I’ll tell you what I did for the dialogue in Attack the Block is I figured out the story in treatment form. Then I got an illustrator friend of mine to draw drawings of various plot points. Then I went around loads of youth clubs in South London, talked to big groups of kids. I talked them through the story. I showed them the images, and I said to them, “What would you do if this happened? OK, then this happens. What would you do? Then this happens.”
I recorded everything they said. We went to 20 or 30 of these groups with 10 to 15 kids in each, recorded everything they said. I went home. I treated it like foreign language course, like Linguaphone or something. I put headphones in, and I typed it all out. So I ended up with three massive files of debates and reactions.
Then my first draft I built out of it. So a lot of the lines in Attack the Block were actually said by real kids – “too much madness for one text” – those are real things real kids said in response to my narrative. Because I not very street; I’m a tiny bit less street than Prince Charles and I could not have…I had to be authentic, so I had to go to the source.
I like Joe's openness here, he doesn't know how people on the streets act so he goes full out to discover this. Seems like an awesome way to absorb a culture and discover character background and behaviour.