Less is more.
That’s the rule I follow when writing dialogue for one of my films.
In truth, when writing a screenplay, I make every effort to draft scenes with no dialogue. Zip. Zero. Nada.
Film is, or should be, primarily a visual medium where the story is told using images. But of course, dialogue is part and parcel of the movie experience. Even silent films used intertitles for dialogue. But films with too many intertitles were often inferior, and audiences hated sitting in the dark and reading one dialogue card after another.
When I do use dialogue, every word counts; every word a precious jewel that delivers the proper balance of tone and characterization. Dialogue should help move the narrative forward, but too much dialogue often ends up as exposition — the number one enemy of the screenwriter.
Good dialogue contains layers of meaning within the simplest of sentences. From the very beginning of the movies, the main film narrative has been the story of men and women—the love story. Indeed, if we sit down and watch Hollywood movies decade by decade, we witness the eternal war between the sexes where the not-so-secret fears and yearnings of men and woman are frequently embedded in charged and brilliant dialogue.
Last week, Seraphic Secret noted the male fear of women, commitment, and domestication.
Now, a few examples of great dialogue where we learn everything we need to know about women’s attitude… towards men.