Some call 4:30am the ungodly hour. For me it’s the time when my son and wife are peacefully sleeping. It is the time I launch myself into another universe…a universe only I know. There are so many reasons why I write. There are so many reasons why someone should go to the gym instead.
I write because it is like television in my head. I didn’t really love writing until I reached undergrad at Chapman University. My writing tool of choice was a Mac Classic which was essentially a very large, beige box. I dragged it to college and back home in order to work on mediocre student film scripts. Each was fun, but looking back, each was terrible.
However, I soon learned a valuable lesson in writing good dialogue. Writing good dialogue can make or break any book, movie, or television show. As an author, I place a high priority on making sure my dialogue is exciting. Originally, my book was about a boy who wanted to be popular. It was cute and charming, but that’s all it was. In many respects it was like the beginning of the film Super 8. Nothing really happens, but we like the characters. I did a dialogue pass in order to build each characters voices.
I revised, expanded and soon eerie, bizarre things began to occur to my lead character, Brian Leonard. I wanted the kind of memorable dialogue that people quote as they exit a movie theatre. Eventually, Brian and his best friend Johnny became slightly sarcastic. Their wit became charming to me.
One of my favorite movies that has great dialogue is Bull Durham. To many viewers, it is a great sports film. To others it is a great love story. Ron Shelton (the writer) wrote a masterpiece. The lead character Crash Davis (played by Kevin Costner) is a minor league baseball player who is beyond his prime. The Durham Bulls have hired him to mentor a young, up and coming pitcher. During one of the locker room scenes Crash dispenses advice. In my head, I can visualize Crash leaning forward on the stool next to a locker.
“Your shower shoes have fungus on them. You'll never make it to the bigs with fungus on your shower shoes. Think classy, you'll be classy. If you win 20 in the show, you can let the fungus grow back and the press'll think you're colorful. Until you win 20 in the show, however, it means you are a slob.”
My main character is a middle school boy. However, building memorable lines was still important to me. What dialogue in The Magical Adventures of Brian Leonard was memorable for you? I’d love to know. You can contact me on Facebook.
About Mr M
Mr. M graduated from Chapman University with a BFA in Film and Television Production. He received his MFA in screenwriting from the American Film Institute. As a television executive at CBS, UPN, and ABC he worked with writers and producers supervising comedies and dramas for the networks. Some of the shows Mr. M worked on were Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Girlfriends, Alias, George Lopez, and the short lived Invasion. Mr. M was always interested in teaching and decided to make a career change. He attended Pacific Oaks College where he earned a Masters of Human Development and a multi-subject credential.
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A Writer's Tale
Scarlett Van Dijk
Writer of young adult, fantasy series, the Sky Stone series, poetry and short stories.
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