Here’s a great scene from Sophia Coppola’s The Bling Ring that I think says a huge amount about how not to write movie dialogue. It’s the sort of forced, totally unnatural piece of dialogue that only makes sense in a script, where the writer wants to tell us something but doesn’t know how to succinctly show it. Looking at it on paper, it might not seem that bad. It apparently worked for everyone involved in making the film. But if you read a little between the lines, it’s a textbook example of how not to write dialogue.
Aside from the general mind-numbing amble into cliché and the colour-by-numbers approach to plot and character development, Olympus Has Fallen appears to have suffered from basic grammar errors that apparently no one in the hundreds strong production team noticed. Or cared about. With an estimated $70 million spent on this tripe, was there really no room in the bloated production for someone to step back and say, hold on, are the news reports saying (badly) that a single terrorist has attacked the White House? Or should there be some form punctuation separating (presumably) a story title from its location? Who was responsible for letting this sentence through production?
And on another note, did no one in the scriptwriting, reading, rehearsal, filming or editing stage step back and think the line “We’ll get back with you later.” (spoken by the Secret Service Director) might be improved? How does $70 million not buy a professional standard of English?
If you’ve ever wanted a brief introduction to everything you could conceive of relating to digital filmmaking, this is the book for you. It doesn’t look big, but in the space of some 220 pages Mark Brindle has covered the full gamut of modern filmmaking, including what camera to choose, what software to edit in, how to write a convincing a story arch, tips for funding and how to distribute your film. Read it cover to cover and you’ll be able to convince any stranger you meet that you know how to make a film. Continue reading
“How do you do write so many books?” I’m often asked, over the tip of a wine glass at a high-grade business event. Or “How do you write so fast?” Whatever my answer, the response is usually “Oh I wish I could write a book,” without much care for what I actually say. So my usual response is “I don’t know. It just happens.” But that’s actually a carefully engineered lie to avoid an extensive explanation that people at high-grade business events don’t really want to hear. In fact, I do know how to write a book. It’s a delicate and complicated process that I make look easy. Because I did the hard work a long, long time ago. Continue reading