The J. Michael Straczynski Message Archive


JMSNews provides an archive of messages posted
by J. Michael Straczynski (JMS).

  Home      Community Forums      Contest      Links      FAQ      About JMS     

RSS Feed  

 Search all Messages

   Sort by: 

This field searches the text of all messages in the archive.

    From: STRACZYNSKI [Joe]
 Subject: On the question of dialogue, this...
      To: GENIE  
    Date: 7/28/1994 10:08:00 AM  

  << Newer  : List :  Older >>

No Thread 

On the question of dialogue, this comes under the heading of General
Editorializing, not directed to anyone in particular....

I love monologues. They are a legitimate part of any drama. The MTV
generation has had its tastes so thoroughly bastardized by quick cuts,
lowering the attention span further and further, that any bite of more than
ten seconds and they start to wander, it becomes a block of words and they
blur out.

Go rent Network by Paddy Chayefsky, watch nearly any of the TZs by Rod
Serling, go see "The Lady's Not for Burning" by Christopher Fry...all
chockablock with moments where you park for a moment and let fly with a chunk
of dialogue that smashes your head against the wall. Not every single
exchange has to be foreshortened so that you lose the *impact* of what's being
said. Because people's attention spans have been greatly foreshortened,
suddenly more than 3 lines at a time is somehow viewed as wrong. It ain't.
Just that lots of folks are afraid to try it, afraid to rely on just the words
and the actors. And sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. But it's

The monologue in particular, done right, isn't just to convey
information, it's to create a mood, to paint pictures with words, to expand on
the obvious. Yeah, I could've just written, "The narns hate us, we hate them,
it's equal math." But that doesn't carry the same meaning, the same sense as
"so here we are...victims of mathematics." The use of the word "victim"
connotes, hey, it's not my fault. Yeah, the former is shorter, but you lose
the rhythms, the imagery, and the *sense* of what is intended. You could say,
"The narn hate us." But to say, "if the narns gathered together in one place,
and hated, all at the same time, that hatred would fly across dozens of light
years and reduce Centauri Prime to a ball of ash," draws a picture, lends
power to the emotion.

Point being...I like 'em, there's nothing wrong with them, and they're


Site © 2015 Midnight Design Productions  -  Message content © 2015 by Synthetic Worlds  -  Privacy Statement