique for each individual. Far too many screenplays feature dialogue that is stereotypical and boring. The most successful scripts are those with highly detailed characters highlighted by specific dialogue patterns. It’s only when you’re able to cultivate specific dialogue patterns within characters that match and showcase each personality that a screenplay becomes interesting.
Analyze each scene and the characters within it for dialogue patterns that highlight personality traits and important story elements. Utilize this as an opportunity to fine-tune character development and how the story is actually told.
Correct Dialogue Patterns
Instead of focusing on the actual dialogue, I want to delve into dialogue patterns. For those unaware, dialogue patterns are how the characters speak – not the words, per say, rather the actual method in which a character communicates.
Dialogue patterns determine how characters reveal their internal thoughts, to what degree of detail they go into and how much dialogue they actually deliver.
Each character features a different and specific dialogue pattern. The same can be true for real life. Next time you’re out with friends, focus on how they speak to each other. Don’t tune into the actual words, but how they say these words and how sentences are phrased.
Establishing correct dialogue patterns clarifies how a character reveals the story. While some characters feature similar personalities and talking patterns (especially close family members or good friends) they will never be identical.
If you’ve read any of my other screenwriting articles, then you’ve likely come to the conclusion that the influence between characters plays a major role in overall development. This is incredibly true for dialogue patterns.
The dialogue pattern within a scene are directly influenced by the scene itself. The emotional and personality adjustments are continual and vary from scene-to-scene. Dialogue patterns directly reflect these changes; however, the severity of pattern adjustments are based on individual character personalities and relationships with his environment.
Of course, every character has their true personality core. This core is not influenced and while its presence may be almost silent in certain scenes it’s ability to alter personality elements is omnipresent. During analysis, always keep the personality core at the forefront of your mind.