Posted by: steveonfilm | June 13, 2011

Cliche Alert

This “tip” comes courtesy of Roger Ebert.

I will never use this line of dialog in my screenplays…

This is along the same lines of “let’s get out of here.”




  1. My pet peeve is “I need you to…”, usually followed by “…tell me what’s wrong,” or, “…talk to me.”

    Nobody says that. Nobody. They may say, “Tell what’s wrong,” or, “Just talk to me, dammit!” but the first “I need you to” part ONLY exists in bad scripts. It’s like ‘fake’ need. It’s a way for the writer to cheat, and have some exposition parlayed to audience, but under the guise of a character need.

    And I see it in movies or on tv (especially tv) at least once a week. I interned at a soap opera several years ago, and it was a standard bit of dialogue found in almost every episode.

    • Yeah… I’ve caught myself using the “I need you to…” a few times. I read over my dialog out loud as I tinker at drafts, and that one ALWAYS stands out when I say it. But you’re right, it pops up all the time, typically when a man is talking to some frantic woman.

      I’m willing to cut soaps some slack. The volume of material they have to write makes short cuts a necessity. They don’t have the time to massage all of it into greatness. Then again, maybe it’s why soaps are dying out.

      • I’ve heard “I need you to…” a lot in real life, but only by upper-level corporate douchetards who all read the same book on management and all use the same tiring, affected assertive voice.

        • Uh… hey, that’s me!

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