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…
- V FOR VENDETTA
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…
V Good evening, London. CREEDY Bloody fuckin' hell. V I thought it was time we had a little talk. FINCH He has to be at Jordan tower. Come on! Finch and Dominic rush out of the room. Creedy looks at his confused men. CREEDY Don't just stand there! Follow them! INT. LEADER'S OFFICE V smiles at the horrified Adam Susan. V Are you sitting comfortably? Good. Then I'll begin. The Leader screams, pounding on Fate. LEADER Damn you! Damn you! He hits the intercom. LEADER Lieutenant, ready my transport. I want every armed man within a hundred miles at Jordan tower. Now! We move in at VTV. V 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. MOTHER Hush. Turn it up. The husband does. V's voice gets louder as we move towards him. V 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 truth. INT. APARTMENT A man sits on his couch, mesmerized by V. 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 do? 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. V (V.O.) 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. 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. V 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 second chance. EXT. JORDAN TOWER The military forces have begun to swarm. V 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 light. EXT. TELEVISION STORE A crowd has gathered, watching through the window. V 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 day. EXT. JORDAN TOWER The Leader climbs out of his limo and is met by one of his captains. LEADER I want this man dead! I want him shot on sight! CAPTAIN Yes, sir. INT. FINCH'S CAR Finch can see the forces gathering outside Jordan tower. V (V.O.) 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. V 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 four soldiers. V (V.O.) 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. V 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.
- LADY FROM SHANGHAI
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…
SCARLETT JOHANSSON in a white T shirt and cut off jeans let’s
the waterfall run over her while explaining mortgage backed