Saturday, September 24, 2011

Details, Details, Details

In broadcasting there's a thing called "continuity." It's a catch-all phrase that can mean a couple of different things. But, in general, it means things logically flow - characters have consistent traits, clothing remains the same, etc.

When I was in college and we had to do a video shoot, I was often the continuity person. Because things are not always shot in sequence, it was my job to make sure if someone was wearing glasses in one scene that they still had them on when the scene continued, or we saw them take them off. Continuity errors are often small - like how much water is in a glass. But they can be major, like the color of a jacket changing from one scene to the next.

Tonight I decided to watch the new show, "Unforgettable," since I was at the computer working on projects. Well, they should have hired me to manage continuity, because whoever is doing it on their set didn't do a very good job.

In one scene we see the main character from the back as she walks toward bed, naked from the waist up, as she pulls on a tank top. Soon thereafter she is seen bending over a dead body, after jumping out of that very bed, and there on her shoulder is a black bra strap peeking out of her tank top. At some point between going to bed and being awakened from a deep sleep she arose to add a bra to her nighttime attire.

It may seem like a small thing, but those little details that are ignored add up people being unable so "suspend their disbelief," an essential in all fiction - be it a book, a TV show or anything else. For a show that's all about a person who remembers everything, it was a glaring error.

Continuity errors are nothing new. Even the Canterbury Tales has one. However, I'm guessing Mr. Chaucer didn't have an entire crew devoted to preventing such things.

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