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Re: Real-time

Posted by Lewis on September 22, 2003

In Reply to: Real-time posted by ESC on September 15, 2003

: Today (Monday) I am catching up on my Sunday newspapers. Twice I've come across the use of the word "real-time." Can anyone enlighten me as to the meaning of the word in these instances?

: "There are three cliques of songwriters. There are the struggling songwriters like me, the newly signed just starting out and your real-time poets writing songs for the artists." Brendon Church, 22-year-old college student and music major, quoted in "Nashville mourns Cash: But country capital didn't always revere the man in Black" by Peter T. Kilborn with Marta Aldrich, New York Times News Service, reprinted in the Herald-Leader, Lexington, Ky., September 14, 2003.

: "Tonight, HBO delves into Washington's lobbying industry. In K Street, a new half-hour show, Steven Soderbergh, a co-executive producer, is aiming for 'real-time fiction.' The show will depict a fictional firm of lobbyists and consultants, but will blend in real politicians, lawmakers and issues." From "Your Sunday: On TV," a column in the Herald-Leader, Lexington, Ky., September 14, 2003.

In the first instance, 'real' appears to mean genuine/committed/professional as opposed to "part-time" or "small-time".
In the second, a more technological use is implied - "real-time" in techno-babble means 'at the proper speed' or more casually put 'on the fly' - so a real-time drama or fiction would probably be one where things happen at their natural pace, not sped-up for dramatic intensity - so for example, a real-time cop show might feature a stake-out where the police are waiting around for hours with absolutely nothing of interest happening or maybe in a fictional office that people type for minutes or hours on end wihtout social interaction. Perhaps they want 'real-time' fiction to be drama with added boredom. It is accepted in mainstream story-telling, whether by novels, TV, oral tradition or theatre - that the boring bits where nothing crucial to the plot happens may be safely omitted.
Whilst one must then rely on the editing or the narrator, I think getting to the point is usually better than free-form.