Sorkinifynig My Dialogs : Using observations from lessonsfromscreenplay

Small Tricks to Improve writing :  F. Scott Fitzgerald transcribed the novels of writers he admired such as Charles Dickens to get the feel of their writing.

Dumb Little Writing Tricks That Work: Transcribe Screenplays

When I first read about transcribing screenplay, this seemed like an idea that I have been waiting for. I really admire Fitzgerald, and when I read that he used to do the same I was sold on the idea. Though, I would soon delve into transcribing and its benefits, currently I want to focus on something else. Analysing writings of someone you admire and learning from them.

Style Transfer Much?

My brain immediately jumps to the idea of using Machine Learning Techniques to any problem. When I thought my dialog wasn’t good enough, I though–why not create something that will transfer Sorkin style on the text I write. Currently–I am not that well versed in NLP to be able to pull that off. Though, I would definitely add that to my list!

I thought I would try a tamer version of this. I would try to write something, then spend some time analysing Sorkin Dialog and then see if I can apply my learning from it to my initial dialogs.

Warning : I am not at all claiming that I know what I am doing here. To be fair, this should be a warning for all my blogs. Though, in this case specially. I don’t know how to analyse dialogs. I don’t know how much my sample space has to be to capture all it’s nuisances and I am not formally trained to “write” in general. Everything I do here is just a kid trying to improve her writing by looking at someone who does it the best.

Initial Dialogs

In front of me, looming in distance stands s a gigantic glass tower in front of me with the Credit Suisse sign beaming unsteadily.

“All work, everything you’ll do in banks—Ah, well at least in India is going to be a back-office work. I mean, at what price point do you stop valuing your job relevance” I remember saying this whilst flailing my hands like a maniac as my boyfriend stares at me

“I am not in it for the glory of working as a developer in a bank, they are fascinating institutions which deal with billions of dollars and doubling dollars at that scale is really difficult. Can you imagine that?” He responds back

“The real question is, what kind of personal identity do you have when you work in a place like that? It’s a big corporation which would like uniformity out of your work at the end of the day, it’s just that they pay you a lot. I think I don’t trust places which pay you too much, because there’s always a price. With banks, it’s your identity and any form of personal life” I say

This is dead. Lifeless. Feels like no one would ever talk this way. It doesn’t convey the identity crisis that I am trying to portray. Everything here sucks. Let’s see if I can improve this.

Sorkin, O Sorkin

I got this idea from lessonfromscreenplay’s video about analysing Sorkin dialog. I love watching his videos and this video actually was responsible for me to think about this thing in the first place

Let’s summarise the points here.

  1. The Music of Dialogue – The dialogs have a certain tone to them. Something I noticed a lot in Catcher In the Rye
  2. Overlapping Dialogue
  3. The Use of Misunderstanding – This can be mostly used to convey exposition
  4. Different Trains of Thought – Again, conveying exposition but also maintaining the action in the scene. Keeping you on your toes.
  5. Non-Linear Structure

Let’s make it short and snappy: Attempt 1

In front of me, looming in distance stands a gigantic glass tower in front of me with the Credit Suisse sign beaming unsteadily.

I remember a conversation I had with my boyfriend back in may when he was deciding whether he wanted to intern at Credit Suisse.

“Don’t you understa–” I got cut off by my boyfriend before I could finish what I was saying
“–I do understand what you’re trying to say, I just don’t agree!” he says. He can really get on my nerves sometimes
“You don’t, you just wanna–“
“I DO” he yells
“Will you just listen to me for fucks sake” I snap. Sometimes it’s really difficult to communicate with him. He stops and thinks and then nodes at me.
“See, the thing is everything you will be doing there will be just–you know support” I say
“It won’t. All the work you do in banks is not really support. You’re just too engulfed in this hate towards bank and you can’t see anything beyond it. Maybe–maybe you’re just bitter” he says

“Oh, my god, I am not bitter. It’s just that it doesn’t make any sense to me!” I say. At this point I am flailing my hands like a maniac

“They pay you, but what about Job Relevance dude. Look at it. You become a developer, you’re just working in a back-office assisting the IB people and they are assisting the people in London. What impact are you even making” I say

“I am not in it for the glory of working as a developer in a bank, heck, I am not even in it for the prestige that comes with it. They are fascinating institutions, they really are, which deal with billions and billions of dollar. Can you imagine doubling dollars at that scale, it is really difficult. Can you imagine that?” He responds back

“That’s not the point” I sigh

“What is it then?” he asks clearly frustrated.

“Identity! What kind of personal identity do you have when you work in a place like that? It’s a big corporation which would like uniformity out of your work at the end of the day, it’s just that they pay you a lot. I think I don’t trust places which pay you too much, because there’s always a price. You lose your individualism!” I say

“How is it any different in what you do right now?” he snaps back

“It –it” I say as I realise that everything that I am doing currently isn’t that different either.
“it isn’t” I say with a sadness in my voice that I didn’t know I had.

Additions- Snappy and Overlapping

The Music of Dialogue : Repetition and Tones

In front of me, looming in distance stands a gigantic glass tower in front of me with the Credit Suisse sign beaming unsteadily.

I remember a conversation I had with my boyfriend back in may when he was deciding whether he wanted to intern at Credit Suisse.

“Don’t you understa — ” I got cut off by my him, he does that a lot, I got cut off before I could finish what I was saying. This is just frustrating.

” — I do understand what you’re trying to say, I just don’t agree!” he says. Really getting on my nerves here.

“You don’t, you just wanna — “

“I do” he yells

“Will you just listen to me for fucks sake!” I snap. Sometimes it’s just difficult to communicate with him. Man, it’s hard. He stops and thinks and then looks at me to give an approving nod.

“See, the thing is everything you will be doing there will be just — you know support” I say

“It won’t. Come on, all the work you do in banks is not really support. You’re just too engulfed in this constant hate towards banks and you can’t see anything, like absolutely anything beyond it! Maybe you know–maybe you’re just bitter?” he says

“Oh, my god, I am not bitter. It’s just that it doesn’t make any sense to me for fucks sake!” I say. At this point I am flailing my hands like a maniac.

“They pay you, but what about any sort of Job Relevance? Look at it. I mean just think about it. If you become a developer, you’re just working in a back-office probably assisting the IB people and they are probably assisting the people in London or I don’t know—somewhere. What impact are you even making?” I say

“I am not in it for the glory of working as a developer in a bank, heck, I am not even in it for any kind of glory. They are fascinating institutions, they really are, which deal with billions and billions of dollar. Can you imagine doubling dollars at that scale, it is really difficult. Can you just imagine that?” He responds back

“That’s not the point — ” I sigh

“Oh, come on! You’re kidding me, What is it then?” he asks clearly frustrated.

“Identity! for fucks — What kind of personal identity do you have when you work in a place like that? It’s a big corporation which would like uniformity out of your work at the end of the day, it’s just that they pay you a lot. You kn—I can’t, I think— I don’t trust places which pay you too much, because there’s always a price. The price you pay. You lose your individualism!” I say

“How is it any different in what you do right now?” he snaps back

“It —it” I say as I choke on my words. I don’t know. I really don’t. “It isn’t” I say with a sadness in my voice that I didn’t know I had.

Let’s add more emotions and different train of thoughts?

I take another breath in, in front of me, looming in distance stands a gigantic glass tower with the Credit Suisse sign beaming unsteadily.

I remember a conversation I had with my boyfriend back in May when he was deciding whether he wanted to intern at Credit Suisse or not.

“Don’t you understa — ” I got cut off, he does that a lot, I got cut off before I could finish what I was saying. This is just frustrating.

” — I do understand what you’re trying to say, I just don’t agree with it I guess!” he says.

“You don’t, you just wanna — “

“I do” he yells

“Will you just listen to me for fucks sake!” I snap. Sometimes it’s just difficult to communicate with him. He stops and thinks and then looks at me to give an approving nod.

“See, the thing is everything you will be doing there will be just — you know support” I say

“It won’t. Come on, all the work you do in banks is not really support. You’re just too engulfed in this constant hate towards banks and now you can’t see anything, like absolutely anything beyond it! Maybe you know — maybe you’re just bitter about something?” he says

“Oh, my god, I am not bitter for fucks—” I stop and take a breath “It’s just that it doesn’t make any sense to me!” I say. At this point I am flailing my hands like a complete maniac.

“They pay you, but what about any sort of job relevance? Look at it. I mean just think about it. If you become a developer, you’re just working in a back-office probably assisting the IB people and they are probably assisting the people in London or I don’t know—somewhere. What kind of impact are you even making?” I say

“I am not in it for the glory of working as a developer in a bank, heck, I am not even in it for any kind of glory. They are fascinating institutions, they really are! They deal with billions and billions of dollars. Can you imagine doubling dollars at that scale, it is really difficult.” He says slightly exasperated

“That’s not the point — ” I sigh

“Oh, come on! You’re kidding me, What is it then?” he asks clearly frustrated.

“Identity! for fucks — What kind of personal identity do you have when you work in a place like that?” I say as I sense my voice getting slightly louder and try to lower it “It’s a big corporation which would like uniformity more than anything else. They want uniformity out of your work at the end of the day, it’s just that they end up pay you a lot. You know—I can’t —I think— I don’t trust banks, because there’s always a price. The price you pay. You lose your individualism at the end of it!” I say

“You’re just insane — tell me this, how is it any different in what you do right now?” he snaps back

“You know what, It —it” I say as I choke on my words. I don’t know. I really don’t. “It isn’t” I say with a sadness in my voice that I didn’t know I had.

You know what, I am pretty pleased with the results?

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