Friday, November 04, 2005

What's That You Sayin'?

A dialogue list is part of your delivery to the distributor. What a Dialogue list does is let everyone know who's saying what onscreen. It's extremely important for any international sales of the film as they use the DL to generate subtitles. They also use it to generate subs for the domestic DVD release (usually spanish subs, but maybe french as well as they want sales in Quebec).

Now you can pay around $500 to have a professionally done DL (with Timecodes and very clean formatting, etc...) or you CAN do it yourself.

Here's how:

1. Take the script for the movie and remove all unnecessary actions in it leaving just the scene sluglines and the dialogue. If there's a confusing action sequence going on you may want to keep a few action lines in there for reference.

2. Take a timecoded window-burn-in copy of the film on VHS, along with a copy of this new dialogue list and watch the film.

A. For every NEW SCENE, mark the timecode on your script. IT MUST BE EXACT.
B. Change the dialogue on the DL to MATCH EXACTLY what each character is saying. AGAIN, IT MUST BE ACCURATE.
3. After you do this, go through the DL again and make sure this all matches up with your final cut of the movie.
4. Be aware that you must do this AFTER you have your ratings certificate from the MPAA. You do not want to this, get a bad rating which means re-editing your picture, and then have to go back and re-do the dialogue list with all new timecodes and dialogue.
5. If your film uses a lot of slang that is very specific (i.e. Bee-otch instead of Bitch, drug slang, or specific racial or cultural slang), you may want to prepare a second dialogue list with exact english language in place. It will help the translators choose the appropriate words to convey the meaning you intend if not the specific words.

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