Low-Budget Filmmaking Tip #79

Bingo! A spiny pee fish!

Please don’t ever have a character say “We’ve got company” to announce the arrival of monsters, bad guys, or other undesirables. You can do better. Likewise, “Bingo!” should probably never be used outside of the actual bingo parlor context.

One of the things I try very hard to do with every script I write is to speak all the dialogue out loud. If something sounds funny, it’s outta’ here!

One of the first things to go is repeated use of each other’s names.

I noticed in a script I wrote recently that neither of the two characters even once called each other by name. At first, I thought that was a little weird, until I read it a few times and realized that names were unnecessary — it was just two people talking in the woods.

I could live a long and happy life and never hear a character say “I got a bad feeling about this” unless it was the setup for a punchline such as “Well, yeah, there’s one of those spiny fish swimming into your urethra — that explains your bad feeling.”

I would actually be amused if a bingo parlor were in a movie, but no one said bingo. Then one of the musing characters would muse “Something just seems to be missing.” She would keep musing until later, in a different location, just as the other characters are working out something complicated, she’d yell out “Bingo!” and they would all ask and she would explain “That’s what was missing from the bingo parlor! Someone shouting Bingo!” They would stare blankly at her, and then she would say “Okay, so what are we talking about, again?”

Although I think “spiny pee fish” would be an awesome name for an avant garde Scottish soft rock band.

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