How To Train Your Dragon

Okay, I admit it, I am completely and absolutely a rabid fan of the movie How To Train Your Dragon. I have seen it three times in 3-D no less. Each time I go I enjoy it just as much as the first time. Not only does the hero's journey of Hiccup always touch a cord with me, I still get teary eyed at the end (I'm such a sap), but I can't get enough of the dialogue. It is the dialogue that makes me want to watch it over and over, and yes, I do want to go see it again.

The dialogue in this movie is great. No word is wasted. Every word reveals character. Oh, to be able to write like that is something I aim for.

I remember in one of my screenwriting classes we had to evaluate a movie on the dialogue alone. Watch the movie and read the script. How was it that the writer's were able to convey so much information and character to the viewer in the opening sequence through dialogue. I picked American Outlaws while the rest of my classmates picked Oscar winners. Yes, my rebel behavior tends to turn up wherever I go. It's been several years (shoot probably over 5) since I did that assignment. But I still remember the basics of the assignment. I believe you were supposed to evaluate the first five or so minutes of dialogue and see how the writers reveal back story, character information, and world information through dialogue alone. American Outlaws taught me a lot.

Soldier: Get me the James boy.
Second Soldier: Jesse?
Soldier: No, the one that can shoot.

Did you catch it? We have just been told that Jesse is not the one that can shoot. We also know that both Jesse and Frank (the one that can shoot) are in the military and in the middle of a conflict when this opens. A super cool cowboy/soldier scene follows revealing that though Frank is the one that can shoot Jesse is the one that will take the outrageous chances and will live to tell the tale. The rest of the dialogue reveals just as much as those three short lines, but I'm afraid they are no longer branded into my memory.

Want to learn how to write good dialogue? Check out some movies that do dialogue really well. Not wasting a single word. Check out How To Train Your Dragon and listen to Hiccup's dialogue with those in his tribe.


  1. I'm with you; I absolutely loooove that movie. There is so much packed into the time it takes to go from start to finish, I can hardly believe all of it.

    ~ Yaya
    Yaya's Home

  2. They do pack a lot into the movie and they get it all in via the dialogue and opening/ending narrative sequence. A lot to learn there.


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