Real adult: "Well, I guess... I don't know. I mean I could get the... how big is this? It comes with cream, right? I had some of this at this place in Sarasota a couple years ago, it was great but so rich... I don't want to get any fatter. Not that I'm fat, it's just that when you're my age -- okay, so I'm old and fat. To hell with it. I'll have one of those. And a coffee. You know what, though? Decaf."
Real kid: "I want pie."
In screenplays, it can be helpful to express decision points in your story -- moments when somebody needs to make a choice -- more like the way a kid thinks than an adult thinks. It's a lot easier for audiences to follow what's going on. That's why George W. Bush was so effective at leading the nation into disasters. "I'm the decider," he would say. "You're either for us or against us." He spoke like a child, and his decisions were framed in that way.
Contrast this with Barack Obama, who requires half an hour in order to say "we're supporting the fight for freedom in Libya." Whether or not one agrees with his policies, nobody can accuse Obama of talking like a kid.
But talking like a kid works. It's straightforward and clear. So for fictional purposes, when somebody needs to say "this, not that," or "I'm becoming a nun," or whatever, consider how a kid would say it.
I don't mean adult characters should actually talk like children, of course. Not just like that. Not child diction. But Forrest Gump did pretty well by it. I just mean keep it simple so the audience knows what's going on. Quentin Tarantino writes those long, naturalistic speeches -- but they're interstitial, when people are driving or sitting around prior to doing something or after they've made a decision.
When it's time for a decision, it can be helpful to say it like a kid would: straight out.
3 weeks ago