The Art Of Writing Conversational Scripts
Many people assume that writing a conversational script is simple task. In everyday life, conversations flow naturally as people engage in the age-old tradition of communication, and it is this flow and easy of communication that people want to see reflected on screen. But how do you write a conversation down onto paper that people will want to watch? At The Michael Group, we’ve compiled a handy list to help you understand the art of conversational scriptwriting.
One of the most important, if not THE most important aspect of writing a conversational script is getting everything to flow effortlessly. Think about real world interactions you have with people – conversations usually flow naturally and don’t feel forced or scripted.
One of the easiest ways to check whether your script flows is to actually say it out loud. Better yet, get a friend or colleague to read along with you, so you can get a feel of how the conversation flows. After you, as the writer, have managed to get your script to flow, it is up to the actors to make the audience believe their characters are having an unscripted conversation.
Get Rid of Grammar
Focusing on perfect grammar when writing a conversation between two characters will instantly break their natural flow. Although we’re all taught proper grammar in school, people don’t actually speak using full sentences, let alone Shakespearean English.
Contractions are Key
While you might have written academic essays in school using full sentences and properly spelled out words, in reality people use contractions. We want to get words out faster because we like speaking quickly and getting our point across. Consider this sentence:
Do not go there, it is dangerous. This sounds robotic and unnatural, particularly if the context implies danger or urgency.
Don’t go there, it’s dangerous. This sounds far more natural, and wouldn’t seem strange in context.
But Sentences Can’t Start With Conjunctions!
Actually, they can. Conjunctions are words that join two thoughts together where you might have a comma or sentence break, such as ‘and’ or ‘but’. Again, you were likely told not to start sentences with conjunctions in school, but in reality, people use ‘and’ and ‘but’ to start sentences all the time. In fact, conjunctions encourage conversational flow by allowing a new person to add information to someone else’s sentence.
Often, we’re inclined to show off our writing skills and intellect by using complicated words. Consider the audience that you’re writing for, and make sure that they will understand what you say. At the same time, you have to think about the characters you’re writing. If your character is a scientist speaking to another scientist, it might make sense to occasionally include words and information that the audience doesn’t necessarily understand.
This tip Shakespeare would definitely approve of, as the Bard himself not only used slang, he also created some of the unusual words we still use today. Slang, curse words, colloquialism and jargon are all part of our everyday vocabulary.
Immerse Yourself in the Culture
Writing a conversational script requires substantial research. The characters you’re writing might not speak the same way you do, and potentially engage in different cultural practices or speak a different language. If this is the case, the best form of research is immersion. Spend some time listening to people conversing and engaging with one another. Take note of the language used, if the conversations flow easily or if they’re stiff and formal. Make sure to observe any traditional greetings, and remember you incorporate slang, jargon and curse words appropriately.
When it comes down to it, everyone knows how to have a conversation, but not everyone knows how to write a conversational script. This is where the Michael Group’s experience creating, filming and producing exciting content for the screen comes in handy – we know how to turn your conversational script into a reality. If you have a script that you would like to see reflected on screen, do not hesitate to contact us for assistance.