Monday, October 7, 2013

No shoes and a little white dog - when truth is stranger than fiction...

Ah blog, it's been a while. What with a new job, new night course and house-hunting, something had to give. And for a while, it had to be you...

Despite the madness, I've been writing and rewriting scripts, and I was going to return with a post on this. But instead I got inspired by a real-life event on Friday night that was straight out of a movie script.

I was fast asleep on Friday (actually it was 5am on Saturday morning) when I was woken up by a noise outside. Somewhere down in the street, a girl was screaming at the top of her lungs, "Give me my shoes!" More like, "GIVE ME MY SHOEEEESS!!!" - while hammering on each door in turn. She sounded posh, despite slurring her words quite considerably.

At some point between waking up and getting to the window, the thought of ringing the police occurred to me. But by the time I'd pulled up the blind, the fuzz were already on the scene. I don't know whether someone had already called them or they'd just been cruising around, but there was a Garda car and two pissed-off looking guards approaching a very drunk/drugged out/mad girl who was swaying in the middle of the road. She was in a party dress and had no shoes on.

Girl looked like she was about to leg it, but alcohol/drugs/being mad impeded this, as did the absence of footwear. Then she whooped in delight as a little white Scottie dog showed up, followed by a sheepish, well-spoken but very embarassed-looking guy. Guy tried to remonstrate with the cops, as his girlfriend (?) exclaimed very loudly over the doggie and petted it. All was right again with her world, despite the fact that it was 5am and she was about to be arrested.

Guy begged the guards not to take her in, but they were having none of it. She'd already woken up half the neighbourhood (unless they were deaf). As she was being handcuffed - still screeching and wailing - they were like, "We've given you 10 chances already, she's now under arrest. And if you (the guy) keep talking we'll arrest you too". I'm paraphrasing, but it was something like that.

I don't know what the background to this was - maybe they'd already been called to a house party she was at that night? Maybe this is her normal Friday night routine? Who knows.

She was eventually frogmarched to the car, still protesting that she'd never been in trouble before, and they took off, telling the guy that she'd be at the Bridewell (that's the nearest police station).

The little dog ran after the car while the guy stood silently in the road staring after it. Eventually he went after the dog (which was clearly hers and not his), but the dog wouldn't go to him.  He chased the dog around the street in vain for about ten minutes, calling it. In the end, the dog ran away up the road and the guy ran after it. That's the last I saw of them.

The whole thing struck me as being like a scene from a movie and it took me a while to identify why, but here's my guess:

1. The inclusion of the dog. If I was writing this scene for a script, the thought of adding the dog in might not have immediately occurred to me, but having it there upped the emotion of the scene. And the aftermath with the doggie running after the car taking away his mistress was a heartbreaker.

2. The fact that the guy was not drunk at all, or at least much more sober than the girl. If they'd both been off the heads, it wouldn't have been such a weird and kind of sad situation.

What can we learn about writing scenes from watching a real one like this? First of all, while real life can inspire script ideas, you have to be sure to milk the scene for all its potential. In real life, the dog won't always be there and the other character won't always be sober.

Wring every last bit of emotion you can from it, whether you're aiming for laughs, scares or tears. And last but not least, realise that real life is often much crazier than anything you can imagine...

1 comment:

Antoine Vanner said...

Not at like Chekov's story of "The Lady with the Dog", from which an excellent Russian movie was made in the late 50s/early 60s