Thursday, March 22, 2007

A really important call

I heard this 'conversation' on the train into work.


GIRL (EARLY 20s): Hello?... Oh, hiya... uh... uh... yeah... uh... uh-uh... uh... right... uh... yeah?... No, not really... uh... uh... right... right... right... yeah... see ya.

Girl puts mobile back in her bag and goes back to staring out of the window.

It got me pondering on the difference between dialogue written for a script, be it for a commercial/film/drama/comedy etc. where each word has to drive plot, sketch character or reveal motivation, and the banal reality of everyday conversations.

And dialogue that is praised for 'being realistic' is actually nothing of the sort, it's far more interesting because, obviously, it has to be. Otherwise, bye-bye viewer.

And yet there's something I really like about these everyday conversations that tail off into abstracted nothingness.

Here's another example, this time two old ladies in a supermarket looking for some 'tongue'. No, that's not a new sexual service that Tesco has recently introduced, it's a cooked meat similar to ham.

WOMAN 1: Where's the tongue?

WOMAN 2: It should be here somewhere. It usually is.

WOMAN 1: They always have tongue.

WOMAN 2: Yes... it's usually here.

WOMAN 1: They had it last time.

WOMAN 2: Yes... this is where it is.

WOMAN 1: Yes... it's always here isn't it.

WOMAN 2: Always.

WOMAN 1: Where is it?


Aw, bless.


kitchen hand said...

Martin, you nailed it.

The best writers have an ear for real, not realistic, dialogue.


Anna said...

That Tesco transcript is hilarious.

If you haven't seen Pinter's People yet, you'd find a lot of real dialogue in the sketches. And it's all the better for it. Shame about the occasional lack of real acting however.

Martin said...

Funny you mention Pinter. I was going to find a suitable 'snatch' of his by way of comparison.

I saw 'The Caretaker' a few years ago, directed by Patrick Marber who brought out all the comedy of seemingly nonesensical conversations.