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Sales Tip - Making Radio Dialogue Believable

Here's the exercise:

Record a conversation among a few of your friends, without them knowing it.

Transcribe the recording exactly as it happened. Don't clean it up, edit or correct it.

You'll find it's not a linear event. One person talks; is interrupted by another; everyone talks simultaneously. A door opens and it answers a question, someone coughs and it becomes the punch line to a joke.

There are few completed sentences, everyone talks at once, there's no punctuation...and yet you can understand what's being said...it's a matrix of audible events, not a linear sequence.

When you sit to write your spot, listen to the recording, and read your transcription. As you create, try to make the dialogue in your commercial as spontaneous as the conversation in your secret recording. This process will inspire you and remind you of how the fabric of conversation evolves. Your spot will be more believable, interesting, and compelling.

Make your characters react with, respond to, disagree with, interrupt each other. Dialogue is more than two people sharing a microphone.

Source: Veteran radio consultant Jeffrey Hedquist, founder and president of Hedquist Productions Inc.