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Birol
03-31-2007, 11:39 AM
SPOILER ALERT FOR THE INCREDIBLES AND AS GOOD AS IT GETS. (Plots and storylines are not ruined, but details that may ruin your future your enjoyment of these movies are mentioned.)


There is a scene in The Incredibles where the Parr family is having dinner and a family squabble breaks out. If you listen to the filmmakers' commentary on the DVD, you will learn that the artists agonized over that scene. As they drew the different cells, the food on the table was moving about and they were trying to figure out things such as "Where does the bowl of broccoli go? How did it get from one end of the table to another?"

After much agonizing, they finally realized that no one but another artist would ever notice the broccoli leaping about the table, the ordinary viewer just wouldn't catch it. Even after listening to the commentary, I have to admit, I haven't been able to identify what food is leaping about the table out of place. I haven't reviewed the scene in freeze frame, extreme slow motion yet, but I have realized the filmmakers were correct. While the scene may have flaws that make artists cringe, as an ordinary viewer, I don't even notice them.

Now, there are other movies I've watched with flaws that take me straight out of the story. For instance, in As Good As It Gets, there is a scene where three people are talking in a car. The car is a convertible and the top is down. The driver decides to pull over to better listen to what one of the other passengers is saying. The camera switches to an exterior shot as the car pulls to the side of the road. When it does, the top on the convertible is up. That scene drives me crazy because of the flawed detailed.

There are similar flaws in other movies that drive me completely crazy.

The thing is, before I was trained in analyzing my own writing and looking for inconsistencies and editorial ripples and things that don't quite add up, I don't know if I would have noticed details like the one in As Good As It Gets. I also have to wonder if the makers of The Incredibles had it right, even though they weren't talking about writing, but visual images. Are there details that we, as writers, obsess over, that the ordinary reader will never notice when they experience the story?

Judg
03-31-2007, 12:46 PM
I can tell you that my kids have ALWAYS delighted in picking out bloopers in movies, things I never would have noticed in a lifetime. Mind you, at age 12, I was grumbling about Asimov's bloopers. So yes, some people are going to notice. I think the more central the blooper is to the plot, the more it will be noticed. And they really do damage the suspension of disbelief. If an author makes too many of them, I tend to stop reading them.

Linda Adams
03-31-2007, 04:14 PM
There was actually a series of books that pointed out the flubs in movies that was published a number of years ago. It had things in it like the sound of an airplane in the background during a historical battle; a wristwatch on a Roman ...

From what I understand, the script supervisor (or at least it was this job at the time, when it was still called "script girl") was supposed to be keeping track of everything to help prevent continuity errors. When you see someone wearing a hat and then not wearing a hat, and then wearing it again, they ended up refliming that part of the scene at a later date and didn't catch the continuity error.

The continuity errors don't bug me all that much--in some cases, they're rushing to get the film/tv show out on schedule, and things just happen. It's not like they can go back and correct a sentence like we can--it can be a day's worth of work and thousands of dollars to refilm the scene for a hat.

For what I write, I actually no longer worry about those details. I make a reasonable effort that they're right, but I'm not going to spend a lot of precious time (and probably make myself crazy) rechecking every detail to make sure I didn't make a blooper. I know that there are some readers who will never know the difference and others who will latch onto a particular detail and freak out. And I've also seen a reader (it was in a magazine over a historical article) attack the article because the details didn't represent the way he thought they should be interpreted. There's always going to be someone out there who will pick things apart, just like people who aren't going to like the book.

aadams73
03-31-2007, 06:22 PM
There's even a website for movie gaffs right here (http://www.moviemistakes.com/).

Gigi Sahi
03-31-2007, 06:31 PM
I remember Rosie O'Donnell discussing her role in the film Exit to Eden. She lost weight for the part but regained it during the course of shooting the movie. So in some scenes she's 150lbs, 175lbs in others. I never noticed, but I thought that was funny.

victoriastrauss
03-31-2007, 07:06 PM
I'm cursed with a nitpicky mind, I guess, because I've always noticed continuity errors in films and on TV, and even the small ones drive me nuts. Drink levels that go up and down. Hair that's behind an ear in one shot and hanging down in the next. Clothing that inexplicably shifts around. Objects that don't stay where they're supposed to be.

Another movie pet peeve, for the gardener in me--plant mistakes. Scenes shot in gardens where plants that in real life bloom at different times are all in full flower at once. Yards that feature plants that couldn't survive in that climactic zone. Movies that are supposed to be happening in spring and show trees in full leaf. Films set in one place whose outdoor scenes have obviously (to a plant lover) been shot somewhere else.

I have a friend who's an expert on horses. For me, horse mistakes are essentially invisible--but she invariably notices the horse discontinuities in movies, and the horse errors in books stand out for her like sore thumbs.

My feeling is that no matter what it is, if you get it wrong, SOMEONE will notice. So I do obsess about getting it right, even though I know that it's impossible to ever make it perfect.

- Victoria

Lyra Jean
03-31-2007, 07:42 PM
I had a friend who loves sharks. She found this novel about a megaladon shark that's still alive and basically eating people and everything. In one part of the book the author had this megaladon go up on the shore of a lake, eat a deer that was drinking, and then go back into the lake and out to sea.

She said for a megaladon that isn't even possible and that she's never reading anything by this author ever again and she's telling all her friends not to read anything by him either. So I reckon it pays to be nitpicky.

ChaosTitan
03-31-2007, 07:56 PM
Now, there are other movies I've watched with flaws that take me straight out of the story. For instance, in As Good As It Gets, there is a scene where three people are talking in a car. The car is a convertible and the top is down.

I knew that scene bothered me for a reason! I can't believe I never noticed it before. The one thing that drives me crazy about AGAIG is Helen Hunt's disappearing-reappearing bra when she's running in the rain to Melvin's apartment.

Are there details that we, as writers, obsess over, that the ordinary reader will never notice when they experience the story?

One thing that I had an issue with was car types. In two of my novels, the characters kept switching out SUV models, mostly to keep the bad guys from tracking them down. I was fairly certain that I kept them straight during writing, but on an edit pass, I realized someone was driving a car that had been previously wrecked.

Oops. This, of course, freaked me out, and I reread both manuscripts looking solely for the type of car being driven. It feels silly now, because the exact make and model of the SUV isn't really that important. Just that it's a different one, and the old one has been disposed of.

rugcat
03-31-2007, 08:11 PM
I lost track of days in my first book and had the MC going to a bank on what would have been a Sunday. Luckily, the copyeditor caught it.

It may be minor, but I think it's very important not to mess up on the details. When you do, it takes the reader right out of the story--all your hard earned credibility can evaporate in one swift moment, causing the reader to realize--hey, this isn't real!

Rolling Thunder
03-31-2007, 08:12 PM
Are there details that we, as writers, obsess over, that the ordinary reader will never notice when they experience the story?

Yes, and that is a problem at times. I've caught myself doing it more often during first draft work instead of getting thoughts down and worrying about it later

This is where I think writing erodes the 'regular reader' that most people start out as. Everyone notices the irregularities in their work or professional in time. Have you ever been somewhere with a person, like in a hospital, and (as they are a RN) they point out everything good/bad about the place?

Did you also not really give a damn? Especially since all you cared about at the time was getting a shot of painkiller until they stitched you up?

I think that's why agents and editors reject so much work. They're just too used to what they've seen everyday.

PeeDee
03-31-2007, 08:28 PM
The thing about bloopers, the little glitches, the small problems like Obi-Wan missing half a blink due to bad editing in a scene in episode IV is not so much "do people notice" but "how people react."

If people are friendly toward the work -- if they love the Incredibles -- then they'll see the error, be amused by it, and keep going. They are in a positive mood toward the movie, and that means that even little glitches are reflected in a gently endearing sort of way.

If, however, you're impassive or downright hostile to a movie, then the errors jump out at you as errors. THey aren't endearing, they're sloppy, and they contribute to the negative feelings. Conscious or unconsciously.

....

Mostly, I notice, but I don't remember. I have a good eye for little details in movies. Mostly, though, unless it's REALLY sloppy, I don't pay any attention to it. Except maybe pointing it out to people the next time I watch it, under the mistaken impression that they love trivia like I do...

kdnxdr
03-31-2007, 08:46 PM
In my true account of a daytime UFO experience that I and my children had, a reader pointed out that my daughter was depicted at the wrong age to be a member of the Brownies.

In my story of the experience, I tried to be as truthful and accurate as possible. The story was written years after the event and going back to the memory, I had to readdress the terror that was experienced.

I thought I had written an accurate account. The fact that the reader felt I discredited the validity of the story discouraged me as a writer and as someone who was attempting to tell something truthful. I went back and corrected the age of my daughter to fit the truth of what the reader pointed out. I was mad at myself but I also know that very few, if any, recollections are flawless.

My story An Abrupt Turn is a true story and can be read at OurEcho.com.

JohnB1988
03-31-2007, 08:46 PM
Part of this question is those (mostly si-fi movies) that go way over the line with suspension of disbelief. Especially the recent biggies like x-men, Spiderman and that G-awful Matrix. Actually, as a si-fi writer, it makes me kinda sad that such offerings can become so popular.

Lyra Jean
03-31-2007, 08:59 PM
Part of this question is those (mostly si-fi movies) that go way over the line with suspension of disbelief. Especially the recent biggies like x-men, Spiderman and that G-awful Matrix. Actually, as a si-fi writer, it makes me kinda sad that such offerings can become so popular.

It's sci-fi or SF not si-fi. Sorry it just jumped out at me. It kinda hurts my brain.

Jamesaritchie
03-31-2007, 09:18 PM
Part of this question is those (mostly si-fi movies) that go way over the line with suspension of disbelief. Especially the recent biggies like x-men, Spiderman and that G-awful Matrix. Actually, as a si-fi writer, it makes me kinda sad that such offerings can become so popular.


I love those movies. Well, not Matrix, but the others. I'm an SF fan, too, but when I watch those movies I know I'm not watching SF, I'm watching fantasy. I have no trouble at all suspending my disbelief. I'm there to enjoy a good story with good characters, not to watch reality TV.

It's been my experience, that with a few exceptions, the more realistic SF is, the less popular it will be as a movie or TV show. I don't think this is a good thing or a bad thing. Unrealistic movies such as Spiderman can do the real job of storytelling, which is showing character and the human condition, every bit as well, and often better, than realistic SF.

lfraser
03-31-2007, 09:36 PM
Just recently I read a nine-volume fantasy series from the first book to the last, and noticed quite a few inconsistencies. They don't bother me. To me it's just proof that writing is damned hard, and even the best writers sometimes make mistakes.

Sage
03-31-2007, 10:06 PM
I lost track of days in my first book and had the MC going to a bank on what would have been a Sunday. Luckily, the copyeditor caught it.This is one that I'm always paranoid about (in fact I was just thinking about it this morning). "Okay, so the MC goes to the bank one day, but gets her paycheck two days before that. She can't possibly get paid on Friday then."