Friday, July 30, 2010

Writing in Motion: True Blood

Hey everyone,

This is Terence here from The Tomas Experience doing a guest blog post. Many people I'm close with know that I am an aspiring screenwriter and so for my guest entries I will be featuring lines or scenes from TV and film and how they relate to what we see on the screen.

There is nothing that can sink a film or TV show faster than the script. Sure there are exceptions to the rule (like the Twilight series which is more about tween girls and moms than script) but often times bad writing kills your movie (Cop Out, Evan Almighty, The Last Airbender, etc.).

Take True Blood for example. One of the best shows on TV (and one of my favorite shows ever), it mixes sex, gore, supernatural creatures, and flawless writing. Even the episodes I dislike are notable for their rich characterizations. I decided to highlight a few lines from the second season.

Maryann Forrester (Michelle Forbes): [coming in, all filthy] Good Mornin'!
Tara Thornton: Whoa! Maryann are you okay?
Maryann Forrester: I am fantastic! I slept outside last night and communed with my animal nature.
Eggs: [eying the dead bunny] No shit.
Maryann Forrester: [holds it up] This little fellow hopped by and I thought, hmm yummy! Rabbit stew.
Tara Thornton: Aww. Poor bunny.
Maryann Forrester: Feeling sorry for things is just an excuse not to celebrate your own happiness.

The best part about this dialog is that Eggs and Tara (Rutina Wesley) believed her! They eventually found out that Maryann was a crazy bitch and a maenad, and you can see the uncertainty in their words when she walks in. But due to how she spoke and acted throughout the show they just considered it typical Maryann behavior.

 Lafayette Reynolds: See, that just ain't mother-fuckin' fair.
Eggs (Mechad Brooks): Excuse me?
Lafayette Reynolds: First time in my god-damned life, I ain't chasin' after trouble and it just keeps walkin' through my front door. Loot at you. Damn! Ain't nothin' good can come outta somethin' so pretty.

Everything you ever needed to know about Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) can be found in those few lines of dialog. You can see he has had a troubled past, is gay, and that he's extremely sarcastic...all in a few lines! Of course his character is fully realized throughout the series and he has some of the best lines, but even on the page, the personality shines through.

From these two examples you can see a small sample size of why dialog and writing is so important. Even in short sentences characterization can be conveyed.

Well that's it for my first installment of Screen Dialog. The next one probably won't be as long but I'll continue to help you analyze how these moving images come from the page.

But before I leave, here is a bonus quote and fierce screencap lol.

"Satan in a Sunday hat. I'm telling you. Satan in a beautiful fucking Sunday hat."

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