Dual-Column Dialogue


Dual-Column Dialogue (or Dual-Dialogue) is used to indicate two characters speaking simultaneously.


Dual-Dialogue looks like this:

             MIKE                             BETH
   I'm singing in the rain...       Stop it please, you're going
   Just singing in the rain...      to make me crazy with your
   What a glorious feeling...       damn singing!
   I'm happy again.
        (humming, now)                        VINNIE (O.S.)
   Hmm-hmmmm-hmm-hmm-hmm-hm...      Could you shut the hell up!
   Hmm-hmmmm-hmm-hmm-hmm-hm...      Some of us are trying not to
   Hmmm-hmmm-hmmmm-hmm-hmm-hmm      vomit here. 

The essence of this is simple. Just two columns with normal Character Name, Parenthetical, Extension and Dialogue pieces in them. Remember, the idea here is when you have two (or more) characters speaking at the same time, saying different things. If you have more than one character speaking over another, just type it like the above. Which character is in which column is up to you. If example above, it makes more sense to have the singing in the left column since the people in the right column are reacting to it (the reader will see the singing first, and then read the reactions... you probably did that yourself, yes?). There will be situations where this is reversed based on the effect you're trying to create.

If you have a character talking and, in the middle of his dialogue, you want someone else to start chatting away, just split up the first character's dialogue like this:

               Like I was saying to Marty,
               Marty, I said, what's a guy 
               like you doing in a retirement
               community like this?
               ZELDA                        IRIS
          (continuing)              Oh, that Marty, what a 
     And Marty, he says, Zelda,     catch he is. If I still
     Marty says, I don't get        had the you know what...
     it myself.                     I'd you know what.


Dual-Dialogue margins are a bit narrower than standard Dialogue margins. For the first column, the Character Name starts 2 3/4" from the left, Parenthetical margins are 2 1/4" from the left and 4.5" from the right, Dialogue margins are 2" from the left and 4" from the right. For the second column, the Character Name starts 5 3/4" from the left, Parenthetical margins are 5 1/4" from the left and 1 1/4 from the right, and Dialogue margins are 5" from the left and 1" from the right. There is one blank line before the first Character Name in Dual-Dialogue (just like a regular Character Name).

With Scriptware

Scriptware is the only scriptwriting word processor that lets you type dual-dialogue properly!

To create a normal Character Name, you press <Tab> when the cursor is in a blank Action element. To create the first Character Name for Dual-Dialogue, you just press <Ctrl-Tab>. Then type in the Character Name. From here it's just like a normal Dialogue -- press <Tab> to create an Extension, press <Enter> to move down to the first column Dialogue, press <Tab> to create a Parenthetical.

When you're ready to go to the second column's Character Name, just press <Ctrl-Tab> again. That simple.

To get out of Dual-Dialogue, create an Action element by clicking on the Action button on the Button Bar, pressing <Alt-A>, or create a Scene Heading by pressing <Shift-Enter> or a Shot by pressing <Alt-Enter>.