Today we’ll look at classic scenes, studying the clips/scripts from famous scenes in an effort to help with your dialogue. Not sure if I buy that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. My hope is you can synthesize how these words look on the page and incorporate them with an original touch in your own writing. Let’s get going…
The Revolution speech. Notice how the Wachowskis move us to and from multiple people to break up the long monologue. They take liberties with a few (V.O.)’s not being inserted, but I seriously doubt the money folks cared. Story over format every day of the week. Anyone looking to visualize a long monologue, this is a great example of how to do it…
Good evening, London.
Bloody fuckin' hell.
I thought it was time we had a
He has to be at Jordan tower. Come
Finch and Dominic rush out of the room. Creedy looks at his
Don't just stand there! Follow
INT. LEADER'S OFFICE
V smiles at the horrified Adam Susan.
Are you sitting comfortably? Good.
Then I'll begin.
The Leader screams, pounding on Fate.
Damn you! Damn you!
He hits the intercom.
Lieutenant, ready my transport. I
want every armed man within a
hundred miles at Jordan tower.
We move in at VTV.
Right now, I imagine there are
hundreds of soldiers rushing here
to kill me because someone does not
want us to talk.
We pull back in --
INT. LIVING ROOM
A family watching television. In the background, two
children are squabbling.
Hush. Turn it up.
The husband does. V's voice gets louder as we move towards
They are afraid that I am going to
say the things that are not
supposed to be said. They are
afraid that I am going to say the
A man sits on his couch, mesmerized by V.
The truth is that there is
something terribly wrong with this
country, isn't there? If you look
about, you witness cruelty,
injustice and despotism. But what
do you do about it? What can you
He pops his beer tab and the beer foams over the couch but he
doesn't seem to notice.
INT. FINCH'S POLICE CAR
The car races wildly towards Jordan tower as Finch and
Dominic listen to the broadcast on the radio.
You are but a single individual.
How can you possible make any
difference? Individuals have no
power in this modern world.
That is what you've been taught
because that is what they need you
to believe. But it is not true.
INT. LEADER'S TRANSPORT
The Leader seethes, staring at three television monitors in
his limo which are all filled with V.
This is why they are afraid and the
reason that I am here; to remind
you that it is individuals who
always hold the power. The real
power. Individuals like me. And
individuals like you.
INT. KITTY KAT KELLER
The bar is almost completely soundless except for the voice
of V. People stare at the television as if the moment were
somehow suspended in time.
I have come to offer you a deal.
If you accept, I will give you a
different world. A world without
curfews, without soldiers and
surveillance systems. A world that
is not run by other men but that is
run by you. I am offering you a
EXT. JORDAN TOWER
The military forces have begun to swarm.
Four hundred years ago, a great
citizen made a most significant
contribution to our common culture.
It was a contribution forged in
secrecy and stealth although it is
best remembered in noise and bright
EXT. TELEVISION STORE
A crowd has gathered, watching through the window.
To commemorate that glorious night
at precisely the stroke of
midnight, the edifice of their
world will erupt with enough sound
and fury to shake the earth. All I
ask is that you join me at the
gates to watch as the past is
erased, the pathway cleared so that
together we can start toward a new
EXT. JORDAN TOWER
The Leader climbs out of his limo and is met by one of his
I want this man dead! I want him
shot on sight!
INT. FINCH'S CAR
Finch can see the forces gathering outside Jordan tower.
But, you ask, who am I to make such
promises? A fair question but
hardly necessary as you know me
already. To know me any more you
need only look to a mirror.
Finch catches a glimpse of himself in the mirror.
INT. CONTROL BOOTH
VTV fills every screen.
Truth be told, this wasn't even my
idea, was it? If you think back,
you'll remember that night,
whispering in your lover's arms. I
became a part of your plan just as
you have now become part of mine.
Give me the line of the queen and
I'll give you your secret dream.
INT. JORDAN TOWER - HALLWAY
A heavy battering ram is rushed down the hall, carried by
On the twelfth stroke of the fifth
day of the eleventh month, I hope
we shall all meet again.
EXT. TELEVISION STORE
The crowd is much larger.
Until then, I bid you goodnight.
- THE THIRD MAN: FERRIS WHEEL SCENE
No script here, but one of the greatest scenes of all time. Marvel at how breezy Wells is as he threatens to kill Joseph Cotton, then backs off to be that most charming of villains, Harry Lime, ending with his famous cuckoo-clock speech.
Can you imagine that Lady From Shanghai was considered a failure when it came out? Iconic hall of mirrors scene is like nothing before or since. Love Wells with the Irish brogue. The words ain’t bad, but it’s the bullet-shattering glass in a carnival hall that will live 100 years from now…. “it’s a bright, guilty world.”
- THE BIG SHORT- MARGOT ROBBIE IN A BUBBLE-BATH EXPLAINING…SOMETHING
What’s funny is that there is no Margot Robbie in the script. It’s Scarlett Johansson, under a waterfall! Casting issues aside, one of the most original ways to get us to learn about an utterly boring subject is to have us not be able to look away from the screen for some other reason, aka Margot Robbie naked and drinking champagne under bubbles…name me one scene like it in the history of movies…
The scene freezes.
MODERN TRADER (V.O.)
Mortgage backed securities,
subprime loans, tranches… Pretty
confusing right? Does it make you
feel bored? Or stupid? Well, it’s
supposed to. Wall Street loves to
use confusing terms to make you
think only they can do what they
do. Or even better, for you to
leave them the fuck alone. So
here’s Scarlett Johansson under a
water falls to explain…
EXT. SMALL WATERFALL – DAY
SCARLETT JOHANSSON in a white T shirt and cut off jeans let’s
the waterfall run over her while explaining mortgage backed
Basically Lewis Ranieri’s Mortgage
bonds were amazingly profitable for
the big banks. They made billions
and billions off of their 2% fee on
each of these bonds they sold. But
then they started running out of
mortgages to put in them. After
all, there’s only so many homes and
so many people with good enough
jobs to buy them. So the banks
starting doing something different.
Instead of creating mortgage bonds
that were guaranteed by the US
government, they started creating
their own private mortgage bonds.
No government, no pesky standards
like good credit or minimum income.
And then the big banks were able to
fill the bonds with riskier and
riskier mortgages and keep the
profit machine churning. By the
way, the risky mortgages are called
“subprime.” Anytime you hear
subprime, think shit.
Michael Burry found out these
mortgage bonds that we supposedly
65% AAA were actually mostly full
of shit, so now he’s going to
“short” the bonds, which means to
“bet against.” Got it? Good”