As usual here are the exercises that go with Chapter 6 from Story Sense by Paul Lucey.
1. Screen the first act of a film or TV show and study it for its dialogue. Note when and how the dialogue reveals backstory, theme, characters, and relationship. When does the dialogue contain subtext? What is the nature of the subtext; backstory, situation, relationships, theme, or plot? Look at the non verbal part of the dialogue. How are the actors conveying this?
Watching NCIS, Season Four Episode 23.
Dead guy found in the back of a taxi on it’s way to NCIS by the guard at the Navy Yard entrance. Shock on the guards face. Open mouthed expression.
Gibbs watching video on the war in Iraq, Cynthia reminds him the files have to be reviewed by Friday, and tomorrow is Friday. (Talks with irritation.) Gibbbs replies I had a wife like you once Cynthia. Reveals back story on Gibbs-been married before, got divorced. Further conversation, reveals where the director is. Gibbs approves files because he knows the agent, rejects when he doesn’t know them.
The director calls, Gibbs refers to the “frog” a bad guy the director has been chasing the whole season. (Backstory.)
Ducky says it’s not often we get to walk to a crime scene. (Theme of the show. Death and detection.)
Jeanne calls Tony, she wants to buy a house. He is completely freaked out. (Relationships)
Tony and McGee joke about Tony not being a a boy scout and Tony having been a frat house wet tee shirt contest scout. (Backstory and personality)
Gibbs comments on every bit of conversation that occurred ostensibly out of ear shot. (Character)
the cab drive make multiple disparaging remarks about marriage in front of Tony.
Gibbs is dodging calls from Cynthia, he does hate a nagging woman. (This is clearly a theme of the episode, fearful scary marriage with nagging women.)
Abby and Ziva compare first time sex stories. Abby’s in a cab. Ziva in a weapons carrier. (Backstory and characters)
The names on the list, most of which are dead, Tony and Ziva are to look for the living ones to find a connection.
Cynthia wants Gibbs to take a call from the Yemen embassy, the dead guy having been identified as an embassy employee. They send an attache. Who reveals the young man was very connected.
2. I skipped this one. It wanted me to act out a scene. No thanks. I have no acting chops.
3. Write a dialogue based on the following prompt.
-A man or a woman becomes tired of waiting for his or her lover to propose marriage. An ultimatum must be delivered “Marry me or I’ll marry my friend in Texas.” The person receiving the ultimatum is shaken but refuses to be pushed.
Catching sight of Steven, Maya rode slowly over to the fence on Salem her twelve year old trail horse. “Glad to see you’re back.” She leaned down to provide a perfunctory kiss. “It felt like you were gone for months.”
Steven shook his head slightly.
“Yes months!” Maya insisted.
Clearing his throat Steven said nothing.
“Did you miss me?” Maya slid from the saddle and opened the fence.
Giving a small smile, Steven slipped his hand under Maya’s elbow.
“I knew you missed me as much as I missed you.” Maya pounced. “Did you bring me anything?”
“Perhaps something in a small blue and silver box?” Maya giggled.
Maya stopped giggling abruptly. She whirled to face Steven. “You’re never going to marry me, are you?”
Steven sighed heavily.
“If you don’t want to marry me, just say so. I can always marry my friend in Texas.”
“That might be for the best.” Steven’s voice remained even.
“How could you say that? Don’t you love me?” Maya demanded.
Steven sighed heavily again and very quietly under his breath replied, “Not so much.”
Maya pretended not to hear him. “I’m serious, if you don’t marry me soon, I’ll go to Texas.”
Steven opened the door and gently propelled Maya in from where she had been enjoying some yard time. It was like this every day with her. He scanned her bracelet and walked her over to the group therapy room. Steven wondered why they bothered with this one, it wouldn’t do her any good. It never had, all these years, not one bit.