Understand an inspiring film for entrepreneurs in English!


Do you ever wish you could understand films in English?  You probably know it’s a fun way to improve your listening in real life. But most people have difficulties understanding films on their own. In today’s lesson, you’ll learn what you need to understand part of a great film in general, but especially for entrepreneurs.

So what film are we learning from today? 
The Pursuit of Happiness with Will Smith.
It’s a biographical film based on the real-life story of Chris Gardner–a homeless salesman. In the movie, Will Smith’s son in real life plays his son in the movie.

It’s such an inspiring film that Forbes includes it in their, Best Business Quotes from Movies. 

And entrepreneur.com lists this as one of the 10 Movies Every Entrepreneur Needs to Watch.

Today, you’ll watch an inspiring clip from this film and practice understanding the way native speakers actually talk.

Take the quiz at the end of this lesson!

Did you know that I’ve created a quick and easy quiz to go with this lesson so that you can practice everything you see here today? I want you to make this part of the English you actually use in real life! To try out today’s quiz, read along, find the quiz and see if you can figure out the answer.   (To check and see if you were right, you can find the answer in the comments section when you’re finished reading).


What you’ll learn in this article:

1. Understanding Native Speakers in Business English: the disappearing T!
2. Understanding Native Speakers in Business English: wanna, gonna, etc.
3. Understanding Native Speakers in Business English: less formal = more rapport.

1. Understanding Native Speakers in Business English: the disappearing T!

A lot of people have a difficult time understanding native speakers. And films.

And there’s a reason. Real-life English doesn’t sound like the English we read. Or the English we learned in school. So to understand this clip, you’re going to need to understand how we really say things.

First of all, you’ll notice that we don’t pronounce the letter T the way you think we will!  In today’s video, you can watch this part of the clip AND see me pronounce these more slowly.

Ok, so let’s actually look at the way the letter “T” disappeared…or became a ‘d’ sound.  

This is a short transcript of the conversation at the beginning of the clip between Chris Gardner (Will Smith) and Christopher (Jaden Smith)

And let’s see if you can actually COUNT the “T’s” that disappear or change. Ready? 

Father: “Hey, you know wha’ tuhday is?”
Son: “Yeah!”
Father: “Wha’?”
Son: “Sadurday?”
Father: “You know wha’ Sadurday is righ’?”
Son:  “Yeah.”
Father: “Wha’?”
Son: “Baskehball.”

Take today’s quiz(part 1)!
Did you catch how many T’s disappeared or changed?
Do you have a number in your head? 
To see if you got it right, read down to the comments section–you’ll find the answer. 

Also check out my lesson: 4 Keys to Understand Americans Who Talk Fast

2. Understanding Native Speakers in Business English: wanna, gonna, etc.

Another thing that can make native speakers really hard to understand is all the words we kind of…eat. Below, I’ll show you how we do this in real-life English–but don’t forget to watch the video lesson so you can practice listening to the actual clip from the film. 

Father: “You wanna go play sm baskehball?”
Son: “Ok”
Father: “Alri’ then were gonna go sell a bone densidy scanner”
Father: “How ‘bou’ tha’? Wanna do tha’?”
Son: “No.” 

Ok, so in this clip you’ve got those disappearing and changing T’s AND words that are shortened like gonna (going to), wanna (want to) and how ‘bou’ (how about, what if we…)

Oh and by the way, the bone density scanner is a highly technical piece of medical equipment! So don’t panic if you didn’t know that one!

I’ve worked with clients who sell technical equipment to hospitals…like medical supplies in the past. 

If you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner, and you’re under pressure to find clients and convince them–well, I don’t have to tell you how difficult it can be.

As an entrepreneur myself, I love inspiring stories about people who do incredible things…like my clients doing business in English.

Also check out my lesson: “Real English is different from school English”

3. Understanding Native Speakers in Business English: less formal = more rapport.

Ok so if you watch today’s video lesson, I’ll show you an inspiring part of this clip where Gardner is sharing some life lessons with his son. 
And I want you to notice something interesting.
Native speakers speak less formally with those close to us.

If you watch the clip, you’ll notice the rather advanced vocabulary he used with his young son:

“You’ll ultimately be about as good as I was.”
“You’ll excel at a lot of things, just not this.”

These are words a parent would use with a young child to help them grow and know how to speak well–and sound educated.

Here, Gardner is basically reminding his child not to dream too much–to avoid disappointment.

But notice also that Gardner’s language is not entirely formal. 

He keeps informal elements in it as well–to create closeness.

To actually hear it in action, watch the video lesson and see if you can find all the contractions (like wanna, gonna etc). You can listen for words that seem to be missing.

Your quiz…part 2!
The text below is what you actually hear…Notice I left a space where in ‘school English’ we would add a word. Can you guess what it is? Hint: read down to the comments section and find the answer!

“You got a dream, you gotta protect it. People can’ do somethin’ themselves, they wanna tell you you can’ do it. ___you want something, go get it.

Also check out my lesson: Understand a Real-Life Video in English: Focus on Rewards! [+Worksheet]

Go from understanding this clip to understanding native speakers in real life.

Listening for the ways we make language less formal and build rapport is a great way to understand real-life English AND learn to start building rapport with others by using it. 

Want to make sure you really get Native speakers? That you understand them as people?

Scroll down a bit to the comment section and find the answers I made to your quick quizzes today.  So you can really see the difference in how you’d say those last phrases in real life–and how you’re probably used speaking from your school English. And so you can make real-life English part of your life and your business. 

Take the next step: 
Improve your English in the comments

Alright, so today, you learned one new strategy for having better small talk in English: asking plenty of questions. And you heard several great questions you can ask.
But now I’m asking you…

Here’s your Confidence Challenge for this week:

  1. What is a movie that has inspired you in your life? It can be about business, English, or life in general. 
  2. Please, share it with us in the comments, so we can take inspiration from it too!

If you learned something from this lesson, please share it with your coworkers & friends. You can send your message to them in English for more practice!

Click here to share this article on LinkedIn
Click here to share this article on Facebook

Get the answers to your quiz!:

Part 1: How many missing “T” sounds were in that short dialogue?

Father: “Hey, you know wha(1)’ tuhd(2)ay is?”
Son: “Yeah!”
Father: “Wha(3)’?”
Son: “Sad(4)urd(5)ay?”
Father: “You know wha(6)’ Sad(7)urd(8)ay is righ(9)’?”
Son:  “Yeah.”
Father: “Wha(10)’?”
Son: “Baskeh(11)ball.”

That’s right! 11 disappearing or changed “T” sounds. 

Part 2: Did you find the missing word?
IF you want something, go get it.”


Become more fluent & comfortable in conversations

If you would like to take the next step with me, discover my Faster Fluency Conversation Club Membership Program!

It helps you become more confident speaking in conversations, and get a lot more vocabulary on many different topics! And it’s a fabulous community of “English buddies” from around the world!

TIP: Use the code FFCC40 to save -40% off your 1st month of membership!

More details at


Can’t wait to see you in the Club,

More good stuff…

Click the image to learn more

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Get your free email templates now