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  1. #1
    Aver0n 2o11
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    Simultaneous Speaking

    I've always wondered, how do they script people talking at the same time? Like the main character and his/her friend will be talking in the foreground and then some other people maybe colleagues or some other people will be talking in the background and everyone is kind of talking at the same time having two or more conversations at the same time. You can kind of hear both conversations even though you sort of are zooming in on the main characters because you're more attached to them or they're in the main part of the frame so you think that their conversation is more important, but the other people are still speaking and I don't think they are ad libbing. Does the script writer have to make a note saying "yeah you say this while they say that"?

  2. #2
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    Re: Simultaneous Speaking

    There will be a notation in the script before that scene begins, simply saying, "They all talk at once, over each other's conversations." If the entire film was scripted that way, a notation would appear at the beginning to explain that everyone talks at once. Then there are also POV indications to tell you which character the camera is focused on as the scene progresses. It may look confusing on the screen, but it's easy to follow in the script.

  3. #3
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    Re: Simultaneous Speaking

    If it's two people talking at the same time, the dialogue is laid out side by side. The popular screenplay software programs like Final Draft and Movie Magic allow for that - it's called dual dialogue.

    Generally speaking if there's one main conversation going on and then ambient conversation going on around the scene, that ambient dialogue is not scripted and it's put in during post production.

    For example if you have a party scene and lots of people at the party are talking as the main character and her best friend move around the party talking about her new boyfriend - the dialogue between the main character and her best friend is what you'll write. If there is a particular pertinent piece of dialogue that you want the audience (and maybe) the characters to hear when they pass, i.e. someone saying that the new boyfriend is married, then you would script that little bit as well.

  4. #4
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    Re: Simultaneous Speaking

    Don't you use split-screen for that?

  5. #5
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    Re: Simultaneous Speaking

    Larry it's called dual dialogue. The two bits of dialogue are side by side in columns.

  6. #6
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    Re: Simultaneous Speaking

    Not everyone does it that way - and not every screenwriting package will do it. In that case, it's accomplished with notations.

    It isn't hard to do. And often that kind of stuff isn't even in a script, it happens on set in improv, if the director likes that sort of thing.

    I saw such a good example of what you're describing recently. I was watching the old film, "The Servant," with Dirk Bogarde, and there was a restaurant scene with all kinds of conversations going on at one. I'm sure it was scripted, and it was so brilliant.

    That movie is thrilling.

  7. #7
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    Re: Simultaneous Speaking

    So what is 'split-screen'?

  8. #8
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    Re: Simultaneous Speaking


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