Monday, November 12, 2007

Situation vs. Dialogue : TV vs. Cinema

Howdy strikers,
Just to stay sharp we are talking about the difference - as we see it - between TV and Film. It's a simple concept. Basically if you think about ads for TV, you will see more situations ( maybe that's why it's called "situation comedy") and most people who refer to a TV show will say do you remember the episode where.....

Now with film, it will be remember when the bad guy said...

It's interesting and there really isn't a lot to say about it other than it's somethign to take into account if you are going from one to the other.

That's not to say that dialogue doesn't attract people to TV or situations don't attract people to film, but in the long run, you will see that they are separated by this. A lot of the reason is because TV usually happens in a much smaller "area" than film.

I mean, look at Seinfeld or Frasier, two of the most popular sitcoms. They both occurred almost totally in one room. But even a small comedy like "Clueless" will take place over a much wider area.

Another good example is Curb Your Enthusiasm with Larry David. He starts out with a situation every episode. Don't confuse these situations with plots. His stories have no plots, just people reacting badly to situations.

I can't remember many of the lines but I do remember the show where he had the black guy staying with him take a baseball jersey from some guy. Or the one where he has to take the head off of a doll to replace another doll's head.

Now if you take "Clueless" the first thing that springs to my mind is not how hot Alicia and Stacey looked in those short skirts but when Alicia says "As if" to the guy trying to hug her in the beginning. or when Brittany says, "you're a virgin that can't drive."

Even though I can't remember the situation I do remember the line. or perhaps the most famous line of all "I'll be back." If you think for a second you can remember that he's in the police station but the line itself reminds you of that not the police station reminds you of the line.

There are tons of examples of this if you compare genres in TV and film. Another reason for this discrepancy is that TV is usually much shorter. The average sitcom is only about 24 minutes of air time, while a drama may be about 49 minutes. A film on the other hand will be a minimum of 90 minutes and may stretch to over 120 minutes.

This allows the writer to think less about the situation and more about the conflict in the situation. Added to that is the fact that TV is recurring and you can leave something unsaid at the end but with film, it has to be said\done in the time allotted.

Even if you start out with a plan for sequels, you have to definitively END each segment, whereas with TV you want to leave something hanging so that people will tune in the next time. So I guess that's another difference, the way you end it.

Well, that's it for today. We hope our ramblings are at least worth reading and at best help out a writer or two - which coincidentally is how many visitors I usually have. It's OK, though I'm the consummate writer who would rather stay home and write and then spend time in compromising positions in my favorite club than to have any friends.

Anyway, see ya and remember,

Keep writing as writing is the revealing of the soul.

No comments: