Lesson 3 Discovery Activity
On the Set

Outside the Theater: Writing a Dramatic Scene

If you are not shooting landscapes, you are shooting people. If you are shooting people, they are interacting, usually talking to each other. Let’s find out how that works. So much of film is dramatic dialogue that it seems like a good idea to experiment with it. We should get a feel for how difficult it is to write engaging dialogue.

Time Estimate

30 minutes


Write a short dialogue between a man and a woman having dinner. Here’s the premise: they’ve been dating for two years. He has alluded to marriage before but she is unsure. Tonight, he’s going to "pop the question." Can he phrase it in such a way that she is touched, and agrees? Or is this going to turn sour? You decide. One other thing: they’ve both ordered fish.

The aim here is not to be funny or trenchant or to produce great art (although that may happen!), but rather to get a feeling for what makes a drama.


Please post your responses to the following topics on the class message board.

  1. Post your dialogue.
  2. Describe what it was like to try to construct a relationship between two people.