Tuesday, September 16, 2008

How cell phones make your life harder

Some of us pride ourselves on realism in our writing...but when it comes down to it, television and film are not wholly realistic. And it's a good thing: if they were, they would be boring and unromantic. There would be lots of mundane, conflict-free moments and conversations filled with "like," "um" and "you know." And certainly actors are prettier than the rest of us.

But there's a new way that our writing has become unrealistic: technology. Especially cell phones. There's a lot more intensity and chemistry in the scene you write with your two leads together, but let's be honest: they wouldn't realistically show up at each other's doors for every conversation. They'd call - or text, which is even more boring onscreen. IMing too. I can't tell you how many times I've convinced people not to write features about online poker because they're booooring. Beyond visuals, cell phones also make it harder to put our characters in jeopardy.

Friend-of-a-friend Zachary Pincus-Roth explores this modern dilemma in this LA Times article: Remember movies before the cellphone?

I was going to go through facebook and accompany this post with some silly picture of me with a cell phone, but I feel like that'd be a bit too much like how Oprah puts herself on all her magazine covers.


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2 comments:

Joshua James said...

Add to that, a lot of my close friends and I keep touch via the internet, blogs and facebook . . . some of the greatest, most insightful conversations I've had as of late have been frigging IM's!

How does one make that cinematic?

Ken Armstrong said...

Phones will never be dramatic, unless we beat a character over the head with one. If only we could converse through guns.... :)