What Realistic Film Dialogue Sounds Like
What Realistic Film Dialogue Sounds Like


Selling all the art, dad? Why? One thing I think film can do really well, better than any other medium, is capture the reality of conversations. In a book, no matter how you lay it out, one piece of dialogue always has to follow another. You can’t simulate people talking over each other, which is what we all do a lot of the time. And you can’t really capture the rhythm, speed and tone that a conversation has. Even radio and theater miss some of the nuances that film is perfectly suited to reproduce Of all the filmmakers working right now, I think Noah Baumbach, maybe has the best ear for dialogue as it really is and an ear is what it takes, because there’s a general disconnect between what we all sound like and what movie and TV characters sound like, especially the most articulate ones. You asked me that moronic question and then my world came apart and she came here And I landed in the tabloids, and I got death threats and my job is constantly in jeopardy and you ruined my life Yes. That was me Of course, you don’t have to aim at realistic speech Screenwriters like Aaron Sorkin and Quentin Tarantino have done really great work by writing human dialogue as it could be Finding music and language the same way that Shakespeare did centuries ago. But Baumbach on the other hand seems to be committed to a different principle I think the conversation like this speaks volumes. In one sense just by looking at it You can see that This is a total failure of communication between father and son. The two men are on parallel tracks: Matt is talking about his new business and Harold is talking about his forthcoming art retrospective But in another sense, what makes this exchange so heartbreaking and true to life at least for me is that they really are communicating with each other just not explicitly. Matt brings up a major life change and expresses some of the hopes and fears He has about it and his father immediately brings up his own major life event and some of the hopes and fears he has about that. Implicitly, Matt is asking for approval, he’s asking for reassurance, and he’s asking for consolation. Harold, on the other hand, is denying approval because he can’t bear his son being more successful than he is, while asking for reassurance of his own hopes and consolation for his own fears. It’s like the two men are firing a volley of missiles at each other, some are hitting, some are missing and some are crashing into each other in midair. I think Baumbach understands a key dynamic in conversations, especially conversations with family. When we speak to others we’re often speaking to ourselves, attempting to frame dialogue so that the person were talking to will reflect back the things that we want to believe about us When I was younger I was so invested in his grievances his anger, the world they were mine too, but now that I lived 3,000 miles away and have my own kid thriving business I I don’t even get angry at him anymore, it’s even… just funny I’m sure a lot of people who just went home for Thanksgiving experienced something like this. You feel that you’ve changed, that you have an updated nuanced idea of yourself and you’re gonna show that idea in one way or another to your family. It doesn’t matter how much money I make You make me feel like a big piece of shit because you don’t care about it But you also actually do! You’re primally obsessed with it! You know that I beat you I beat you! The thing we seem to forget is that as we’re trying to get our family to affirm our sense of self they’re doing the same thing to us, and the result is often conflict or a conversation that just goes nowhere Well, maybe not nowhere, just not where you intended. This is my favorite scene in the movie It’s a minute and 30 second long take of two half-brothers attempting to connect. By making it one take, you get all the elements of conversation that I spoke about before including the body language, the projected self confidence of Matt and the nervous insecure energy of Danny, always nodding his head like his father. They’re doing this thing where they agree while also disagreeing it’s a specific kind of non argument that tells you a lot about their personalities and their relationship. There’s so much going on here. On one level, Danny is trying to connect with Matt by literally trying to finish his sentences. He’s also trying to challenge him and assert some dominance by acting like he knows what Matt’s gonna say next. Talk about speaking to yourself, Danny is effectively trying to hijack Matt’s sentences and make them his own. Listen for this the next time you’re in a conversation. People do this all the time. At this point, Matt and Danny are getting out of sync which actually makes it appropriate that Danny brings up ‘arbitrage’ an investment term for when the same asset is worth different values in different places and you exploit that price difference for profit. Exploiting differences in value is a pretty good definition of what it’s like to be in a dysfunctional family or a dysfunctional conversation, for that matter. And there it is: a moment of connection. One minute and 13 seconds into the conversation. In the Meyerowitz family, moments of connection are few and far between, so when they happen, they land with a special poignancy and though this family is perhaps more intense, more insecure than most, I hope, There’s something that rings so true about this to me. When we talk, so often we fly around each other, working out our own shit, thinking about ourselves We try to make our meaning clear, but we can’t quite say what we want, how we want, when we want. That’s because communication isn’t easy. Sometimes movies make it seem like it is but Noah Baumbach isn’t interested in that kind of dialogue. He uses the medium best suited for depicting conversations to show us the truth about them, that we miss the mark more often than we hit it and that it’s a beautiful, meaningful thing when we do One of the questions I get asked the most by far is what kind of software do I use to make these videos To edit I use Final Cut Pro 10 and since 10 is so different from the programs that came before it I actually depended a lot on online videos to teach me the new features these days you can pretty much teach yourself anything this way and Skillshare is the perfect way to do it Skillshare is an online learning community for creators with more than 16,000 classes in graphic design animation web development video game design and more all the classes are professional and Understandable and follow a clear learning curve a Premium Membership begins around $10 a month for unlimited access to all the courses but the first 500 people to sign up using the first link in the description will get a 2 month free trial in those 2 months You could easily learn the skills you need to start a new hobby or business specialized skills like learning After Effects which I’ve always wanted to do and Skillshare has dozens of classes that will help you master that program. What’s the skill that you’ve been putting off learning? Why not sign up the skill share using the link below and start learning right away? You got nothing to lose and a valuable skill to gain. Thanks guys. I’ll see you next time

100 thoughts on “What Realistic Film Dialogue Sounds Like”

  1. Rohan Arora says:

    Hey thanks for all the work you put into these videos. They have really made a positive influence on my life. I don't really have much to say, but I thought you should know 🙂

  2. tara shmulik says:

    Wonderful interpretation, thank you very much for this lovely video! I liked it a lot <3

  3. district5rookie says:

    I hate noah baumbach dialogue.

  4. Gwynn Co says:

    This is why I hate around 95% of tv and films in the country I'm in. Philippines. The directors doesn't care or doesn't know how to make their work the best piece that it could be. The performance and writing is bad but they never bothered to re-take or re-shoot.

  5. Frank M says:

    Best dialogue in film is from TARANTINO & Elmore Leonard to name a few. 😎👍

  6. araneus1 says:

    Altman?

  7. SuspiciousX says:

    I’ve never seen this movie, but just from the clips here it looks, to me, way too in your face with the whole talking over each other and not paying attention to each other during conversation thing. It’s like the movie is so interested in making a point about the way conversations really go that it keeps itself from portraying the way conversations really go. But then again maybe I just need to watch the movie and see for myself.

  8. Steven D. Bennett says:

    Egad! Sandler? Stiller? Two of the worst actors of our day. The whole talking over thing seems forced and fake. Woody Allen did this to death at dinner scenes, usually, where the more annoying characters ad-libbed over the others. I'd rather hear a few lines of real and well-paced dialogue than a cacophony of chaos poor writers think is cutting edge when it should be cutting-room floor.

  9. lina * says:

    i dont what it means but never once in my life have i witnessed a conversation where people were speaking over eachother during the span of a whole sentence.. so this seems extremely unrealistic to me :/

  10. Eddie Lopez says:

    I think a better way of describing this is “dialogue as it really feels,” not as it really is. People tend to immediately stop talking when interrupted, but they feel talked over because their internal monologue keeps going. There is a sense of loss, like you’ve gone unheard.

  11. Aster E says:

    Sometimes when I write my stories–typically in a novel format–I will read or hear something that makes me think, "Challenge accepted," and then "How and where do I do this?" Your video has provoked one such exercise for me, though I again have no idea which of my novels in progress could use such an attempt. Call it confidence that I could manage it in a non-motion medium, and my way of saying I'm listening and think this concept intriguing. I guess I'll see, and maybe I'll try it in a more chaotic scene or two in one story that I have started this past week.

  12. Nico says:

    That music in the end reminds me of a game on Friv

  13. Mitch Lawless says:

    Watch the French film, Blue is the Warmest Colour – insanely realistic dialogue, acting and storyline.

  14. ggn1 says:

    Home Movies is the show that exemplifies this example perfectly.

  15. tezzo55 says:

    :-B I love your stuff, but this one? The BBC Radio 4, in Uk, adopted this style about 30 years ago, and there's a subtlety you've not yet arrived at. When folk talk over each other, not in real life, but to achieve the "mish mash" effect of real life, it can sound so phoney, and eventually it just becomes another "go to" dramatic effect. The scenes you quote here, all display this same unreality (I know it's Dustin). If you want to know what "over talk" actually sounds like, listen to old "Oppy an Anthony" Radio shows. Hear the difference. We're still very bad actors :-B

  16. duppy 00 says:

    How real dialogue should sound :

    Have actors cut eachother off constantly

  17. SydneyElizabeth says:

    riverdale writers are seizing

  18. Ben Mosher says:

    I get what this director (Bombak is it?) is trying to do with dialogue, but it isn't executed very well in a few spots. Like when Ben Stiller is speaking about his new firm and gets interrupted mid sentence. Instead of finishing his sentence through the interruption like a normal person would do, he pauses, listens to the other guy change the subject, and then weirdly decides to finish his sentence after said pause. That is very atypical. Then they sort of talk over each other on different subjects, which is abnormal when it is a conversation between only two people (3 or more and it happens all the time because there are more potential listeners, but two is odd) and when it does happen between two people, it is usually only for a split second before one person quickly gives the other person his/her ear. But not only that, they also do it at a sort of weird rhythm that stands out as unnatural to my ear. Listen from 1:48–2:14 and see if you can see/hear what I mean. Same can be said for the hospital room scene with Adam Sandler at 00:50. Here it is like they are interrupting each other too perfectly, like literally word for word talking over each other and finishing at the same time. It feels a little overly coordinated or rehearsed, and hence unnatural. They even look over at each other, pause, and then continue to speak over one another. That type of simultaneous interrupting, sentence after sentence, pause after pause, is definitely abnormal. How often do you look at someone and just simultaneously speak over one another, and then actually continue it for the duration of an entire sentence, and then look over and do it again, and again? Like I said before, usually one person will quickly cede to the other. I appreciate the intention here, but the execution was slightly off in my opinion.

  19. Sam Gale says:

    5:14 Danny definitely has anxiety and from experience that's how it is, for me when I talk to some, even most people I nod my head, look at the floor, agree, disagree, say maybe, say something that I wouldn't ever say or say something I didn't mean, saying i didn't like a film where I meant to say I liked it, your opinion gets muddled, and feel like I need to look into their eyes to not come across as rude but when I do my heart races and I get really sweaty. And quite a lot of the time you smile when you see people but it's constant so you try not to and you sigh or yawn. I've never seen this film but I want to because of how accurate it portrays anxiety.

  20. We All Fall Down says:

    I think it’s great that the actors don’t really allow the other actor to finish their sentence, much like in real life. We tend to get our say in as fast as we can.

  21. talissa almeida says:

    I love this. The perfect articulation characters have in movie them not talking over each other unless it's a big family dinner… Are things that always bothered me.

    But is that written in the script? Or is that the director's choice?

  22. talissa almeida says:

    Someone mentioned how Sandler seems great in this movie (won't hijack those replies 1 year later), and I don't only agree. But I would compare him to Ben Stiller, who seems very much everything he ever does in this movie. I love Ben Stiller, I think he keeps making great movies, but I am not sure he has a lot of range.

  23. John LeBrun says:

    Dude this show was trash and you know it.

  24. Praetor7 says:

    I haven't watched this movie but I'm definitely going to now! Good stuff 👍

  25. Paxton Ghandi says:

    i really enjoyed this video, and it makes me want to see this director's films, but do you really think this dialogue is realistic? it feels more like the director and/or writer is trying to capture something about dialogue/communication, rather than accurately imitating it

  26. Oh That Alan says:

    Favorite movies with overlapping dialog:
    Citizen Kane (1941)
    Alien (1979)

  27. Middle Finger U says:

    Richard Linkater is better at this

  28. max khaleel says:

    So no ones going to mention a cinema classic from the room by tommy wiseau after interrupting his friends question about his buisness client,
    " so hows your sex life"

  29. Adina McCray says:

    Have I watched this before? Yes
    Will I watch it again? yes.

  30. Андрей Батурин says:

    Самые реалистичные диалоги в фильмах Светланы Басковой, факт.

  31. Taj adil says:

    That’s not how people actually talk in real life though, I think it’s a bit exaggerated because the characters in that movie talk over each other way too much

  32. Okthen says:

    I like Stranger Things, I really do, but I feel like it’s a perfect example of a movie/tv series where the dialogue is very unrealistic. For example, whenever they are figuring out a major plot point they seem to finish each others’ sentences like they can tell what the other person is going to say.

  33. Duck Mint says:

    You're that one kid in English class that loved writing essays.

    But seriously, this is so well written and produced. You are very professional and have a great high impact voice. You can forward your point with topics that are easily translated to someone like me (who has little to no knowledge of film techniques) and others that are interested in movie details. Your report is insightful and genuinely enjoyable to watch. Subbed

  34. Paul 324 says:

    In my opinion it sounds really bad when they're talking at the same time… never hear something like that irl

    Edit:not like it never happens but it sounds so fake

  35. Ma Name Is Aaron says:

    What's the title of the movie in this study, please?

  36. Nathan Bell says:

    The best way I've ever heard real dialogue described came from Chuck Palahniuk. Paraphrasing here, but, in regular conversation people are just waiting for their turn to talk. They're not engaged in your dialogue, they're setting up how they're going to break in and inject their opinions or start a new line of dialogue.

  37. Nathan Bell says:

    The best way I've ever heard real dialogue described came from Chuck Palahniuk. Paraphrasing here, but, in regular conversation people are just waiting for their turn to talk. They're not engaged in your dialogue, they're setting up how they're going to break in and inject their opinions or start a new line of dialogue.

  38. Kionjin says:

    This is an amazing video holy shit i thought it was kinda weird thinking how could dialogue sound different from one another director but this has easily become one of if not my favorite video on youtube its so beautiful keep the good shit up man

  39. Truman Barnes says:

    Huh, I guess movies are pretty cool

  40. Jory says:

    people don't talk over people like this lol, I mean in some cases, but the flick is still unrealistic.

  41. Wambui Wambui says:

    British films do this to perfection, this coming from a non-american and a non-brit

  42. Victoria xo says:

    1:26 FREYAAA!? 😱😂

  43. Ravel cabral jorge says:

    mto bonito.

  44. defyingtheodds1987 says:

    I feel as if I’d be able to write a funny show/ sitcoms/ movie but I’m a terrible write and a lot of my “funny lines” are on spontaneous

  45. Boy Willows says:

    The fuck is with the nazi romcom trailer..?

  46. Jay Rock Jinx says:

    I wish I was as witty and intelligent as people are in movies.

  47. awaisis says:

    most times ppl close to you just respond with a hmm ahh huh oh mhmm uhh. and thats a full response. it stop or flows with those. hmm!? is a question
    a haaa is a yes or whatever. but yeah whatever …

  48. Ozzy e o Espírito do Tempo says:

    Perfect!

  49. tavo amaya says:

    0:30 you obviously havent read house of leaves

  50. tavo amaya says:

    0:30 you obviously havent read house of leaves

  51. Clark Tierney says:

    It’s because one writer is being rerepresented by producers, directors, actors, cinematography, the entire film industry and such. Pure writing is always undone by Hollywood because people are visual.

  52. Dorian Smith says:

    The cartoon Home Movies is a great example of natural dialogue

  53. Roni Hadar says:

    Californiacation has very realistic dialogues

  54. Vanya Duarte says:

    THATS WHAT IT WAS THAT MADE ME FEEL SO CLOSE TO THIS MOVIE

  55. Te l says:

    Noah treeriver

  56. Michael Jurney says:

    Fine for a movie line delivery, but nothing close to normal human dialog.

    EDIT: actually I think all the dialog you showed was horrible.

  57. Amy Pdiddy says:

    The office is pretty good at it

  58. Kylo_Ryan says:

    Can’t wait for marriage story

  59. Harry H says:

    Great video 😊

  60. Ella Biddy says:

    This is the type of analysis we do in ap language and literature classes and I love it so much. Just like super deep analysis of little things and it’s beautiful to see how every little thing has a deeper meaning, especially when it’s intentional from the artist/writer/director

  61. Ted Orbach says:

    Noah Baumbach is Tyler Perry for Jews

  62. fairwind says:

    You can't understand any of what they're saying when they talk over.

  63. Brak says:

    Oblivion is best

  64. Katy우리코 says:

    The most realistic dialogue I’ve ever heard in a movie/show is in the Norwegian show Skam. Extremely realistic, relatable and makes me feel like I really am inside the scene with the characters. Never heard anything better than that.

    The worst I’ve heard is definitely the American show Shadowhunters. Everything sounds forced and “too perfect”. The actors are mostly from decent to good, but the dialogue is ridiculous. Cringed 90% of the time I was watching it.

  65. Vargabee Das says:

    Carly Churchill's Top Girls follows exactly the same pattern of overlapping dialogues.

  66. FastAndAdrift says:

    On any other video I would be proud to say I can relate. This one I deeply relate to, my family does this all the time. Its not because you didnt lived it, that it isnt realistic. There is a lot of people that make up the world we have. If you didnt live it, its fine and its good! Just don't discredit it. 🙂

  67. Healing Touch with Julia says:

    This is part of what I loved in the show Parenthood. The dialogue when the family got together was so overlapped, it felt familiar.

  68. Avigail E says:

    Great video, great analysis

  69. Dadson worldwide says:

    They dont do northern yank very accurate.Its close and the pronunciation sells it enough.If it was accurate we couldnt follow the script

  70. Richard Durocher says:

    anyone know the name of this movie?

  71. xtph says:

    I want to list "talking over each other" as a major symptom of a dysfunctional family. Its disrespectful as hell and that's sometimes the point

  72. dmn47 says:

    The brother convo is 90% of the conversations I have with my mom or grandmother. Sigh.

  73. Dracula Fairy says:

    I love your voice

  74. XxkurokomiichanxX says:

    Hm.. well yeah ,but no.. it's weird, conversations can be very realistic and feel natural sometimes (especially compared to anime where they just sometimes stop mid-sentence and it takes a few seconds for other characters to 'interrupt' them ,and well..) but then again ,there are so many conversations in movie that are just way to dramatic. They don't just say a thing , they make a scene out of it ,EVERYTHING has a lot of weight to it, which real life conversations just don't have that often :/

  75. Chase Wulff says:

    Honestly, most of the dialogue in this feels forced. When I hear people talking over each other, all I can think is, “Oh, here we are. Trying to make dialogue sound ‘real’ again.” 50 years from now people will be able to identify movies from this era by the characters talking over each other.

  76. eli arbreton says:

    Wish the movie title was in the description

  77. WahidTrynaHeghugh says:

    Conversation is never quite this extreme. People don’t talk over eachother like the father and son

  78. failtolawl says:

    yea maybe new york jews talk over each other like fucking assholes but that conversation is not realistic at all.. I have never seen a conversation like the ones you keep showing.

  79. Justin Williams says:

    Please don't compare tarantino to shakespeare

  80. glittery_cucumber says:

    "You just don't get it, do you? …"

  81. Daniela Galdino-Jolly says:

    If only more films had this sense of realism and quality then I’d own a tv or at least a DVD player

  82. Daniela Galdino-Jolly says:

    Body language and the dance of dialogue shows so so much to/of a character and characters yet much of our entertainment is simply about being hyped up and aroused by violence and sex and completely leaves out the cause and affect of everything and how it’s portrayed because of the environment, what’s happening in the immediate environment and between the people who are being affected simultaneously

  83. Liface says:

    If you want actual realistic dialogue, check out the mumblecore genre.

  84. David Anderson says:

    Sort of annoying dialogue

  85. Godzilla Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do says:

    One of the most boring movie ever made in my opinion

  86. Johann Rojas says:

    To express my own feelings I'm glad using spannish, with English is bit different and hard to do it

  87. Dejah Witherspoon says:

    Why does everyone keep talking about a "Dysfunctional families" Dysfunctional families are normal…to a certain extent. No family is perfect💯 and that's that

  88. margi cates says:

    Theater does this.
    You just aren’t going to the right plays.

  89. Chachi Shapiro says:

    Noah Baumbach seems to get a lot of influence from Robert Altman.

  90. john holmes says:

    It's Jews talking to each other

  91. Aidan Lentz says:

    what are the odds that more people have seen this video than the actual movie?

  92. cuncunz14 says:

    rip to us who watch this movie with subtitle

  93. Valentin Svensberg says:

    I don't know what your conversations are like, but mine aren't like that.

  94. Brady Portnip says:

    I have not seen any of Baumbach's movies but after watching this video, I have become more interested in his work. But how does his dialogues compare to that of Woody Allen's? I used to think that Allen's dialogues were the most realistic I've seen. I think it's because there is a rhythm to them that is closer to real-life conversations and the content also seems close to what people in the real world talk about. But I'm not sure if Allen's dialogues depict relationship dynamics as Baumbach's does based on this video. I think Allen's dialogues (at least from his films that I have seen), more than anything else, portrays the character who is speaking in terms of that character's traits, hopes, wishes and desires but does not necessarily depict the dynamics between the characters.
    What do you think, Nerdwriter1?

  95. MutenRoscher says:

    All the scenes of people talking to each other in this video is highly annoying and off putting to me. I just wanna scream at them to shut the fuck up …..

    nice essay tho or whatever

  96. pabel sizan says:

    Name of the movie ?

  97. D K says:

    Manchester by the Sea and The Week Of are the most realistic dialogue and interaction I’ve seen yet, it made you believe that the families in those films are actually real

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