Thursday, December 30, 2010

Interacting with Others

Part of being a writer is good people-watching skills. You know, studying others and how they interact in different situations.

While I was sick the week before Christmas, I was in bed watching the Today show. I found myself studying how the hosts adapted to their celebrity guests. And it made me think about character development.

One of the guests was Matt Damon. He's a nice guy, laid back. A dad with four girls for whom celebrity came early with a writing Oscar. A kindred spirit.

When Matt Lauer interviewed him there came that obligatory point where Lauer says to Damon that everyone in Hollywood sings Damon's praises, what a nice guy he is, etc., etc.

And then Lauer says, "I just don't see it."

Everyone laughs, even the camera guys. Damon makes some witty reply.

Segments later, the group is with Liam Neeson talking about Toys for Tots. They're also talking about the new Voyage of the Dawn Treader movie and his role as Aslan. Lauer makes a comment about how hard it is to talk to Neeson because of his voice and the Aslan character. It's meant to be a joke.

Neeson replies that Aslan has become something of a goodwill ambassador in the protection of large cats around the globe.

The hosts become serious again, yes, this is a weighty matter. The smiles are still there, but there's no belly laughing.

Neeson is a serious-minded fellow, who got his start playing extremely serious roles on the stage.

Then I got to thinking, "How would that scene have changed if Neeson had begun spouting Aslan lines and tried to intimidate Lauer." I think it would've been very funny. It would've changed the entire tone of the scene.

I just wanted to note this interaction for future writing authenticity. So what's on your minds, writer-friends? Then New Year maybe?

Have an awesome weekend and a fabulous Friday! Do some people-watching while you celebrate.

See you next year~ (wink)<3


Vicki Rocho said...

So when I'm sick, I freak myself out with a movie thinking someone is in the house (Wasn't Matt Damon in Oceans 13?) Meanwhile, you are able to make clever observations about writing and character development. I think I see which one of us is the real wrtier......

Matthew MacNish said...

You make an interesting point. I like both those actors, and I think they both have talent, but there is no question (I imagine) which one is considered a more serious thespian (even though Neeson has settled for some roles like the dad he played in Taken). I imagine it would be a bit like interviewing Cormac McCarthy versus interviewing Seth Grahame-Smith, or vice-versa rather.

Old Kitty said...

Oh I'm sorry to hear you were ill!! I hope you are better now though? Christmas time is always the time for illnesses - I'm forever trying to fend of viral attacks!!! LOL!

People watch!! I people watch all the time and make up scenes about them! It's so subjective though - sometimes I just go by what a person looks or dresses then I feel bad and think - that person is probably really really lovely and has probably saved lives etc and I've just made him/her a baddie in my head! LOL!

Take care

Tracy said...

Gosh, I love to people watch which is why I probably am not fun in a social setting becuase I'm too busy watching and not interacting! I even had a friend tell me I was no fun; not the 'life of a party' but I'm okay with that...
great thoughts you point out and I hope you are on the mend totally!
Happy New Year!

DEZMOND said...

I also do not see Damon as a good guy, he often had very arrogant and self-obsessed interviews. And plus he always makes every film boring :)

And yes, I constantly watch people, I'm watching you right now as well :PP

PK HREZO said...

Sorry you've been sick. :( We have to.
I think our stories really come alive when we put two or more characters together who feed off each other. The dialogue can be explosive.

Happy New Year, my friend! :)

Summer Ross said...

I don't watch much real TV but I have a handful of shows I watch a little here and there of plus movies when I have time with my girls. One thing I'm noticing is which character plays what role in what I watch.

If he would have quipped with some Aslan come backs, that would be neat to see I think. :)

On my mind- My kids and critiquing fellow writers and my publication I should be receiving an overlook on here soon.

Unknown said...

I had to do this when I was waitressing all the time. Not all customers wanted to be entertained but some expected it. I learned to quickly adapt.

I'm thinking about how this mental vacation that I'm on is coming to an end. I have only been able to turn on my computer once and that was to redeem an iTunes giftcard. :)

LTM said...

@Tracy--I have the opposite problem--when I'm in a group, I find it difficult *not* to talk... :D But I LOVE withdrawing and just observing. I try to carve out time for it. All better now, thanks! :o) <3

@PK--I agree so much, and doing the unexpected... it's all so much fun to play around with. :o) <3

@Summer--Yep, the unexpected makes it so much more interesting, I think. :o) <3

To all of you, have a Happy, safe, prosperous New Year!!! :o) xoxo

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Leigh .. isn't it the person themselves, what sort of character they are in normal life ... some adapt so well, others don't.

I watched something recently .. and thought how wonderful a perfectly natural person .. just like you and me - that's who we want to see - not the celebrity or whomever they feel we should know. Gosh - it must be so boring having the same questions thrown at you - & those that manage to continue to be normal in their answers.

Enjoy your New Year's Eve .. and here's to 2011 .. Hilary

Hart Johnson said...

it really IS interesting how differently people take things--some people, for instance, can't take a joke AT ALL... something the rest of the world cracks up at and some poor person because of whatever insecurity just doesn't get it. I bet Neeson has some soft spot for big cats (which I don't criticize) and so this huge field of potential humor has closed for him. I can think of areas in my life that should be easy jokes but because of real life experiences, they just AREN'T (I had YEARS of not being able to find 'drunk anything' funny--when it is funny stuff, and I am NOT a serious woman)

LTM said...

@Hil--yes, I think you're very right. And I agree, it's impressive the way these guys can hold it together answering the same questions over and over and over...

You have a super NYE also! I agree, here's to the new year~ :o) <3

Carolyn Abiad said...

Don't you wish we could Agent Watch for a while? (The ones who don't blog anyway.) It would make life so much'd know who was all basic business and who was ready to forge a stronger client relationship. What do they really expect us to get from the few lines they throw up on QT/PM?

Have a Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

People watching is so inspiring!
And finding new and unique ways to describe their actions is fun.

Ella said...

Great post, love the idea and perspective of seeing the view differently. I did a lot of people watching at the Mall today. Took daughter n' friend to hit the holiday sales. It is amazing to watch people interact and not. The attitudes the eye contact or lack of it. How the clerks react to certain customers, based on their purchases, looks and what they wear. There is lots to learn in this arena~

Happy New Year, I have enjoyed getting to know you better! Cheers to 2011~ 555 ;-D xXx

Unknown said...

Glad you're feeling better. People watching is fun. Yes, I agree a good writer must be observant. Happy New Year.

Unknown said...

You're amazing! I would have watched the show and just entertained myself. You watched the show and learned something about character. That is so good!


Julie Musil said...

I'm sorry to hear you were sick!

I think it would have been funny if Neeson growled like a lion and stretched out his paw.

I'm so glad I met you this year, and I hope your 2011 rocks!

Anonymous said...

I people watch at the mall and grocery store and other places. Gotta make sure I wear dark sunglasses so wifey doesn't catch me.

LTM said...

LOL@Stephen--OR the person you're watching... :D

Elana Johnson said...

Great post!