Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Here's my first quick attempt at the solution to my previous post (please forgive the formatting). Feel free to offer advice:


         Hello, I'm Claire Radford, how are you?

She stops, extending her hand over the sofa.

Jason smiles and accepts her greeting.

         Jason, Jason Brent. You caught me off guard for
         a moment there.

         I apologise if my father's keeping
         you waiting Jason. Have you travelled far?

         Er, no, not at all. It's a sunny
         day, I put the top down and enjoyed the drive over here.

         Wonderful. My father shouldn't be too
         much longer, so if you don't mind I
         have some things to do before lunch.

         No problem.

Claire turns and walks to the door.

She makes it half way.


She turns.


         Err, well I doubt this meeting will last
         too long, and like I said it's a nice day,
         so I know this nice little restaurant nearby
         with a quiet balcony. We could have some
         lunch and enjoy the fresh air.

She takes a curious step forward.

         But you don't know me.

Jason confidently smiles and raises his hand towards the window.

         And look, what a nice day to rectify that.

Claire turns and again heads for the door.

She glances over her shoulder and smiles.


6 comment(s):

Bingethink said...

Forgive me for being a bit My Guy magazine, but it seems you’re sort of asking the writerly equivalent of the question “How Can I Be Sure That A Boy Fancies Me?” and the answer, from Claire’s point of view in your scene, is Because He Just Asked You Out To Lunch.

You don’t need to spoon-feed the audience. If we see a man and a woman of similar-ish ages onscreen, then we’ve all seen enough stories, and lived enough life to know that physical attraction is a possibility. We don’t have to get the bloke blushing or pulling out roses or talking in poetry. The asking out to lunch bit is plenty.

So the problem for me with your scene is that 1) it takes more than a page of dialogue to get to that point and 2) that’s partly because the dialogue is trying to manoeuvre us step-by-step through the situation. But you don’t need to explain your way through it, so we can strip out all that Hello / how are you / what’s your name stuff – which we don’t need – and then we have scope and space to add more pithy, snappy, character-building dialogue.


JASON on the sofa, fiddles with an empty cup and stares at

CLAIRE on the phone, oblivious to him. She glances over as she hangs up, catches him giving her the once-over. They both pretend it didn’t happen.

He’s just turned off the M40.

Jason checks his watch.

That cafe on the corner - ?

Terrible coffee: good paninis.

He gets up.

Can I interest you in a terrible coffee?

I don’t get time for lunch.

She returns to her screen as he leaves.


Claire pores over paperwork. Two paper lunch sacks are placed on the desk in front of her.

Ham and mozzarella or Cajun chicken?

His sweet smile drops as:

Jesus Christ, you idiot - I’m a vegetarian ! / Gluten intolerant / you’ve got pesto all over my wagesheets!

Or whatever...

Chris Parr (ukscriptwriter) said...


Thanks for the tips. In context with the previous scene, the greeting is needed but I take your point about the dialogue.

I do admit dialogue is one of my weak points, so I always welcome example scenes like the one you posted.

Thanks again.

Bingethink said...

You of course have the better of me by knowing how your script goes (and it's a bit cheeky of me to offer dialogue for a script I don;t know - so I apologise - it's meant with all due humility!) but I still bet you can drop them telling each other their names!

Even if that's how you imagine how the scene would play out in "real life", does the audience need to see it?

Is anything lost if you start this scene with Claire's apology?

And, if that goes, what else can go? What's the least you can get away with? How does "No problem / Wait / Yes?" enhance the scene?

Why does she tell him "But you don't know me" when he knows already that he doesn't know her?

Chris Parr (ukscriptwriter) said...

No need to apologise at all. Like I said, I welcome any feedback no matter what format it takes.

You are of course correct; there is much in there that need not be.

Thanks again.

harada57 said...
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