What is Overlapping Dialogue in Film

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What is Overlapping Dialogue in Film?

In a typical conversation between friends, family or colleagues it’s quite common for overlapping dialogue to occur. Overlapping dialogue is also common in filmmaking. But what is overlapping dialogue in film? And how does one use it ?

Think about any conversation that you’ve recently had. And if it was informal, it almost certainly includes some overlapping dialogue. Overlapping dialogue is just like it sounds. It is dialogue such as speaking which overlaps with another dialogue.

This occurs in just about every conversation that takes place in a day-to-day, informal environment. Just think about a conversation you’ve recently had with your best friend, you start talking, they chime in, you continue talking and they continue to overlap with their various input.

It’s a passionate conversation that is full of this back and forth, overlapping structure and it’s incredibly common for natural speech.

What is Overlapping Dialogue in Film?

If overlapping dialogue in an everyday conversation that takes place consists of simply talking over another person, what is overlapping dialogue in film? It’s just like it sounds!

Overlapping dialogue in film represents the speaking between two or more people in a scene in which their dialogue overlaps.

Consider This

For example, one character is speaking and as they are talking, another character also begins to speak. This could be as simple as a character explaining what they did last week.

And another character chiming in to say “Me too” during the conversation or it could be complex, and may include several characters all talking over each other like a group of passionate Italians at a dinner table (or any family really!).

For Example

Overlapping dialogue in film occurs when the dialogue more frequently occurs when the dialogue from one scene overlaps into another scene. For example, if a comment made by a particular character elicits a reaction.

Which you can best deliver through a reaction shot. Overlapping dialogue is used to create the “cause-effect” relationships between scenes that Directors frequently used to deliver powerful emotional connections that hit the audience deep down.

Formatting Overlapping Dialogue in Film Scripts

Now that you know what an overlapping dialogue is, you’re probably wondering how overlapping dialogue is written in the script. Since most scripts have a “character name” followed by “Character dialogue” format.

For a new screenwriter to determine how to write a script that includes overlapping dialogue in the film can be challenging. So what should you do?

Formatting overlapping dialogue in film scripts that are being written can be established in a couple of ways. Most script writing software will include a way to create overlapping dialogue or “dual dialogue.”

If you’re not sure how to format overlapping dialogue in the script that you’re writing, consider our step by step guide to formatting overlapping dialogue.

In Summation

What is overlapping dialogue in film? It’s a lot like a typical conversation in which two or more actors or characters in a film are communicating in a way in which one character talks over another.

You can achieve this dialogue formatting in a variety of ways depending on your scriptwriting software. Or, if you’re writing by hand, you may choose a side-by-side format for the easiest to read option.