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Walk and Talk

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"Five-oh! Everybody, West Wing!"
"West Wing?"
"Walk fast, talk fast."

Having the characters walk from one end to the other of a large, contiguous set while talking to each other, while a SteadiCam operator walks backwards in front of them, allowing for a continuous, moving, Medium Two-Shot.

Creators use this technique to make an exposition-laden scene more energetic or convey how busy the characters are. Can take a lot of takes to get right, but can give us some impressive examples of The Oner. However, characters never seem to watch where they're going.

This shooting technique was revolutionized by West Wing co-creator and film director Thomas Schlamme (with input, possibly, from Aaron Sorkin), who used it first on Sports Night and developed the technique further on The West Wing. Works deliberately evoking Sorkin's style will tend to have the characters using Mamet Speak as they go. It's also common in computer-animated works, where it appears to serve as a 3-D alternative to the Wraparound Background. Also known as a pedeconference (by analogy to teleconference), especially on Television Without Pity.

May overlap with En Route Sum-Up. Not to be confused with Camera Chase, when a single person walks toward a retreating camera while narrating.


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    Films — Animation 
  • In Turning Red, this is used when Mei's friends update her on what Tyler had been saying about her and her mother following the incident at the Daisy Mart with Mei and her friends walking down a school hallway as they talk.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Back to the Future Part II makes hilarious use of this as Doc Brown rattles off exposition to Marty while running back and forth... and Marty chases after him, trying to get the next thing he's about to say.
  • In The Beasts Are on the Streets, Kev walks down a hallway with Officer Ellman while they argue about the best way to deal with the escaped animals.
  • 80% of Before Sunrise is Walk and Talk. The sequel features a bit less of it and the third film has only one scene where they walk to the hotel and agree how much they've missed doing this.
  • Early on in The Body, Inspector Peña gets informed about the case at hand by an assistant on their way through the corridors of the hospital a corpse disappeared from.
  • Used in the film Brazil when Sam Lowry is trying to catch up to his new superior after a promotion and gets lost in the crowd of people following him. His new boss's name, Mr. Warrenn, is a reference to the network of corridors.
  • Done in the first scene after the opening of Code Unknown, where Anne and Jean walk and talk down a Parisian street. Lampshaded by Anne:
    Anne: Look, I'm in a hurry. Tell me what's wrong as we walk.
  • Ghostbusters II combines it with Suit Up of Destiny on route to fight Vigo in at the New York Museum of Fine Art.
  • Used extensively in Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet. In the director's commentary, they claim The West Wing was ripping them off.
  • Used in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, showing Harry, Ron and Hermione walking along the wooden footbridge, planning their secret defense against the dark arts meetings.
  • Parodied and lampshaded in Johnny Dangerously when Johnny and Lil go on a walk... and talk. After a very long time, they stop, look around and realize they must have left the city hours ago and are now out in the middle of a field in the middle of nowhere.
    Johnny: Where the hell are we?
  • Parodied in The Naked Gun where Frank would go on walks to clear his head while have a Private Eye Monologue. With a viewpoint on his feet walking down a sidewalk, one monologue ends with him stepping off the sidewalk and suddenly realizing he was in a forest. He doesn't know how he got there and a wolf howls in the distance.
  • Used in Night at the Museum. In the director's commentary, it was admitted that in the scenes with Ben Stiller and Robin Williams' characters on screen together, this mechanic just seemed to fit.
  • The 1997 film The Peacemaker anticipated The West Wing by having walk and talks in the White House. Director Mimi Leder was a former producer and director for ER, and steadicam operator Guy Bee had also worked on ER.
  • Serenity, the Firefly movie, does this to (re)introduce the main cast and the layout of the ship. It's somewhat different, in that while everyone talks, the only one doing the walking is Mal, and the SteadiCam follows him.
  • Used in Something The Lord Made, a biopic about African-American medical pioneer Vivien Thomas, to help establish the Jim Crow-era setting. An early scene has Thomas and his friend, also black, walking and talking along a footpath — but they have to keep pausing the conversation and stepping off the footpath to let white folks past.
  • An unconvincing version in the film adaptation of A Sound of Thunder, thanks to the view suddenly switching to the actors against a dramatic CGI background of the future city once they've finished talking, walking at a completely different pace now they don't have to worry about running over the camera crew.
  • Spice World: At the beginning, the Spice Girls and their manager are seen walking very briskly along a corridor, as if to show the pace of their busy lives.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan: This was done when Spock and Kirk discuss the situation after Kirk's return to the Enterprise, which is badly damaged enough from their previous battle that the turbolifts don't work, leaving them to talk while hustling up a ladder. This itself almost reads like a joke about the franchise's preference for the Elevator Conference, which got a Lampshade Hanging earlier in the film.
    • Star Trek (2009): Occurs twice, both times when The Captain (either Richard Robau or Christopher Pike) is giving orders to his Number Two (George Kirk or Spock) about how to deal with the Narada.
  • Star Wars:
    • In the beginning of Star Wars: A New Hope, Darth Vader and an Imperial officer have a more brisk "Sorkin style" one on board the Tantive IV discussing Princess Leia and the stolen Death Star plans.
    • In Revenge of the Sith when Anakin is complaining to Obi-Wan about not being promoted to Jedi Master.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 30 Rock:
    • The show has done the walk-and-talk-that-ends-up-back-where-they-started gag. May or may not have been a Take That! to Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip in "Jack the Editor". Liz and Pete take four consecutive left turns in the performance area, realize it, say they were following each other, then part ways, with Pete saying "Good walk and talk."
    • They parodied it at another time, too.
      Liz: Can you walk and talk?
      Kenneth: Usually, but now you've got me thinking about it. [walks awkwardly during the rest of the scene]
    • Openly parodied when Aaron Sorkin appeared as himself, advising Liz as she faced redundancy. The scene included an overt jab at Studio 60.
  • Parodied in Alpha House, with Robert Bettencourt asking an aide to walk with him, only for the conversation to end after eight steps.
  • Parodied on The Armstrong and Miller Show. One recurring sketch has a Pointy-Haired Boss character marching down a corridor while his subordinates dash up to him with obviously nonsensical information or bits of interesting trivia.
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003). Dr Gaius Baltar does this on several occasions while talking to Head Six, getting a lot of funny looks from people wondering why he's rambling away to himself.
  • The Big Bang Theory does this in spirit if not a continuous take. Typical sitcoms will have an outside hallway to the characters apartment or just a porch to someone's house. The show puts Leonard and Sheldon as neighbors across the hall from Penny, also in the stairwell set on the fourth floor of a building that doesn't have a working elevator. Thus, to give room for conversation, it shows them walking the stairway, each floor except the lobby just marginally redressed from the main set.
  • The Bill has been doing this for years, predating The West Wing. The fact that the Sun Hill set is one continuous set makes this possible.
  • The Book of Boba Fett:
    • It's a plot point when the title character and his master assassin Fennec Shand do this in the first episode, as the Hutts were Too Important to Walk and Fennec believes that Boba should continue this image of aloof power. Boba refuses, preferring the personal touch.
    • Luke Skywalker does a walk-and-talk with Grogu through a bamboo forest. As Luke is a lot taller than the Yoda-like youngling, they accomplish this by having Luke walk with a normal stride and use the Force to lift and boost Grogu along every time he falls behind.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer often in the hallways of SHS and UC Sunnydale. Played for Laughs in the Musical Episode where three of the Scoobies have a conversation while walking down the street while the residents of Sunnydale sing and dance in the background and foreground.
  • CSI-verse:
    • Done to death (heh heh) in nearly every episode of CSI (Las Vegas) as the investigator-Expositioners walk through the hallways of the lab. Which is such a maze that Television Without Pity calls it the "Labitrail".
    • Done practically every episode of CSI: NY. The set included an L-shaped hallway that the characters would be filmed walking in one direction, then after a Jump Cut, flashback to something they're discussing, or an insert shot of some evidence, they'd be filmed walking in the other direction but in such a way as to make it look like it's an extension of where they were, or an entirely different walkway.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "Spearhead from Space", a strike at the BBC led to locations and film cameras replacing the smaller studio sets with less mobile (at the time) video cameras, resulting in quite a number of Walk and Talk shots that were otherwise unusual for this era.
    • "Rose": The Doctor and Rose have a long exposition-filled walk from Rose's apartment building to near where he parked the TARDIS.
  • Spoofed in Ed, which preceded The West Wing on NBC Wednesdays for its entire run. Phil and Shirley walk in approximately a figure-eight path within the bowling alley over the course of their rapid-fire conversation, concluding with:
    Shirley: Why are we walking like this?
    Phil: I dunno, I saw it on The West Wing, it makes everything seems important.
    [they abruptly walk off in opposite directions]
  • ER also uses the Walk and Talk extensively. Thomas Del Ruth, director of photography for the pilot episode of ER, went on to be cinematographer on the pilot of The West Wing too.
  • Game of Thrones. Lampshaded by Olenna Tyrell: "If I have to take one more leisurely stroll through these gardens, I'll fling myself from the cliffs." Of course there are practical reasons for her doing so in the Decadent Court of Kings Landing, as walking makes it difficult for anyone to listen in on your conversation.
  • Grey's Anatomy featured the same lampshading as The West Wing, with the protagonists ushering Alex the long way around to avoid meeting the girl he's crushing on, ending up with Meredith wondering: "Where was I going?" Might also be subtle foreshadowing because Meredith is at risk of developing Alzheimer's syndrome.
  • This method also appears often on House, and has been lampshaded on at least two occasions, one in which Wilson points out they ended up back where they started, and another where House explains to a camera crew filming his team trying to diagnose the patient of the week that their walking around creates the illusion of the plot moving forward.
  • Done frequently on JAG; both at the headquarters building in Falls Church and on board Navy ships.
  • Factors heavily into the Law & Order shows. A Saturday Night Live sketch joked that the first rule for an extra on that show was "never stop moving".
  • Done frequently on NCIS; and almost as often lampshaded for humor value. Especially when someone new shows up. Tony once calls this the "mobile campfire".
  • Will and Charlie have a Walk and Talk in the pilot of The Newsroom. It's notable in that it's the only Walk and Talk used in the series, with Aaron Sorkin deliberately avoiding the trope for the remainder of the its run.
  • In the pilot of Person of Interest:
    • Finch walks through New York's Central Park while telling Reese about the Machine, so he can't be overheard by bystanders. The Machine can still hear what they're saying.
    • Subverted when Finch is briefing Reese on his new 'job' while walking through a crowded street, then suddenly reveals the object of their conversation is standing a few feet away.
  • The Professionals:
    • In "Kickback", Cowley and a government official are walking through a park while discussing an undercover operation, and Cowley has to stop his companion from bumping into a climbing frame at the end of it (likely a Throw It In! moment given this series). Earlier there's a variation on the trope when Cowley and Bodie are standing on the deck of a yacht that's motoring through a marina while having their discussion—so more of a Float and Talk.
    • The episode "Wild Justice" adds some excitement to the trope by having Cowley doing this while walking through a CI5 training area, with gunfire and explosions going off. At times you can barely see them through the smoke.
    • In "Hijack", Cowley does the walk with another official in the middle of Wimbledon Stadium, presumably because it looks more interesting than the usual Abandoned Warehouse.
  • Used and played with in Scrubs. JD is apparently so familiar with his Walk and Talk with Dr. Cox that he can run off to check on patients and get back without him noticing.
  • Happens in an episode of Seinfeld, when George is walking and talking with Wilhelm, his boss at Yankee Stadium. Wilhelm is in the middle of giving George an important assignment when he abruptly steps aside into the restroom. George politely waits outside for him, only to eventually realize that Wilhelm just kept on talking while using the restroom. George spends the rest of the episode trying to figure out what his assignment is.
  • Aaron Sorkin's first use of it was pretty much Once per Episode of Sports Night. Notably subverted in one scene of one episode, where two characters, about to have a very private altercation, take a long walk to one's office...and barely a single word is spoken throughout the entire trip.
  • Countless times on Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis. Corridors are the ubiquitous set for this, often while giving Techno Babble.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: The Original Series: This trope didn't occur much, but it was certainly present. What this series did have in abundance, though (including the later series), was the "stand and talk" variation where the characters would board a turbolift that would conveniently take exactly as long to reach its destination as it took for the conversation to end. In certain episodes, it's laughable how long the turbolift can take to get from the bridge to a deck that is only 3-4 stories down in the ship.
    • From Star Trek: The Next Generation onward, a good third of any given episode is dedicated to exposition, which is commonly done while walking down seemingly endless corridors on whatever ship/station/planet the story is set on. In early designs of the Enterprise-D, they were going to have a transporter room right off the bridge, but Roddenberry wanted the characters to have conversations enroute to the transporter, so this was dropped.
    • Another variant is for two characters to discuss matters while crawling through a Jeffries tube. This is spoofed in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine when Quark and Rom talk for so long they end up taking a wrong turn and come out in Captain Sisko's office.
    • Star Trek: Voyager
      • In "Time and Again", terrorists are forcing Captain Janeway and Tom Paris to take them to a power plant which they intend to attack, but they're walking so slowly our heroes have time to discuss what's going on. The terrorists make no effort to silence them, even though for all they know Janeway and Paris could be planning an escape!
      • In "Fair Haven", the Doctor has to have a confidential discussion with Captain Janeway about her love life. As there are others in Sickbay, they do so while walking through the corridors outside.
      • "Displaced" opens with B'Elanna Torres doing a Walk and Argue with Tom Paris, while "Message in a Bottle" opens with her storming down a corridor, griping about Seven of Nine to Commander Chakotay.
      • In "Worse Case Scenario" the crew become interested in a holodeck program depicting a mutiny on Voyager, which always starts with Chakotay approaching the player character in a corridor and sounding them out, though the conversation only turns treasonous after they enter a turbolift with no-one else in it.
      • In "Author, Author" the Doctor is so angry at how Tom Paris has altered his holonovel that he has a shouting match while following Tom through the corridors, observed by startled crewmembers.
      • The Jeffries tube version is also used. In "Course Oblivion" this has an added advantage of showing off Seven of Nine's rear as she crawls along the tube in her Sensual Spandex while talking to B'Elanna.
    • Star Trek: Picard:
      • In "The Impossible Box", Narek and Soji discuss her nightly calls to her mother as they're walking in a large hallway on the Artifact.
      • Later in the same episode, while having a conversation about how unpleasant it is to be on a Borg Cube again, Hugh guides Picard through the maze-like corridors that are part of the Borg Reclamation Project.
  • Canada knows this trope via its usage in Rick Mercer's Rants from This Hour Has 22 Minutes and The Rick Mercer Report. Most of the time it was only Mercer himself in the shot, giving the impression that the audience was the second person.
  • Spoofed in A Touch of Cloth III where a sequence of walking-and-talking is constantly lampshaded by the characters as only being to make this fairly boring Exposition scene look more exciting and they aren't actually going anywhere. Also, as they walk through the police station, it actually loops. In a later scene, posters on the walls even display images fitting what they're talking about as they go past them.
  • The West Wing is not above lampshading its use of the device, though: as early as the fourth episode, Josh and Sam realize that neither of them had any idea where they had been going, and each thought he was following the other. "Let's not tell anyone about this," Josh concludes. Also Lampshaded during a flashback episode to their first days in the White House when Sam asks Josh, "Do you mind if I talk to you while we walk?" and Josh says that they'll have to get used to having meetings in the hallway (due to not being able to read the White House maps).
    • When Will Bailey first arrives at the White House he comments to Josh that " get a pretty good aerobic workout talking to someone in this building." Josh responds that he's heard the jokes.
    • Toby and Sam had a walk and talk outside going to a breakfast place. Toby stops and wonders where the place is. Sam points behind them and says it was on the last street. He didn't want to stop their discussion.
    • There's also one where Josh asks Donna her opinion on the topic of the meeting he's about to have. She begins to respond, but isn't done before he reaches the meeting place. He turns around and says, "You've got to go faster next time, I'm here already."
    • Then there's the one where Josh, Donna, and Josh's intern are walking and the intern falls over and asks if they always walk so fast.
    • When Martin Sheen appeared on The Graham Norton Show, they did a Walk And Talk homage to The West Wing.


    Video Games 
  • Done a few times in Assassin's Creed: Revelations, where Ezio and Altair follow other characters while holding conversations. Players can choose to let the game take control of Ezio and Altair's movements if they wish and just move the camera around.
  • In the second Drakensang game River of Time, the water sprite imprisoned on the isle behind the troll bridge is supposed to explain her predicament to the heroes while walking around the island. Unfortunately, the effect is lost by a couple of obvious scenery cuts while the water sprite is animated continuously.
  • Used a few times in Final Fantasy VI when the heroes are shown walking from one place to another as part of a cutscene rather than under player control. Locke and Edgar tell Terra about La RĂ©sistance while on chocoboback, and several characters have brief conversations with each other while getting into position for the battle at Narshe.
  • Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords uses this in a few cutscenes, though it ends up looking odd because when the camera switches between characters, the background jumps back to the starting point of the walk.
  • Done in Saints Row IV as a deliberate Shout-Out to/parody of The West Wing, showing the Boss (now President of the United States) walking and talking with Pierce Washington and Benjamin King.
  • In Tales of Xillia, when you get to Nia Khera part of the exposition is delivered while they walk through the village. It's not the only instance of it happening in the game.
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has a good many quests in which Geralt must follow someone, either the quest-giver or a temporary partner, to wherever the action is. Expect plenty of exposition along the way.

    Web Animation 
  • The indicatively named Red vs. Blue: Family Shatters episode "Walk & Talk", which the writer says is an Aaron Sorkin homage. It involves two parties walking and talking, and by the end one realizes they don't know where they're going. (There is also an episode of the regular show named "Walk and Talk", but the scene that qualifies is very different from normal: the set is an entire ocean, and one of the characters is floating!)

    Web Videos 
  • The scene from Revenge of the Sith, interestingly enough, is referenced and parodied in Auralnauts Abridged take on Episode 3.
  • The TV Tropes original webseries Echo Chamber did an episode called "Walk and Talk" where Tom invoked Walk and Talk by tricking Dana into illustrating the trope. The show also regularly uses Walk and Talk as a device, even in episodes that aren't named for the trope.
  • Logan's Day has an interesting variation on this, as the series is based on Fallout: New Vegas, a game in which conversation with NPCs will lock both characters in place, making direct eye contact. But in Logan's Day, some conversations with companions like Veronica are instead edited to take place as they're walking the Mojave together.

    Western Animation 
  • Family Guy:
    • Parodied when the Griffins watch Aaron Sorkin's new show, The Kitchen, where the characters walk in their kitchen and have a fast-paced dialogue about buying milk.
    • Also parodied on the DVD version of Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story with a cutaway showing Chris guest-starring on The West Wing, with him doing this with the show's stars. Afterward, the scene then zooms out to reveal that Chris is inside a mouse maze, and he then finds the cheese.
  • King of the Hill parodied this in "Board Games", when Peggy is "briefed" by Bobby while going to meet with Minh and Nancy.

    Real Life 
  • Aristotle called his philosophy school the Peripatetic school after the peripatoi or colonnades of the Lyceum in Athens, where the members used to meet. However, peripatetikos also means "wandering", "walking about", and so, after Aristotle's death, the (false) notion emerged that Aristotle's school was named for the master's habit of walking and talking. The myth, however, is Older Than Feudalism.
  • Often happens when a reporter tries to get a comment from a subject who has no interest in talking. Sometimes it can backfire, though....
  • Used by spies, criminals, and anyone else who's worried about being under electronic surveillance. Being constantly on the move (especially in a crowded area) means anyone trying to bug your conversation must either walk closely or use some kind of rifle microphone.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Sorkin Walk, Pedeconference


Wandering around talking

The camera follows Viper and Shatter Squad as they talk and wander through the halls of Shatter Squad base, their paths crossing several times.

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Main / WalkAndTalk

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