The Lizard King wrote:
> [a lot of very true things]
> [and then]
> Exposition is almost required for any story that is going to be told in two
> hours and still have some complexity. And "useless" dialogue is where
> novelists develop characters and atmosphere and flavor.
I agree completely with what you say, but a *useless* dialogue IS
useless, by definition. But don't misunderstand what I'm saying. It
doesn't mean that scenes and dialogues not in direct relation with the
story are useless (which is where most blockbuster writers get it
wrong). An exposition scene is not a scene in which nothing's going on
in terms of external action/reaction. It's a scene in which nothing
happens in any level of conflict (external, internal, global, etc.).
It's a scene in which the universe is completely constant.
It's true that Chinatown is one of the best screenplays ever, and there
are no useless dialogues in it. There are dialogues which don't build
the story, but instead build the *characters*. And on that we agree
Oh, and by the way, even in Hollywood "crappy" screenwriting courses,
Chinatown is one of the definitive recurrent references (there's even a
study of the several pre-prod versions of the script). I don't want to
become the devil's advocate but hey, even if some screenwriting courses'
teachers wrote bad movies, they DID wrote movies (or books), and their
advices are worth listening to.