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Location of Errors through Trial Balance

Whenever a trial balance disagrees the following steps can be taken to discover the errors:

(1) Divide the difference by two and find out if some figure equal to that (half the difference) appears in the trial balance. It is possible that such item might have been recorded on the wrong side of mal balance, causing double the difference.

(2) If the mistake is not located, the difference should be divided by 9 and if difference is evenly divisible by 9 the error be due to transportation of figures, e.g. Rs. 590 wrongly recorded as 950, the difference is (950-590) 360 and it is evenly divisible by 9.

(3) The next step is to recheck the debit and credit totals of trial balance to satisfy that trial balance has been cast correctly.

(4) If mistake remains undetected, make sure that balances or totals of all the ledger accounts have been correctly shown in the trial balance. Special care should be taken to ensure that cash or bank balances have been duly incorporated in the mal balance.

(5) The next step should be to recheck that all the closing balances from preceding year’s balance sheet were correctly carried forward and recorded in respective accounts in the ledger.

(6) Further the totaling and balancing of the ledger accounts should be redone so as to be sure that there is no mistake on that account.

(7) Check the totals of schedule of debtors and creditors and find out that the balances have been included in the list.

(8) If difference is round sum, it is advisable to check casting and carry forwards. But if the difference is odd sum the balancing should be checked minutely.

(9) Check all the figures badly written.

(10) Even then if error is not located, all the accounts should be checked thoroughly as follows:

(11) Journal will have to be checked to ascertain that total debits and credits of each entry agree.

(12) Total of subsidiary books i.e. sales book, purchases book to be checked to find that correct posting of the respective accounts has been done.

(13) Checking should be done to ensure that discount column; total of cash book have been correctly posted and entered in trial balance.

(14) If all these efforts fail to locate the errors a full rechecking of additions, posting and balancing will have to be done and it would be advisable that the work of re-checking is done by a staff different from those who had done the initial checking.

What Are Brands in a Used Vehicle Information Package (UVIP) for?

Unlike most countries, car plates in Ontario are associated with the car’s owner, not with the car itself. Instead, cars are identified through their serial number, or what’s more technically called its VIN, or the Vehicle Identification Number. The VIN, in turn, is associated with a car’s UVIP, or the Used Vehicle Information Package, which chronicles the history and other pertinent details of the car in question.

The UVIP will serve as primary reference when it comes to verifying that a car is still in good shape.

The document contains information about the car’s plate number, VIN, year and make, model, original colour, its body type, and other miscellaneous information. These bits of information are important in identifying a motor vehicle,. However, the real value of the UVIP is in the “auxiliary” information that it contains.

This “auxiliary” information includes the vehicle’s registration history in Ontario, its brand, odometer readings, lien information, the value of the vehicle’s model and year, sales tax obligations, the bill of sale and some bit of advice regarding safety inspections. These are what a potential used car buyer must carefully read before considering a particular vehicle for purchase. In this paper, we will give special attention to the most important piece of information: The Brand.

What’s the Brand?

The brand of the car should be the first thing that a potential buyer must check. By saying “brand”, we refer to a special designation that is given to a particular vehicle by the Ministry of Transportation. This term must not be confused with “make and model”, which refers to the car’s manufacturer and the car’s design.

There are four kinds of brands in Ontario: Irreparable, Salvage, Rebuilt, and None.

Irreparable cars are vehicles that were totaled, and are useful only for spare parts. It is illegal to drive such a car in Ontario. Salvage cars are like Irreparable cars, except that they may be sent to a mechanic so that they can be fixed and driven on Ontarian roads again, subject to the approval of the Ministry of Transportation. Take note, however, that Salvage cars will be classified as Rebuilt upon passing inspection. Thus, Salvage cars cannot be driven, unless reclassified to the said category.

Ideally, one must ensure that the used car for sale has “None” as its brand in the UVIP. More often than not, the car has never been in a collision if given this kind of brand. While there are many other things to check in order to ensure that the car you’re buying will be worth it, knowing that a car has no negative brand helps a lot in trimming down the list of candidates.

What’s the Catch?

However, “None” does not exactly mean that a car never had an accident in the past, as there are many grey areas behind this classification. According to Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation, these complicating factors include a) the car might have had an accident OUTSIDE of Ontario, b) the car might have been rebuilt prior to the 31st of March 2003, c) the damaged incurred is not serious enough to classify it into the other categories.

If you are planning to purchase a car that was manufactured prior to 2003, a more comprehensive inspection may be needed. This is because the UVIP is practically useless in as far as its brand information on the car. This is because the law that established the branding system was still in the making during that time.

Do not rely to heavily on brand information in gauging the fitness of a motor vehicle. As was stated, the brand refers only to the vehicle’s history on Ontario roads. Thus, due to jurisdictional limitations, it does not cover the car’s affair in foreign lands – which includes neighboring provinces.

Which Age Group Causes the Most Car Accidents?

According to statistics collected over the last decade, two age groups cause the most car accidents: teen drivers and the elderly. There are a number of reasons for these statistics, but the reality is that car accidents are a part of everyday life, and that even though someone might be a member of these demographic groups it does not automatically mean that they are going to be in a crash.

Teen drivers

Driving represents a lot of things to teens. Freedom, empowerment for the first time in their lives and status as drivers makes putting teens behind the wheel a dangerous prospect. Teen drivers cause car accidents because they are full of youthful exuberance, and they lack the experience of more seasoned drivers, and they are prone to taking risks because they feel they are invincible.

Furthermore, teen drivers also drive cars that are not the safest on the road, such as smaller vehicles that have more blind spots, or do not have the safety and accident avoidance features that many other cars have. Also, teens engage in riskier behaviors, such as racing, drinking and driving, and overloading their cars with too many people, all of which can contribute to causing an accident.

Unfortunately, the combination of inexperience and propensity for risk taking means that teen drivers are among the most dangerous, and the statistics bear this out. That’s why insurance companies generally charge more for the policies of teen drivers, because the companies understand the risks of teens on the road and adjust their premiums accordingly.

Elderly drivers

On the flip side of the accident-causing spectrum, elderly drivers are also an age group that causes the many car accidents. Though they may have decades of driving experience, safe cars and a risk-avoidance mentality, these very factors can actually contribute to causing accidents. Throw in diminished reaction times, failing vision and hearing, and a sense of entitlement and elderly drivers can be just as dangerous as the newly-minted 16 year old out on the road for the first time.

As the body ages, the mind and reflexes slow down. Hand-eye coordination decreases significantly, and it is a lot harder for older people to respond rapidly to conditions on the road or other drivers in dangerous situations. Then accidents occur.

Older drivers tend to think of themselves as perfectly safe drivers, obeying the rules of the road while the world around them takes dangerous risks. While this is partially true, elderly drivers make can make judgment errors about the flow of traffic and distances between vehicles much easier than younger drivers. If this happens and there is no way to fix this incorrect perception of reality, older drivers can make assumptions that cause accidents.

Ultimately, it is the responsibility of everyone on the road to be as safe a driver as they possibly can. Young drivers need to learn that they are not invincible, and older drivers need to realize that their skills and perception have likely decreased over time, and need to make adjustments to accommodate.

Auto Insurance at the Pump

Paying for Auto Insurance at the pump:

I have often wondered how Insurance companies make so much money even though they pay out millions in claims. Could it be that the premiums you pay are more than you need to pay? Do you ever feel like you are just paying too much for your Auto Insurance?

Your automobile insurance is divided in three major coverages. Liability coverage, the second is your Collision coverage and third is your Comprehensive otherwise known as Fire and Theft.

Your Coverages:

Let me explain the coverages to you and then you can decide if you are paying too much for your insurance. Your Liability coverage which is required by law pays the other people in the other car or cars if you got into an accident and found to be at fault. The Collision coverage will pay for the damages done to your car whether you are at fault or not.

In essence you are saying to the Insurance Company,” Mr. Insurance Company I am going to pay you every month to fix my car in case it gets damaged even if I am at fault”. You both will agree on terms and sign a contract.

Comprehensive coverage (Fire and Theft) will cover your car for anything other than a collision like if it was stolen, caught fire, vandalized etc. There are other coverages in between these that pay for medical payments, loss of income etc.

For now we will just talk about these three coverages in a broad sense and take a look at how much the Insurance Companies remain capitalized in order to pay its claims.

Why Insurance?

Take it from me you don’t want to be driving without insurance and you want to be sure that the other drivers are also insured, why? Because if you are hit by another vehicle and you suffer any kind of bodily injury and have to be hospitalized or lost income by not being able to work, you want to have some peace of mind knowing that there is money coming from somewhere to pay your bills as well as for your everyday living expense.

Let’s face it, this is not always going to be the case because of how the insurance system is set up, follow me here now. By law you must carry Liability Insurance on your vehicle to be on the road legally. Remember this is the coverage that will pay for hitting another vehicle.

Here is the fact though, you can only hit another vehicle if your vehicle is moving and unless being pushed it will only move if being driven. You and I know that we can’t drive this vehicle unless fuel in the tank.

So if you park your car in your garage, lock the door and went away on a two week vacation or a long awaited cruise for a month, why should you pay the liability insurance when the car is not being driven? Is there something wrong with that? Yet removing the coverage and reinstating it when you are back from vacation you are charged a penalty for not being insured. You could even have your license suspended.

Let’s say you bought a new car and financed it through the bank, the bank technically owns the car until you have completely paid the loan and so they can and usually insist that you carry Collision coverage in case it was damaged in an accident or worst if accident was so bad it was a total loss.

Pay at the Pump.

Though I agree with that remember you can’t have a collision if your car is not moving and it can only move if there is fuel in the tank, do you agree? So here is my theory, if the use of either of these coverages (Liability and Collision) is impossible without movement and movement depends on fuel shouldn’t your payment be tied to fuel? What better way to do so than to include the charge in the price at the pump. By doing so you solve the problem and possibility of having uninsured drivers on the road.

If your fuel runs out then your vehicle will stop and you can’t hit anything with it since it’s not moving. Refuel it and you are instantly reinsured.

Insurance companies usually charge you according to the use of your vehicle, like if you drive your car to work or just using it for leisure. The farther you drive the more you pay within a certain mileage limit. An example is if you drive less than ten miles to work you pay less than if you drive over 10 miles. So here the insurance company is saying that the longer you keep your car moving the more likely you will get into an accident.

So you drive 50 miles one way to work, you need to burn more fuel than if you drive 7 miles. Why not include your premium into your fuel charge? Seems like a fair way to pay for insurance.

Park your car park your Insurance:

You then park your car in your company’s’ parking lot for 8 hrs. You go upstairs into your office and do a full day’s work. Here your car is not moving for 8 hrs. and therefore won’t hit anything or anyone yet you are paying the insurance company. When your car is in the repair shop, the parts are on back order and for the next three days you are renting a car. You purchase fuel for the rental and also might even have to purchase insurance on that car. Here you are now paying twice. The list goes on and on but when you are as big as the Insurance Companies you can make the rules in your favor. Or is it just one of the ways your Insurance company can make good on their promise to you.?

Though all this makes a good argument to tie fuel and insurance together the one most important missing piece is your agent. Here is where you will get professional advise on how best to protect your assets.

I like the saying “Insurance is like a parachute”. You might complain about paying for it but glad you did whenever you need it. Take my advise and never go without Insurance.

Five Most Commonly Used Metals

As much as people love to call it a digital age, the fact is that we still live in the metal age. Despite the invention and over-usage of plastic in most industrial applications, metals still rule manufacturing industries. The whole process of transforming ores into smooth shiny surfaces of useful products can be quite expensive and time consuming. Yet, the quality and durability is unsurpassed by anything else. There are many companies which offer services such as contract slitting, shearing, stamping and OEM slitting.

The usage of metals is not just limited to one industry or area of application, in fact they are used in variety of areas including both domestic and industrial. Let us take a look at five of the most commonly used metals and their properties.

Iron:

Iron is the most commonly used metal in the world, and probably one the most abundant in the earth’s crust. It is also one of the metals found abundantly in the human body. Therefore, it also has medicinal uses as well. One main reason behind its wide industrial use is its usage in the making of steel, which is one of the strongest and stainless materials. The iron is well known for its even-heating property.

Aluminum:

The most abundant element in the earth’s crust is also one of the most commonly used in the world. One particular reason behind this is the metal’s low density and corrosion resistivity. Its uses vary from every day household usage, such as tin cans and aluminum foils, to heavy industrial and manufacturing applications, such as automobiles and aircraft industry. It is also used in solid rocket fuel and thermite.

Copper:

Being known as one of the earliest metals discovered by man, copper still is among one of the widely used metals in the word. It was also one of the earliest metals to be used for making tools and even coinage. This is because it is ductile and easy to work with. Copper is mostly used in the form of alloys because it is too soft to be used in its pure form. It is a good conductor of heat and electricity. Therefore, it is mostly used in wirings and piping.

Titanium:

Already known as the space age metal, titanium is expected to replace most of the metals used around the industries today. However, its expensive and difficult mining process is keeping it from being used so commonly as Aluminum or steel. Titanium is found to be stronger, durable and corrosion resistive in comparison to steel. It has the highest strength to weight ratio of all the metals. All these properties, along with its light weight, make it an ideal metal for spacecrafts and military jets. Typically, it is used in making highly water -resistant diving watches.

Zinc:

Unlike other commonly used metals, zinc is hard and brittle. It is anti corrosive, and therefore it is primarily used in galvanization, for example coating of iron and steel. It is also used in batteries along with lead.

Reality Check – Reality Vs Perception

Our world is filled with illusions and deceptions. As our mind tries so hard to grasp and categorize billions of inputs, it regularly causes us to see things that simply are not there. Visually, optical illusions are fun and exciting to view, but what happens when the same trickery is applied to more sensitive areas of our minds?

Ask a 5 year old about how they interpret something they just saw. Have them go into details about why the scene happened as it did. They can very inventively tell you the root cause, what happened in the past to make the scene possible, and what will happen in the future because of the situation. We call it imagination. This is not a bad thing, but as adults – our mind still works the exact same way. It creates scenarios so the information makes sense. It happens so fast that we don’t remember using our ‘imagination’ to create something simple into something complex – but we still do it, and often time we make a new filter in the process and almost always alter reality.

Our perceptions of money, love, life, work, friends, society, even what is right and wrong – are all altered by illusions that we have. Racism, religions, and politics have multiple illusions attached to them that make them volatile subject matters ending in death almost daily – all over illusions like the one above.

Illusions break down communication, destroys friendships, cause war and despair. Every single person that is or ever was in this world has been adversely affected by the illusions we hold that cloud the truths. Your last fight with your loved one wasn’t about money or who left the toilet seat up, it was caused by an illusion that was formed before the fight even started. You catch yourself doing things that you don’t understand. You look at a friend and question their motives because what they are doing isn’t right or sane from the view of their stated goals. Every day you see that reality and your perceptions don’t quite match up, because your mind lies to you.

The normal person has thousands of filters (illusions) the information passes before being stored or interpreted by the brain. Each filter alters the reality of what is being said, seen, heard, and done. While necessary, these same filters, if left unattended, can cause serious harm to our goals and our lives. Luckily, we can monitor these filters to a large degree and change them as needed. Perception is NOT reality. Reality is truth and perception is how our minds interpret that truth. For most of us, our minds are pretty poor interpreters of true reality.

Example: You leave a busy store and walk to your car. Just as you are about to open the door, or sometimes after you sit down, you discover that this isn’t your car. Why did we do this? Our brain was on automatic mode – we trust it so much, we often allow our brains to be on automatic. It saw the car and it fit the brains definition of OUR car, so it must be ours. No questions asked, it just jumped to the conclusion. The filter in place said it was this color, this shape, and this size. Reality is – not our car. Perception was – it fits the filters so it must be ours. Your brain makes millions of little decisions every day, the filters allow the brain to make faster and faster decisions – sometimes these decisions are very wrong. Finding the wrong car might be comical, but what happens when your brain makes a fast and wrong decision about something important, like what your spouse is really trying to say to you (I swear, all I heard was blah blah too much football blah blah – I didn’t hear “I really want to go out tonight” or “I really need to vent”) or what goal of ours should be priority.

Filters affect what we hear, how we speak, what we do, how we see the world. On automatic mode or in full control mode – our brains interpret everything through dozens to thousands of filters. By becoming aware of these filters and how to use them properly, we can be more productive and have better results in our lives.

Automotive Restoration: A Frame-Off Body Repair of a 1960 Ferrari

This automotive restoration project began in June 2010, with the client’s sights set on showing it at Pebble Beach. This 1960 Ferrari 250 GT Pininfaria Cabriolet (PF Cab) had been in storage for 30 years in Arizona before being purchased by the current owner. Ferraris during this time were hand built by Italian coach makers and the engines were also hand-built by Ferrari. The 250 GT series was built for the customer that wanted a street legal car that he could also take to the race track. Of course not everyone raced their Ferraris, some customers just wanted the awesome power and beautiful styling of the 250 GT. Pininfarina is still operating and still makes concept and prototype cars for major companies around the globe.

After the Ferrari 250 GT PF Cab was disassembled and media blasted, I set about repairing and reconstructing the body to its original factory state.

This client was particularly concerned about getting the rebuild perfectly symmetrical. I had an idea, born from my experience working in the prototype industry: to build a box with a measuring system to aid the build of the vehicle. The photos below are a brief taste of posts to follow.

The first part of this post covers a measuring device we designed and built specially for this Ferrari PF Cab and the second part explains how it was used to rebuild the tail light area.

The objective of the measuring box is to figure out if a car body was built square to the chassis and is symmetrical from side to side. Before delving into measuring the body, remember that this was a Ferrari hand built body from the 1960′s, so tight tolerances are not expected. The idea is that the Ferrari PF Cab body and chassis sit on a center line inside a 3-dimensional steel framed box. The perimeter of the box acts as a measuring datum so that measurements from the box to the Ferrari PF Cab can be taken on the left and right hand sides and then compared to check symmetry.

The 3-dimensional box is divided into 3 planes representing length, depth, and height. On each axis is 1/2″ machined holes spaced 200mm apart, these holes are locations for the measuring stations. A line runs down the center of the box and the center of the chassis is aligned with a custom stand to the body. The center line only runs length ways, as the body is only symmetrical in one direction. The body is divided into a grid, with the aid of a laser, and numbered to aid recording.

These were the findings of major significance for this Ferrari PF Cab:

1. the front right-hand headlight housing is 10mm further forward than the left-hand headlight

2. the body style line is 6mm higher on the right-hand side than the left-hand

3. the complete rear end of the car is kicked over to the right hand side 50mm from the rear of the doors to the back of the Ferrari. Not from accident/damage, just how the car was built.

4. the left-hand rear tail light housing peak leans inwards 8mm

After discussing the above findings with the client, the first issues to address was the left-hand tail light problem. Now we will show the step by step rebuild and fabrication of the light housing. Why rebuild this area? On first sight the sheet metal housing clearly looked as though the top was angled inwards and second, the housing was too big for the light bezel, which formed the appearance of a step. To be correct in appearance, the surface of the bezel should be level with the surface of the paint. As part of the ‘measuring box’ process, we recorded results showing the top of the housing was 5mm to the right of center. To fix these two problems it was most practical and cost efficient to make a completely new housing and then graft it into the fender.

Steps:

1. Slice away the original taillight housing from the car body.

2. Make a pattern off the original and cut a fresh piece of sheet metal to match.

3. Shape the new piece, using the old piece and the actual tail light until it fits perfectly.

4. TIG weld the new sections together.

5. Offer it up the car body, again adjusting until it fits perfectly. Cleco into place.

6. Check bottom, top, and sides against the measuring box for perfect squareness and symmetry.

7. TIG weld the new housing onto the Ferrari body.

8. Metal finish and then you are ready for paint!

Check my website for step-by-step photos of the measuring box and this process.

How to Build a Custom Motorcycle – 5 Must Do’s

Before you jump into a building a custom motorcycle project there are a few things you’ll need to look at. Building a bike from scratch is a lot different than just customizing a stock motorcycle where you can be sure that all the parts will fit. You can’t just start buying parts willy nilly and expect them to go together. Here’s checklist of things you need to do before buying anything.

1. Make a decision about what engine you plan on using. Your engine decision is critical to other aspects of the build such as frame compatibility, transmission, charging system and carburetor requirements. Buying or using a factory engine will make doing future service work much easier than grabbing some fancy large bore aftermarket engine.

2. Decide what size rear tire you are using. Again, another issue that determines other items such as wheel choice, frame usage and fender selection. Tire width affects handing and an overly wide tire will force you to use an offset transmission. You need to know all these things before you buy a frame.

3. Determine desired rake on frame neck. This is not always easy. Varying your rake also varies your front end height, proper length of your forks and is relative to front wheel height also. For an absolute beginner my suggestion here would be to find a bike you like and find out exactly what the rake, front wheel size and fork tube lengths are. Also find out how much trail that bike has as this is a key for handling. Just because a bike looks cools doesn’t mean it’s rideable. You can find frames that give the appearance of a longer and raked out front end but actually use factory dimensions. The look is achieved by pushing the steering neck a little forward and sweeping the down tubes back in a sharper than normal angle.

Once you have one custom bike under your belt, you can start to come up with your own plan. If you happen to be able to use a graphical design program such as AutoCAD you can actually design various rakes, heights and front end lengths to see what kind of trail they will give you. This may be the most critical decision in the whole process. If you make a bad decision on the front end it will affect the handling, the look and the overall height of the bike. First time out copy another bike.

4. Make a realistic list of things you will be capable of doing and things you will need to farm out, such as painting and electrical. Attempting things that are way over your head could make you end up putting this build off to the side for long periods of time. Most people can handle general assembly of parts but run into difficulties when it comes to electrical needs. Many project bikes are sold still needing the electrical work done. Often the only thing that needs done. Plan on having someone else do it if it’s not your field of expertise. Same goes with painting and especially welding. As complete as your frame may be something always seems to need welded. Plan on whom you’re going to call to do it.

5. Budget for tools and miscellaneous items you don’t already have. Simple things like placing seals in fork tubes will go so much smoother with the proper tools. You can’t assemble a bike with a set of wrenches and a hammer and there will be connectors and such you forget to buy. Always assume up to a 10% overrun on your original budget. Plan on buying additional tools as you need them, don’t try an anticipate everything you will need as some tools are highly specialized and you might make a bad purchase and end up with an expensive tool you don’t need.. And buy a lift, you will never regret it.

There will be a lot more decisions you will need to make as you go such as selection of lights, mirrors, wheels and tires but if you get these 5 things determined before you begin your project your custom bike building experience will go a lot smoother. Always plan ahead for your engine, frame, front end and wheels and find all the compatible items including your rear fender before you buy any of them. You should be flexible on most items after that as items like gas tanks, oil tanks, front fenders, seats and lighting are usually available or adaptable to anything you already have. Best of luck.

The Terms You See When Buying BMW Parts Online

If you are going to make improvements to your BMW car chances are you have searched the internet to find the best deals on BMW parts and BMW accessories. Choosing to purchase BMW replacement or upgrade parts online is a good option because it can save a little bit of money.

There are many company brands and products to select from in the field of aftermarket and OEM parts. The aftermarket and OEM parts industry use some terms like aftermarket, genuine, OEM, OEA and OES, and some people get confused with these terms. It is important that you have the right understanding of the terms to help you make right decision when buying parts and accessories to purchase.

Aftermarket BMW Car Parts

These parts are not manufactured by a subcontracted company of a major car maker. Though the manufacturer of aftermarket auto parts is not tied with a major auto maker, they produce parts that fit and perform just like the OEM as they are manufactured with the same materials and equipment.

Genuine BMW Car Parts

This term simply means that the BMW parts are presented in original BMW product packaging. The parts are always considered genuine if it has a BMW stamp on it or boxed in genuine BMW package. Take note that these parts are subcontracted to manufacturers of the particular product and not the actual BMW company. Original Equipment Manufacturer is what you call the company that produces the specific part for BMW.

OEM BMW Car Parts

Original Equipment Manufacturer and Genuine BMW part is basically the same product. However, the company has their own product packaging instead of taking it to BMW for packaging under the BMW brand name.

Original Equipment Aftermarket (OEA) or Original Equipment Supplier (OES) BMW Parts

A company could produce genuine parts for other car maker, but if they have never manufactured a part for BMW, they will never be regarded as original BMW part or OEM BMW part.

Now that you have an idea of the terms you see when you look for BMW car parts on the Internet, you can use this to make the right choice for your car. Also, check the warranty policy and credentials of the company.

How to Write Great Dialogue For a Screenplay

One of the most difficult parts of writing a great screenplay is creating captivating dialogue. The primary reason is because dialogue is not real-life speech. It might sound like it when you hear it on the screen, but if you really focus on what the characters are saying you’ll realize screenplay dialogue is much more focused.

With that in mind there are some very key elements to writing the kind of dialogue that can move a story along by creating the right atmosphere and shaping the story without just telling the story.

Dialogue Needs to Convey Emotion, Not Explain it

When you first reflect back on a movie you’ve seen you will likely see the image of the characters on the screen. You may think about the dialogue later on, but you won’t necessarily remember the words. And that is why one of the most important parts of writing dialogue is to remember to keep the lines short.

One of the most difficult parts of screenwriting for new writers is creating dialogue that evokes emotion and moves the story along without over explaining the plot, called forced exposition. Forced exposition is where a character tells the whole story or explains the action, like what some older crime dramas (think “Murder She Wrote”) have the crime buster do at the end of the story. They sum up how the bad guy was caught. It’s not particularly interesting writing. So instead focus on writing short, crisp dialogue that cuts to the chase and delivers the right amount of information.

However, writing good dialogue is not just about keeping it short. It’s also about communicating the ordinary in a unique way. You do this through subtext. It’s the meaning hidden behind the words. It’s like when a friend rolls her eyes and says, “Yeah. Great.” You know she’s really thinking that you just suggested something really stupid.

One of the best examples of subtext comes from a great book by David Trottier called “The Screenwriter’s Bible.” In it he refers to a scene from the classic movie, “Double Indemnity.” In the movie Fred MacMurray is an insurance salesman who uses an automobile metaphor to express his interest in Barbara Stanwyck. She says, “There’s a speed limit in this state, Mr. Neff. Fifty-five miles per hour.” He asks how fast he was going. She replies, “About ninety.” To which he says, “Suppose you get down off your motorcycle and give me a ticket.” She responds, “Suppose I let you off with a warning.” Now that’s some hot and steamy subtext.

Two Ways to Improve Screenplay Dialogue

Writing interesting, meaningful dialogue is not an easy task. However, you can help yourself out with these two methods.

First, after you have written your dialogue, rewrite it. Look at the words and see if you can alter them to make them more interesting or eliminate any words to make the language more concise. Instead of stating the obvious, “Shoot her so I can shoot you,” try something clever, “Go ahead. Make my day.”

The second tip is to read your dialogue out loud. Listen for how it sounds. Does it flow off your tongue naturally or does it sound awkward? Does it move the scene along and reveal something about one of the characters or could it be eliminated and not affect the story at all?

The whole idea is that screenplay dialogue should be as creative as the story idea and should enhance not detract from the action. Master concise, interesting dialogue filled with subtext and you’ll be writing great dialogue for your screenplay in no time.