SCREAMWRITER! - 0.5 How To Write A Dramatic Monologue (2023)

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five STEPS TO WRITE A FANTASTIC DRAMATIC MONOLOGUE

(Video) BASICS OF READING MODULE+ CUE CARD WORDS TO BE USED IN THE LAST 0.5 MINUTES

HOW TO CAPTURE YOUR AUDIENCE ATTENTION AND MAKE THEM INVEST IN YOUR CHARACTERS VOICE
WRITTEN BY KELSEY CROMWELL
09/07/2020

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THE IMPORTANCE OF A SINGLE CHARACTERS VOICE

Monologues have lots of beneficial use to actors as well as writers, often they’re used for self-tapes as they’re perfect for flaunting their dramatic acting ability. Writers can practice the art of monologue-writing in order to perfect their craft, such as the slow revealing of information to keep the audience hooked until the end of the monologue.

WHAT IS A MONOLOGUE?

A monologue is a dramatic performance of speech by an actor expressing a situation in a character’s life that they can’t keep to themselves anymore. It’s could be described as discovering the story of a character through the inside of their mind being revealed to the audience.

A monologue can be anything from a single page or perhaps twenty. There isn’t particularly a limit to how long a monologue can be, but it will most likely prove difficult to rely purely on the actor’s portrayal of words to keep the audience hooked into a longer monologue.

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STEP ONE : DEFINE YOUR CHARACTER

Before starting your monologue, you must know your protagonist through and through. If you have an idea of how they are feeling and what they are thinking at the particular moment of the monologue, this will help when it comes to creating the dialogue and making these expressing these two aspects to the audience.

If the protagonist is going to be at break point, they can’t bottle up their problems anymore, something (or a series of events) must have happened to lead the protagonist here. Make sure you know as much detail of these life events as possible, and bear in mind that they must be immense, dramatic events that are enough to create a turning point for the protagonist.

For instance, the more difficult time the protagonist is having, the more believable the monologue will be, and the audience will be more invested in the story and journey.

(Video) 5 Things to Think about while Writing ||Episode 1

WHO ARE THEY TALKING TO?

Another key element to a monologue is that the character is not speaking to anyone. It’s quite difficult to create a believable set up for the monologue without including another character, however it can be done as the character could be speaking to inanimate objects or something that is incapable of responding.

  • A few example monologue scenarios:
  • A character speaking into a mirror.
  • A character speaking to a gravestone.
  • A character speaking to an animal.
  • A character speaking to an image.

The scenario should be relevant to the story, the beats in the story should make sense as to how the character has led to this monologue.

EXAMPLE :

SCREAMWRITER! - 0.5 How To Write A Dramatic Monologue (4)

In the example I will discuss the creative choices in the process to hopefully make it more clear how to write a dramatic monologue and the aspects that need to be considered.

The image is a snippet from a monologue I wrote. The protagonists’ story is that he struggled with his childhood: his parents died when he was young, him and his younger sister went into care but until then he protected her with his life, their foster Father ruined their lives and killed his sister. Since then, the protagonist would use his ability to sketch as a coping mechanism, until it became a career for him which left him with guilt and his coping mechanism was no longer the same.

In the image, the protagonist is speaking to a sketch of his sister that he did shortly after her death, which he always keeps with him. This adds to the believability of the monologue, for instance, is the protagonist was speaking to his kitchen sink then this wouldn’t have the same effect. Also, since the inanimate object is something personal to the protagonist, this benefits the likelihood of an emotional response from the audience.

I wanted my monologue to seem slightly poetic, so I used natural imagery and personification mainly for the description of his sister. However, this isn’t a necessity for the writing of a monologue- the language can be informal and casual too.

An element that makes a monologue more dramatic is to slowly reveal information rather than making the audience all caught up after the first few sentences. In the example, the protagonist makes it immediately clear that their parents have passed away, then the tone shifts to a suggestion of hope when he describes the potential his sister had.

He keeps it withheld that his sister is dead, he doesn’t say it, however it is suggested to keep the audience engaged.

STEP TWO : STRUCTURE

I suppose, a monologue is just like a story that is gradually unfolding to the audience. It will consist of a beginning, middle, and end.

THE BEGINNING- Personally, I believe that the beginning should provide context to the audience. Bring them up to speed with what has happened within the situation that has led the character to this point. An important point to make though about providing the context, try not to make it ‘on the nose’, or as if the character is having a gossip with the neighbour. For instance, if the example monologue were to open with, “I remember when our parents died, we cried so much. Little sister, you sure were little back then…” (get the gist?) With it being ‘on-the-nose’ and quicker to the point in a more blunt style, it removes the drama. In this example, the subtleness of imagery was used, saying the words… without actually saying them, this adds to the drama as the audience have to invest more to understand.

THE MIDDLE

Again, I find that the middle works best as the peak of drama. To heighten the drama, make it clear how the character feels at this point. If they’re at the point of having a breakdown alone in the mirror- they have to be containing some pretty intense emotions. Show this. Illustrate them at the cliff of their anger, make the audience question whether the character is going to step back or jump off.

THE END

How a story ends is entirely up to the preference of the writer. There are many options, in the example (the full version) I decided to leave the ending with the suggestion of hope, that the character will gain justice and closure over his sister’s death. Ending your monologue with hope is a measure that can add to the drama, if your audience are invested and rooting for this character, the idea of hope could create an emotional response from the audience- which is a pay off for the built-up drama. Of course though, there are other ways to create your endings for a dramatic monologue:

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STEP THREE : CREATE A CLIFFHANGER

Classic. A typical ‘Eastenders duff-duff’ direction. This creates drama and tension if the monologue has built up a suggestion of an event, and leaves the audience wondering ‘will they or won’t they?’ If a character spends the monologue venting their long-term hatred for their stepmother, with gory imagery and aggressive language, even a suggestion of killing her, if the monologue is left with, “And then… I did it.” But the sentence doesn’t continue, the audience are left hanging on whether ‘it’ was the killing of the stepmother. The drama pays off in their wanting to know the answer.

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(Video) Snatch - Desert Eagle vs. Replica Scene

STEP FOUR : define THE EQUILIBRIUM

A lot of dramatic pay offs come from happy endings. First, I’ll expand on ‘Equilibrium,’ as it’s quite an unusual word to come across. Equilibrium is the state of balance, it doesn’t just apply to film or writing, but everything in life. An audience can become invested through hearing the full cycle of a story. For instance, if a monologue is reminiscent of an anecdote, they hear how the story begins with an equilibrium, then this becomes disturbed, but then reaches a new equilibrium. Due to the drama created when the equilibrium was disturbed, this creates a pay off when a new one is reached.

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A major factor of a monologue is that they’re rather intimate and personal. Really, it’s just the audience and character, alone, as the character releases inner thoughts and feelings. Imagine, the character is speaking directly to the camera (perhaps the scenario is that they’re recording a message for a loved one to watch in the future) if the audience are invested enough then they will be listening intently. At the end, the character may have explained a scenario they’re struggling with, and at the end they looking directly at the camera, directly at the audience, and say- “What would you do?” This would open up a tunnel of thought for the audience, placing them personally in that situation and building up drama even after the monologue.

There are tonnes of other creative ways to end a monologue. The best way to learn and spark creativity is by watching.

SCREAMWRITER contains links to popular monologues such as:

Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads- but I’ll attach a direct link from BBC iPlayer into this article as well:

Watch, be inspired, give it a go!

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SOME HELPFUL MONOLOGUE RESOURCES

(Video) Writing and Publishing Course, part 2: Planning Your Book

ALAN BENNET'S TALKING HEADS

THE DARKEST HOUR

MOVIECLIPS

(Video) How to Write Convincing Dialogue - 9 Tips to Make your Speech Sing

FAQs

What are the 3 types of monologue? ›

  • Soliloquy (monologue in drama)
  • Dramatic monologue.
  • Operatic monologue.
  • Comic monologue.
  • Monologuing.

What is an example of a dramatic monologue? ›

A poem in which an imagined speaker addresses a silent listener, usually not the reader. Examples include Robert Browning's “My Last Duchess,” T.S. Eliot's “The Love Song of J.

What are the 7 elements of dramatic? ›

What is Freytag's Pyramid? Devised by 19th century German playwright Gustav Freytag, Freytag's Pyramid is a paradigm of dramatic structure outlining the seven key steps in successful storytelling: exposition, inciting incident, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution, and denouement.

What are the 5 elements of dramatic? ›

Plot, character, tension, language and spectacle are evident in all of the best plays, TV shows and films. These elements form the basis of any great drama and it is interesting to see how different artists use them to tell a story.

What is a good length for a monologue? ›

An effective monologue should be around one minute, or 90 seconds max. Length goes hand in hand with entertainment, because you don't want your audience to become bored. It is far better to fill a 30 second monologue with great acting choices than to dredge on for 3 minutes of mediocre acting.

How do you write a strong monologue? ›

Use your character's voice and language.

The monologue should be written from the perspective of one character and should feature their unique language and voice. A strong character voice in a monologue can go a long way to adding color, interest, and perspective to the piece.

What makes a successful monologue? ›

A great monologue will capture the audience's attention and imagination with length and tone but cut short just at the right time. Put simply, if a monologue goes on too long the audience will get bored.

What are the main features of a dramatic monologue? ›

Dramatic monologue refers to a type of poetry. These poems are dramatic in the sense that they have a theatrical quality; that is, the poem is meant to be read to an audience. To say that the poem is a monologue means that these are the words of one solitary speaker with no dialogue coming from any other characters.

What are three important elements of a dramatic monologue? ›

Dramatic Monologues in Other Genres

They contain the same elements of the dramatic monologue poem: A character speaks in an uninterrupted flow. The audience may be either present or absent. The speaker reveals something about his or her character or situation through the monologue.

What is the difference between a monologue and a dramatic monologue? ›

monologue, in literature and drama, an extended speech by one person. The term has several closely related meanings. A dramatic monologue (q.v.) is any speech of some duration addressed by a character to a second person.

What are the most overdone monologues? ›

Monologues
  • “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead,” by Tom Stoppard: “Lying in a box” monologue.
  • “Sexual Perversity in Chicago,” by David Mamet: “Girl in the flak suit” speech.
  • “subUrbia,” by Eric Bogosian: “Moving to New York City” speech.
  • “Fifth of July,” by Lanford Wilson.

How do you know if a monologue is good? ›

A monologue should show who you are, not add layers of dialects, character traits, a limp, or something outrageous to impress. If they can't tell you're acting, that's good acting.

Do you look at the camera when doing a monologue? ›

If it's from a film or TV script, you would only look into the lens if it was indicated. If your monologue is from a play but you are auditioning for film or television, adjust your approach.

What is a good example of monologue? ›

A monologue involves one character speaking to another. A better example of a monologue is Polonius' speech to his son, Laertes, before Laertes goes to France. Here, he gives advice for how Laertes should conduct himself overseas. "Yet here, Laertes!

What are the 3 types of dramatic? ›

There are four types of drama, they are comedy, tragedy, tragicomedy and melodrama. These genres originated in different times, but each of them has its own characteristics. However, all of them have their place in modern culture and should be appreciated. Read the article and freshen up your knowledge of drama!

Is a dramatic monologue a story? ›

A dramatic monologue is a long excerpt in a play, poem or story that reveals a character's thoughts and feelings.

What are the six basic parts of dramatic structure? ›

The 6 Aristotelean elements are plot, character, thought, diction, spectacle, and song. Below are the definitions I utilize to better understand the way in which each element helps me build a play.

What are the 10 features of drama? ›

Drama is created and shaped by the elements of drama which, for the Drama ATAR course, are listed as: role, character and relationships, situation, voice, movement, space and time, language and texts, symbol and metaphor, mood and atmosphere, audience and dramatic tension.

What are the 14 dramatic elements? ›

Role and character, relationships, situation, voice, movement, focus, tension, space, time, language, symbol, audience, mood and atmosphere.

What are the 4 P's in drama? ›

Here's a way to easily remember some fundamentals. These are what I call The four “P's”—process, patience, practice, and perseverance. Process.

What are the 7 drama strategies? ›

They can enhance performance skills such as character development and storytelling and be used across the curriculum to actively involve students in their own learning.
  • 3D Living Pictures. ...
  • Action Clip. ...
  • Conscience Alley. ...
  • Cross-Cutting. ...
  • Developing Freeze Frames. ...
  • Flashbacks and Flash Forwards. ...
  • Forum Theatre. ...
  • Freeze Frames.

What are the four basic drama skills? ›

4 Drama Techniques to Always Remember
  • Vocal Dynamics. Your lines are just words until you deliver them, but unless your voice is well-trained, they'll still fall flat or sound forced. ...
  • Body Language and Mannerisms. ...
  • Use and Awareness of Space. ...
  • Improvisational Techniques.
23 Sept 2014

How long is a 3 minute monologue? ›

Answer: At the normal speaking rate of 130 words per minute (wpm), a 3 minutes long speech will have about 390 words .

Is it OK to shorten a monologue? ›

Keep it short!

If a monologue you find is longer than one minute, you can edit it down yourself by cutting off either the beginning or end, or some of both. Cutting out parts of the middle is only OK if the monologue is from a very unknown/obscure work.

How many lines is a monologue? ›

Most monologues should be no longer than a minute and half, or about 20 to 30 lines, unless you've been directed otherwise. Less is almost always more.

What is the key to delivering a good monologue? ›

Show your personality. Try to show something that reflects you as a person, something that suits you. Ideally, you'd look for something in your accent, that reflects your context - that doesn't mean you shouldn't stretch yourself and your acting talents.

What is the fastest way to learn lines for a monologue? ›

Get Cast Today
  1. Read it aloud. Auditory linking is another helpful piece of the memorization puzzle. ...
  2. Break it up. Don't overwhelm yourself by trying to learn it all at once. ...
  3. Try using a mnemonic device. Write down the first letter of each word in each of your lines. ...
  4. Get visual.
15 Jun 2021

What is the best monologue ever? ›

Here are some of the best movie monologues.
  • Rudy - Fortune's Truth.
  • Training Day- "King Kong" ...
  • The Big Lebowski - "I'm the Dude" ...
  • It's A Wonderful Life - "Lasso the Moon" ...
  • Whiplash - "Break Up" ...
  • Star Wars Episode V - "I Am Your Father" ...
  • Queen & Slim- "What Do You Want?" ...
  • American Psycho - "Morning Routine" Movieclips. ...
24 May 2022

What are the 8 dramatic elements? ›

Actors manipulate dramatic elements to shape and enhance meaning. The dramatic elements for VCE Drama are climax, conflict, contrast, mood, rhythm, sound, space and tension. Click the arrows in these interactive flashcards to recall the definitions.

What is the focus of dramatic monologue? ›

dramatic monologue, a poem written in the form of a speech of an individual character; it compresses into a single vivid scene a narrative sense of the speaker's history and psychological insight into his character.

Who is famous for dramatic monologue? ›

T. S. Eliot, 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock'. Written in around 1910 while Eliot was still in his early twenties, this poem is one of the most famous modernist examples of the dramatic monologue.

What must a monologue include? ›

Monologues are supposed to reveal important details about a character or the plot—it's essential that you've developed the speaking character and a detailed plot for them to inhabit, even before you start writing. Monologues help inform the audience about the character's traits and past events.

Do dramatic monologues have to rhyme? ›

The rhyme scheme is not important in Dramatic Monologue.

Do monologues have to be in first person? ›

A monologue is:

Written in the first person. Spoken by one person to a listener.

What genre is a dramatic monologue? ›

Dramatic monologue is a type of poetry written in the form of a speech of an individual character.

What are the advantages of a dramatic monologue? ›

By its nature, the dramatic monologue tends to preclude self-pity or gut-wrenching confession, no matter how intimate the subject. Interestingly, the distance between the author and the speaker sometimes allows for a more personal revelation, since the writer does not have to claim the material as autobiographical.

What should you not do in a monologue? ›

Don't Talk to the Air

Also, unless asked to do so, avoid looking at casting directors while performing a monologue. Doing so can bring them out of the role of the observer and suddenly put them on the spot as if they're part of the scene. And it can make casting feel uncomfortable.

What should you not sing at an audition? ›

10 Songs NOT to audition with
  • #1: 'Tomorrow' from Annie. ...
  • #2: 'Where Is Love? ...
  • #3: 'On My Own' from Les Miserables. ...
  • #4: 'I Dreamed A Dream' from Les Miserables. ...
  • #5: 'Bring Him Home' from Les Miserables. ...
  • #6: 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow' from The Wizard Of Oz. ...
  • #7: Pretty much anything by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
12 Dec 2011

Can a male do a female monologue? ›

We have separated this page into male/female, but remember that all monologues can be performed by any gender.

How do you self tape a monologue? ›

2. Filming your self tape
  1. Select a script, or part of a script, that is no longer than 1 minute in length.
  2. Always film in landscape (not portrait).
  3. Face the camera but never look directly into the camera lens at any point.
  4. Be in a close up (head and shoulders) throughout the self tape.

How do you introduce a monologue? ›

Nailing the Monologue

For an audition, an introduction to the piece is the first part of the performance. Say your name, the name of the character, the name of the play, and the playwright's name. If you are performing two separate pieces, you will introduce them both at the same time.

How do you write a monologue in a screenplay? ›

  1. How do you write an interior monologue in a script? You write an inner monologue in a script by First writing your character's name followed by “(V.O).” Which stands for voice over. ...
  2. Formated as:
  3. “Characters name” Thoughts. ...
  4. Formatted as:
  5. “Characters name” ...
  6. Why You Wouldn't Use It.
  7. 1.) ...
  8. 2.)
5 Feb 2020

What are the 3Cs in drama? ›

The 3Cs are colour, camera and character. The 3Ss are sound, setting and story. On this page we have released a number of the resources we have used over the years while studying film in the classroom and at our film club. Feel free to use them in your setting.

What are 2 most common types of drama? ›

The two most recognized varieties of drama are tragedy and comedy. Generally speaking, tragedies end in catastrophe— often the death of the tragic character. Comedies are usu- ally lighthearted, with clever dialogue and amusing charac- ters who are involved in funny situations.

What are the 6 characterization skills in drama? ›

They are: plot, character, thought, diction, melody, and spectacle.

What is an example of dramatic monologue? ›

A poem in which an imagined speaker addresses a silent listener, usually not the reader. Examples include Robert Browning's “My Last Duchess,” T.S. Eliot's “The Love Song of J.

How long is a dramatic monologue supposed to be? ›

A monologue should be 60 to 90 seconds long unless you're directed otherwise.

How do you end a monologue? ›

Here are a few ways to end a monologue: Give your monologue a cohesive rounding. Link back to the beginning. Round up by explaining your points again. Use short sentences for dramatic effect.

What are the 12 elements of dramatic? ›

Role and character, relationships, situation, voice, movement, focus, tension, space, time, language, symbol, audience, mood and atmosphere.

What are the six elements of good dramatic writing? ›

The 6 Aristotelean elements are plot, character, thought, diction, spectacle, and song. Below are the definitions I utilize to better understand the way in which each element helps me build a play.

What are the parts of a monologue? ›

Now is the time to start writing the monologue. A monologue has three distinct parts: Beginning, middle, and end.

How do you write a dramatic script? ›

Aristotle's 6 Elements of Drama
  1. Plot: the storyline, and what happens during the film. ...
  2. Theme: the overall meaning of the film. ...
  3. Characters: the players who move the plot forward. ...
  4. Dialogue: the words the characters speak in the film. ...
  5. Song: traditionally, the rhythm of the actors' voices as they deliver their lines.
9 Sept 2021

What are the 3 main elements that create drama? ›

elements of drama
  • atmosphere: the interaction between the audience and the mood of a drama performance.
  • character: a person or individual in the drama that may have defined personal qualities and/or histories. ...
  • dramatic tension: drives the drama and keeps an audience interested.

What are five 5 characteristics of drama plays? ›

These five segments are introduction or exposition, 'rising action, climax, falling action,' and conclusion or denouement.

What are the 6 C's in drama? ›

Pupils learn the 6 'Cs' of Drama: Communication, Courage, Consideration, Commitment, Co-operation and Concentration – these skills are the foundation to success in Drama and Theatre.

What is the most important component of dramatic script? ›

Plot. As discussed in the Creative Nonfiction and Fiction chapters, plot is the most important element in a narrative. Similarly, it comprises arguably the most important element of a play. Plot is the events in the play and the order in which the events are told.

How do you prepare a monologue? ›

Tips for Performing Your Best Monologue
  1. Avoid fidgeting beforehand. ...
  2. Don't stare down the panel - pick a specific point for delivery! ...
  3. Pick from a play. ...
  4. Introduce or look for levels. ...
  5. Don't go over time. ...
  6. Try to find something unique. ...
  7. Do your research. ...
  8. Show your personality.

What makes the perfect monologue? ›

A great monologue will capture the audience's attention and imagination with length and tone but cut short just at the right time. Put simply, if a monologue goes on too long the audience will get bored.

What are the 4 things that a script must have? ›

There are only four elements you can use to tell a screen story: images, action, sound effects, and dialogue.

What is the key to dramatic writing? ›

First of all, the principle of dramatic writing is that you get into a scene as late as possible and get out of the scene as early as possible. In addition, every scene should “belong” to one character. This means that the scene is written from the perspective of this particular character.

What makes a successful drama script? ›

There needs to be an immediate tangible conflict, a personal aka internal conflict, an inter-personal conflict AND an overarching conflict. And your story should bring all of these together in interesting and commercial ways. If you only have ONE of these, you don't have a good dramatic screenplay.

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