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Pacing of line delivery question


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#1 David Calson

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Posted 29 March 2008 - 12:25 PM

So for any given film, short or whatever, shouldn't the actor speak the lines quicker than they would in real life? Albeit, maybe just a little bit faster than normal.
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#2 Richard Boddington

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Posted 31 March 2008 - 12:49 PM

So for any given film, short or whatever, shouldn't the actor speak the lines quicker than they would in real life? Albeit, maybe just a little bit faster than normal.


Why would the actors alter their speaking speed for film?

The actors should speak their lines on film at the speed they normally would for the situation they are in. Film dialogue is typically "snappier" that's true to prevent the audience from completely falling asleep. This is usually due to the the fact that you have professional actors speaking memorized lines, the key is that they make it appear natural on screen.

If your actors speak quicker for the sole purpose of speaking quicker, the audience will notice that some thing isn't quite right.

R,
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#3 Ayz Waraich

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 04:02 PM

The actors should speak their lines on film at the speed they normally would for the situation they are in. Film dialogue is typically "snappier" that's true to prevent the audience from completely falling asleep. This is usually due to the the fact that you have professional actors speaking memorized lines, the key is that they make it appear natural on screen.

If your actors speak quicker for the sole purpose of speaking quicker, the audience will notice that some thing isn't quite right.

R,


There's no general guideline concerning delivery. Good actors will find a rhythm to the dialogue, and its always different from film to film. Mamet's dialogue may be delivered with a certain snap, while something out of a malick film may have more contemplative feel to it. Another film might call for something more natural to the ear. It's always different.

It's the directors job to figure out what feels right for each particular film/scene, and not apply some arbitrary rule of thumb.
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#4 Jim Keller

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 04:11 PM

So for any given film, short or whatever, shouldn't the actor speak the lines quicker than they would in real life? Albeit, maybe just a little bit faster than normal.


This is a very broad question, and what audiences read as "real" changes over time and based on genre. But, in general, today, for the majority of projects, it's not that you want actors to speak more quickly, it's that you want them to "pick up the cues."

If you were to just tape people having a normal conversation, they would either overlap when they speak to each other (because they're not really listening) or there would be pauses in the conversation (because they are listening, making sure the other person is done speaking, and processing what has been said to them before responding). Well, unless you're going for the "drama in the silences" a la Pinter, for dramatic purposes we generally compress the pauses, or "pick up the cues." This requires actors as the characters to process what's just been said to them a little faster than we do in real life, and to psychically know that the other person has finished speaking, but audiences seem to accept that more than they accept the slower pacing the real-life pauses cause.

Of course, for a high-paced comedy, a 30's style witty repartee piece, etc., you WOULD want the actors to speak faster than normal, but in general actual fast-talking only serves to reduce understandability.
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