12th November 2pm to 6pm

A 4-hour Dialogue Webinar with Stephen Cleary

Dialogue is a script’s shop window, it’s what people – producers, actors, financiers, distributors, and the public – looking at scripts notice first, and it helps them to see the natures of your characters and takes them on to the deeper story. Great dialogue will not guarantee success for your project, but bad dialogue will probably mean your project will not get far.

Writing great dialogue is a skill, but if the underlying story is not working, you cannot just write great dialogue over the top of it. Dialogue is where a scene flowers, but those flowers must have roots that go down into the story.

Getting dialogue right means getting the story right too.

We are going to spend a few hours exploring dialogue. I’ll be talking a lot, you’ll talk too, and we’ll do some dialogue writing too, fun ways of exploring the ideas we are talking about.

We will look at how speech patterns, rhythm, musicality, vocabulary, and syntax all define character. We will see how subtext and status underpin all conversations, and we will look at the main different kinds of dialogue there are.

We’ll look at examples from film and television, and we’ll talk about anything you’d like to discuss in relation to dialogue in your own projects.

Stephen Cleary has been an international story consultant for film and television for twelve years. Previous to that he founded and ran Arista Development, Europe’s largest private story development training agency, and prior to that, he was the Head of Development at the UK national film agency. While there he developed and oversaw movies like “The Crying Game”, “Rob Roy”, and “Bend It Like Beckham”. Also designing and co-ran (with Femi Koldade) the ADEPT black and minority ethnic (as it was termed in those days) development and mentoring programme for the UK Film Council.

An international story consultant he has designed and presented workshops for FilmFour, Canal Plus, BBC Films, the Polish Film Centre, the Nordic Film Fund, , DRK Denmark, ABC TV Australia, NZ Onscreen, UniJapan, Freemantle Media, Screen Australia, RAI TV, Telefilm Canada, the UK National Film School, the Danish Film Institute, the Swedish Film Institute, Film Victoria, TV1 Norway and the Berlin, Rotterdam, Cannes and Edinburgh film festivals. I have trained and worked with Film and TV professionals from Tasmania to Greenland, from indigenous Australians to people of the Inuit Nation.

This year he presented his latest workshop, Power, Gender and New Story Structures in Copenhagen, Stockholm, Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland, Wellington, and Dublin. The workshop will be published as a book next year. He is also co-author of I Put A Spell On You, the autobiography of Nina Simone, which has been acquired by the Universal Music Group for production into a feature film. he is currently researching a new biography of Nina Simone, Soul On Fire, which will be published in 2023.

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