Just Get ‘Em Talking

The Friends of Eddie Coyle - Wikipedia

“I’m not doing dialogue because I like doing dialogue. The characters are telling you the story. I’m not telling you the story, they’re going to do it. If I do it right, you will get the whole story.” -George V. Higgins

Some of the best writing advice I’ve heard, especially for playwrights, is this…know your characters inside and out, put them in a room and get them talking to each other. Trust that they’ll tell you where the story needs to go.

If you haven’t seen it, watch the fantastic 70’s crime film, The Friends Of Eddie Coyle (based on the George V. Higgins novel) for a clinic on this writing advice. Everything about the movie bleeds authenticity including the dialogue. Kent Jones writes in his terrific essay, “What is remarkable about the film is the extreme degree to which Yates and the producer and writer, Paul Monash, adhere to Higgins’s aesthetic, banking on the contention that if you render the action among the characters as faithfully as possible, their entire moral universe will be revealed.”

Also, the acting is first rate. Robert Mitchum, one of the most underrated actors of all time, headlines a knockout ensemble. Watch this clip. And this one. So good!

2 thoughts on “Just Get ‘Em Talking

    1. Thanks Ingrid. Tell Robert he has great taste! Would love to see him get the rights one day and do it…You’ll enjoy. One of Tarantino’s faves as well. You’ll see where he got the title to his film “Jackie Brown” when you watch. 🙂


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