Hi to you all. I'm afraid I've been neglecting this forum lately. I've been polishing a new script and trying to resist going online!


One aspect of screenwriting I've been thinking a lot about lately is dialogue. In my last book, I strongly questioned the 'gurus' take on dialogue. They all say keep it short - always. But if you take a look at the most distinctive and powerful films in cinema history you get a very different story.

Here's what I wrote in the chapter on The Power of Language in my book:


"You won’t find any of this in the popular How To books because the First Commandment they insist on is the so-called ‘Screenwriter’s Mantra’ - ‘Show, Don’t Tell.’ I wonder how they would explain this list then...


What The Gurus Say: ‘Show, Don’t Tell’, ‘Keep Dialogue Short’

What Great Screenwriters Do:

560-word continuous dialogue, Brokeback Mountain

WINNER, Academy Award, Golden Globe, Golden Lion Venice Festival, Writers Guild of America


683-word extended monologue, 499-word continuous dialogue, Pulp Fiction

WINNER, Academy Award, Golden Globe, British Academy Film&TV Award, Blue Ribbon. Film awarded highest honour at Cannes: the Palme D’or.


686-word monologue, 25th Hour

NOMINATED for the Berlin Golden Bear


460-word extended monologue, Good Will Hunting

WINNER, Academy Award, Golden Globe.


430-word extended monologue, Magnolia

WINNER, Academy Award, Berlin Golden Bear, Writers Guild of America.


376-word extended monologue, Adaptation

WINNER, British Academy Award, Writers Guild of America


377-word extended monologue, Memento

WINNER, Academy Award, Golden Globe.


201-word extended monologue, American Beauty

WINNER, Academy Award, Golden Globe, Writers Guild of America


576-word extended monologue, Network

WINNER, Academy Award, Golden Globe. Paddy Chayevsky’s superlative script has been voted one of the TOP TEN SCREENPLAYS OF ALL TIME


It makes you wonder: Do the 'screenwriting 'gurus' ever watch great films when they write their manuals?


What are your favourite dramatic monologues in movies?