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Monday, October 22, 2007

Don't Throw it Away


One would think that a "throw away" is a small joke or just a line of dialogue that is completely disposable. But nothing in your script should be disposable. Every word is there for a reason. Every. Word. Does your character crack a little joke on their way out the door? Then make it funny, make it memorable and make it matter. What do I mean by make it matter? Make it connect to the DNA of your script - the theme.

Learn to recognize a throw away and learn to walk away from them without emotion. Soon, as your experience as a writer grows, you'll learn the difference between a sly witticism, a clever remark or pithily profound statement that is deeply connected to the theme of your story - and a fluffy throw away that may or may not be funny or meaningful whatsoever. If you swatted a fly over that line of dialogue, unless it was BRAZIL, would it matter?

Check out these movie bon mots - do you recognize their source? Sure you do. Because they are memorable.

...we're gonna need a bigger boat.

...I'll have what she's having.

...I've been slimed.

....Here's Johnny!

....the shoe! the shoe!

...well, snap out of it!

...I like to watch.

...Attica! Attica!

The first Rouge Waver to identify the source of all eight examples wins a free cupcake. I really mean it this time. You have to live in LA and you have to take me with you but we'll go have a cupcake and come up with some sugar-induced zingers.

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13 comments:

Emily Blake said...

Damn. I know all but two.

Mmmmmm cupcakes.

Anonymous said...

I'll give this a shot:

Jaws

When Harry Met Sally

Ghostbusters

The Shining

The Man with One Red Shoe

Moonstruck

Being There

Dog Day Afternoon

velysai said...

Jaws
When Harry Met Sally
Ghostbusters
The Shining
The Wedding Planner ??? (total guess)
Wedding Crashers
Being There
Dog Day Afternoon

Julie Gray said...

there's still one that nobody is getting right. No cupcakes for you! (talk about a great, memorable one-liner, huh?)

velysai said...

I got this!

Jaws
When Harry Met Sally
Ghostbusters
The Shining
Life of Brian
Moonstruck (although again in Wedding Crashers, too)
Being There
Dog Day Afternoon

Can I have my cuppycake now?

Julie Gray said...

WE HAVE A WINNER!!! Whooo!

Do you live in LA, Velysai? Gonna be at the Expo at all? I am very good for my cupcake promises. :)

Anonymous said...

So, I went 7 for 8, not too bad...ummmmmm...I get half a cupcake, right?


And, not to be picky, isn't the line from Jaws actually, "You're going to need a bigger boat."

I trying to get a few bonus points here, I really need a cupcake--even half a cupcake.

Anonymous said...

So, I went 7 for 8, not too bad...ummmmmm...I get half a cupcake, right?

And, I didn't know we could guess more than once...

And part two, not to be picky, isn't the line from Jaws actually, "You're going to need a bigger boat."

I trying to get a few bonus points here, I really need a cupcake--even half a cupcake.

velysai said...

Damnit, no. I'm on the east coast. Shove it in an envelope and send it on over. LOL. Someday I'll make it out to L.A.

Thanks for the challenge. It was fun!

P.S. I'm working on an action / thriller / dark comedy right now that I want to send your way when I'm done, Julie.

velysai said...

anonymous, it's better to guess a second time and risk having to apologize than to ask permission and be told no!

You can have my cupcake. I got Moonstruck off of you. But all of the other ones I figured out myself (despite the large time difference between our original posts).

Anonymous said...

Thanks, but no thanks, Velysai. Took my shot and I missed by one. I don't need a cupcake that bad...

eddie said...

People go to war over... cupcakes?

Vlad said...

Wait... wasn't the Ghostbusters line actually "he slimed me"?