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Designing Dialogue

Designing Dialogue

Storyteller OS users: Clip this video into your Knowledge Base and categorize it under Prose + Dialogue

In this video, the importance of dialogue in film is explored, with an emphasis on its ability to reveal character. The video discusses the difference between expository dialogue and dialogue that furthers character development, and provides examples from popular films. The importance of subtext and conflict in dialogue is also highlighted, with tips on how to write impactful dialogue that engages the audience.

Prose + Dialogue


  • The purpose of dialogue is to further the plot, explain character histories, and establish the current state of affairs.
  • Expository dialogue is a necessary evil for a cohesive story, but it should be balanced with moments where the character requires information to be given to them.
  • Dialogue should not state exactly what a character thinks, but should reveal character traits and motivations through subtext.
  • Action is character, so dialogue should be thought of as a reactionary process.
  • Conflict is necessary for good dialogue, as it gives characters a reason to respond to one another and reveal each other's flaws and character traits.
  • Good dialogue comes out of drama and simultaneously creates drama.
  • Dialogue can only be as good as its character, and the most mundane dialogue can be entertaining if it reveals character or the character is strong and well-thought-out.
  • Writing should avoid talking wallpaper or conversation that goes nowhere, and should instead focus on characters having a dialogue.
  • The simplest line can be injected with a staggering amount of depth through great acting and precise direction.