Talk the Talk | Print |
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Written by Reviewed by Amanda Lynn Porter   

Talk the Talk is a sensational 218-page resource for educators looking to help their students with scriptwriting or to improve their own dialogue-writing skills. Including a broad range of exercises with varying difficulty, author Penny Penniston proves her expertise in scriptwriting with examples and in-depth analyses of topics like creating an original voice, crafting the scene, and converting the scene into a satisfactory script.

Unlike other dialogue books I’ve seen, Talk the Talk incorporates exercises that are exceptionally clear and help develop fundamental dialogue-writing skills like capturing voice and focusing the scene. My favorite is found in Lesson Fifteen: Focusing the Scene. The solo exercise asks you to go to a public place and find two people engaged in a conversation. The instructions ask you to imagine what they’re describing and write the dialogue between them. With brief but fun sets that allow for growth in creativity and originality, Talk the Talk is a must-have book.

Others have enjoyed the almost step-by-step guide with which Penniston narrarates. How can you create a drama-filled dialogue as opposed to one that seems dull and nothing out of the ordinary?

As Penniston states in the introduction, “Great moments of dialogue are the great moments of film and theater.” With this workshop, you’ll learn to create your own insightful, clever dialogues that will give your writing a competitive edge. What are you waiting for?

Table Of Contents:

The Voice: How People Talk
Lesson One: Capturing the Voice
Lesson Two: Imitating the Voice
Lesson Three: Creating an Original Voice
Lesson Four: Status
Lesson Five: Give and Take
Lesson Six: Building Dialogue
Lesson Seven: Dialogue on Shifting Sands
Lesson Eight: Strengths and Weaknesses
Lesson Nine: Friends and Foes
Lesson Ten: Tools
The Scene: Dialogue with Directors
Lesson Eleven: Setting the Scene
Lesson Twelve: Populating the Scene
Lesson Thirteen: Crafting the Line
Lesson Fourteen: From Line to Line
Lesson Fifteen: Focusing the Scene
Lesson Sixteen: Keeping Everyone in the Scene
Lesson Seventeen: Maneuvering Through the Scene
Lesson Eighteen: Ending the Scene
Lesson Nineteen: Rewriting the Scene
Lesson Twenty: Scene to Script
Put this Book Down: Conclusion

• Paperback: 250 pages
• Publisher: Michael Wiese Productions (March 1, 2010)
• Language: English
• ISBN-10: 193290770X
• ISBN-13: 978-1932907704
• Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches

Penny Penniston is a Chicago-area playwright and screenwriter. Her newest play, Spin, will have its world premiere with Chicago’s Theater Wit during the 2009-2010 season. Previous stage plays include now then again and The Roaring Girl. Now then again had its world premiere in Chicago at the Bailiwick Repertory Theater on February 17, 2000. The show ran for seventeen weeks, received wide critical acclaim, and was awarded Chicago’s Joseph Jefferson Citation for “Best New Work.” In 2002, now then again was published by Broadway Play Publishing.

Penniston coauthored The Roaring Girl with her husband, director Jeremy Wechsler. This adaptation of the 1611 comedy by Thomas Middleton and Thomas Dekker had its world premiere in Chicago with Shakespear’s Motley Crew. It received a Joseph Jefferson nomination for “Best Adaptation.”

Penniston’s screenplays include Love is Brilliant (an adaptation of her stage play, now then again), Going Out of the Box, and Gay Pride & Prejudice. Love is Brilliant received the Sloan Award at the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival.
Penniston has written short plays for Chicago’s Collaboraction Theater Company and Shakespeare’s Motley Crew. From 2002-2007, she taught playwriting as an adunct professor in the Theater department of Northwestern University. She has also guest lectured at DePaul University.

For more information on Penniston’s work, see her website

Associate Editor, Amanda Lynn Porter has been involved in many aspects of video/film production. Starting a video production class at her middle school in eighth grade, Amanda has always enjoyed every aspect of videography. After producing many in-school productions, including a daily newscast, Amanda branched out and began directing and producing commercials and short films for law firms, intermediate school districts, and various associations throughout Michigan. 


Most recently, Amanda worked for Michael Moore on his latest documentary: Capitalism: A Love Story. You can read her new column, Amanda's Book Nook each month in School Video News.