10 Tips On Writing Better Dialogue

In this Film Courage video series, several screenwriters and authors share their tips for writing better dialogue.

1) 01:33 – Starting Points
2) 05:00 – Cut 20%
3) 08:44 – What’s Real?
4) 15:16 – Subtext
5) 28:44 – Unique Characters
6) 35:58 – Contrast
7) 40:42 – Rewriting
8) 43:14 – Time Period
9) 47:19 – Listen
10) 53:21 – Exposition & Final Thoughts








Stuff we use:
CAMERA – This is the camera we have used to film 90+% of our interviews (over 200 interviews and counting) It continues to be our workhorse –

LENS – Most people ask us what camera we use, no one ever asks about the lens which filmmakers always tell us is more important. This lens was a big investment for us and one we wish we could have made sooner. Started using this lens at the end of 2013 –


Rode VideoMic Pro – The Rode mic helps us capture our backup audio. It also helps us sync up our audio in post

Audio Recorder – If we had to do it all over again, this is probably the first item we would have bought –

LIGHTS – Although we like to use as much natural light as we can, we often enhance the lighting with this small portable light. We have two of them and they have saved us a number of times –

COMPUTER – Our favorite computer, we each have one and have used various models since 2010 –

EDITING – We upgraded our editing suite this year and we’re glad we did! This has improved our workflow and the quality of our work. Having new software also helps when we have a problem, it’s easy to search and find a solution –

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#writing #writing101 #screenwriting

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This Post Has 45 Comments

  1. Awesome information in this video! Dialogue is more complex than it seems. I've learned so much from Film Courage videos.

    I appreciate these actual professionals neither sugarcoat the writing process nor whine about how hard it is. When I started looking into becoming a writer, I found many articles online that either claimed anyone can write a perfect novel in 30 days or complained bitterly about the difficulty of writing a story. It was very disheartening for me as a beginner.

  2. When i watch the first 5 minutes of this i didnt like it but 10 minutes later i realize that this is a splended video with not just one person explaining but different people male and female and also at different age group

  3. All of this ”no one says anything unless they want something/want power” is great but it misses something important. Characters are not always going after things. Quite often they are because the story throws conflict at them: and they want that conflict resolved. But don’t forget characters also speak out of love for other characters or things. So they will compliment another character, not to gain something, but because they genuinely admire them. Or encourage someone else, not because they want something back but because they genuinely care.

  4. This is all great advice but all these people have not really made or written great films. I must admit I don't know all these writers but I've just checked William c martell and I was hoping to see some great films in his filmography. Nope.

  5. Funny to watch a bunch of ponces, who couldn't come up with good dialogue to save their lives, talk about how to come up with it when boozers are jam packed with entertaining dialogue geniuses who would never even think of putting pen to paper because that's for ponces.

  6. "if you don't like the constraints then write a novel". That's not good advice, novels also follow the same concept, you can't have characters talking for 6-8 pages not going anywhere, even if you don't have a max number of pages you can write (unlike movies which never go past 3 hours at max), every piece of dialogue still has to contribute to the plot.

  7. Wow! I always say what I’m thinking, I’ll ask who were you having lunch with, actually I would have made myself known at a restaurant where my spouse was having lunch with someone else.

    So, basically everyone is lying to me and I’m the only one saying exactly what I want and what I’m thinking?

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