How Hollywood Is Making Texting Look Dramatic

We all increasingly rely on non-verbal forms of communication — email, IM, texting — to let people know what's going on in our lives. That's great for us, but it's causing headaches in Hollywood when it comes to creating drama.

The problem is that TV and film have to remain topical to keep our attention, but it's difficult to make a text message — a few paltry letters on a little electronic screen — particularly gripping. The Wall Street Journal has a wonderful article that takes a look at the techniques used by filmmakers to ensure modern communication is as gripping as classic dialogue:

In the past year, films aimed at teenaged audiences have been experimenting with how to integrate characters' constant texting into storylines, with varying degrees of success. In "LOL," a 2012 box-office flop, the main character, played by pop star Miley Cyrus, posts Facebook updates ("Status: Boyfriend") that were displayed on the screen in a big, cartoonish font as she typed.

The texting seen in "Disconnect" and other coming films adheres loosely to a convention credited to the BBC's "Sherlock," featuring a wired Sherlock Holmes in modern-day London, and more recently, Netflix's hit series "House of Cards"... "Sherlock"... depicts texts on screen as white subtitles in a Helvetica font.

There is, however, more to making text messages gipping than flashing them up on screen in Helvetica — but you should go read the full feature to find out more about it. [Wall Street Journal via The Verge]

Picture: Jhaymesisviphotography/Flickr

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    I recall a movie which showed computer dialogue on the bottom of the screen with teletype noises.
    In those days computers had tape drives with a single loop of tape

      MMmmmmm tape drives!

      Though the BEST movie ever for this is Sex Drive in the opening scenes. Shows this guy IM'ing some internet random and actually doesn't look overly tacky.

      And any movie with an smart-arsed Amish Seth Green get's my vote!

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