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CREATING & EDITING COMPELLING DIALOGUE IN PLAYS, SCREENPLAYS & AUDIO DRAMA Play Cafe invites you to an online workshop with writer-producer Rick Toscan on Sunday, Oct. 8, 12:30PM – 2:00PM PDT (San Francisco)/8:00PM – 9:30PM BST (London)



Compelling dialogue may be even more important than plot and characters in capturing the attention of professional readers, artistic directors, literary managers, and producers. We’ll explore the red flags in dialogue that prompt readers to set aside scripts after looking at only a few pages. And we’ll examine the most important elements signaling that a script is worth reading to its final page. We’ll explore how controlling subtext and exposition encourages identification with characters, the right-margin rule for signaling when dialogue density (overwriting) will turn readers off. And we’ll look at techniques for identifying problematic elements in dialogue: hidden and false monologues as well as those troublesome transition, variant, and talking-to-yourself lines, among others. By the end of the workshop you’ll have a toolkit for intriguing dialogue that’s more likely to attract positive attention in the worlds of audio, theatre, or film. Presentation slides will be sent to participants following the workshop.


Participants will have the option of submitting two pages of an original script that may be used without identifying the author as examples of editing techniques (submitted script excerpts will not be sent to participants). Script guidelines will be provided following your registration for the workshop.



Rick is a writer-producer who has worked with Lucasfilm, the BBC, and major figures in theatre, film, and television. Millions of listeners have heard his audio dramas on the BBC, ABC (Australia), CBC (Canada), NPR and Pacifica (US). He was an Armstrong Award nominee for his audio productions. His plays have been produced in Los Angeles and presented by New Dramatists (New York) and other theatres. He’s been a reader and judge for play and screenplay competitions and writers he’s coached have won the Academy’s Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting. He was a founding member of First Stage, the Los Angeles new play development program, and served as Dean of USC’s School of Theatre and Associate Dean of its School of Cinema-Television. He’s the author of the handbooks Playwriting Seminars 2.0 now in its revised 2nd edition and Writing Audio Drama. Rick consults on story structure and dialogue with writers working in theatre, film, and audio.

REGISTRATION:   Suggested donation of $15-$25.

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