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-   -   Are these vital mistakes? (http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/open-dv-discussion/3037-these-vital-mistakes.html)

Michael Chen August 6th, 2002 08:16 AM

Are these vital mistakes?
I just realised that i made a big mistake in one of my short films.

Its not really noticeable , but I'd like to know whether are these mistakes vital? as I am plannin to submit them to one of the film festival over here where the deadline is next week.
And I got no time to reshoot the scene since one of the actresses is leaving abroad for studies :(

Ok here goes, one of the scenes, the leading actress wore a necklace, but then in the next couple of scenes, she didnt .

I've heard that its the story that counts, but are these mistakes excuseable?
I cant cut out the scenes involved as it'll interrupt the flow of the story. I know I dont look out for such things when I watch a movie, but will judges take note?

Its not easy to notice it either, i just hope that they wont.
So just wanna know whether the mistakes of not wearing necklace, earrings, watches etc is excuseable..

This is one great lesson I learnt :(
Hope that this will serve as a reminder to beginners like me.

Chris Hurd August 6th, 2002 08:40 AM

Hi Michael,

The type of continuity break you've suffered is commonly called a "gaffe." People have different definitions for that term but I've always felt that it meant a small mistake, a forgiveable one. Some of the most famous movies in the world contain bigger gaffes than a missing necklace. These little oversights didn't seem to hurt their boxoffice that much, so neither should yours.

See http://www.movie-mistakes.co.uk/

and http://www.nitpickers.com/

...for starters. Hey, at least the boom mic wasn't in the shot! Er, right?

Adrian Douglas August 6th, 2002 08:45 AM

I bet it's not a mistake you will make again ay. That's one of the good things about doing what your doing Michael, you learn from your mistakes and you end up better for it.

As for the competition, you could try removing the necklace in post but it would take time. They might pick it, they might not, the joys of competition. Commercial productions have people who's job it is to check for these things, it's called continuity, but as it is your first go and with your deadline, I'd be inclined to leave it as it is as put it down to experience.

Just don't make the same mistake twice. Good luck with the comp.

Michael Chen August 6th, 2002 09:51 AM

You are rite chris. The boom mic wasnt in the shot coz i wasnt using any hehehe. Couldnt afford those at the moment.

At first i thought that my marks should be severely deducted for making such mistakes, but after hearing these i felt much better.

Thanks for telling ! As usual, this board helps. I also checked out the nitpicks website your provided. Wow i didnt realise that big hollywood films make such mistakes too. Interesting site :)

Yeah I wont make such mistakes again. Didnt really know that I had to keep track of all these at first, just kept track of the clothes they are wearing.
Btw I was wondering,
who's suppose to keep track of these during production? I mean at times, there are numerous actors involved. For a beginner's film like mine, I know I am the one who should do this. But how bout bigger/commercial films?

Chris Hurd August 6th, 2002 10:00 AM

On large productions, there is a person assigned to Continuity. Sometimes more than one person. In your case, you should delegate this responsibility as you already have too much to do. Perhaps it would be a good assignment not for your lead but for a secondary actor or actress, if you don't have someone already specifically assigned to wardrobe.

fargogogo August 6th, 2002 10:09 AM

I once shot a scene in a gradeschool classroom. We used a real class full of kids along with 5 kid actors. it was at the end of the school day, so I shot all the wide shots first. Then we let the class of kids go home, and I shot the rest of the scene...which was the tight shots of the 5 actors. When we looked at the video later, it was obvious that the classroom was empty. I was horrified. no time to reshoot. so I edited it together anyway...AND NO ONE NOTICED!

Of course, had the closeups been just a little wider it would have been too obvious to miss. But when you see a classroom full of kids on the wideshot...and then you cut to the closeup, you just assume they're still there, even if you can't see them. fun!

Michael Chen August 6th, 2002 10:11 AM

Yup. I dont really take notice in such things when watching film also. Hope I will be as lucky as you :)

And chris,
The nitpickers website contains quite a lot of 'gaffe' you mentioned in a number of box office movies. I guess story is still the king afterall.

Lastly, I'd like to ask , is it important to take full note of this ? As I think its pretty hard especially there are so many things that can go unmatch, such as the way their hair is combed, untucked shirt, tucked shirt etc.

But nevertheless, I will try my best to avoid such mistakes.
Anyone has done this type of mistakes before? Perhaps we could share each other's experience so that we won't be making these mistakes again?

K. Forman August 6th, 2002 03:46 PM

In the movie Ben Hur, I saw a Timex on a Gladiator...

In the movies, I understand that there are people who insure continuity by taking poloroids of the set, the actors, and all other important details. Then, they can match the pictures to the real thing before each take.

Kind of like that kids game, what's different between these two pictures. Some people are good at it, others aren't. But there will always be at least one person who notices.

Michael Chen August 7th, 2002 04:43 AM

Capt Quirk,
Yeah I know that there will be people who notices it. I just wanted to know whether if it will adversely affect the quality of the film produced.
I wanted to redo that particular scene, but the actress will be leaving soon and doesnt have the time.
Thats the bad thing about getting volunteers, they can stop helping anytime :(

Would like to get your opinion, should I pester them to come for one more time? I've tried calling and asked them to come for just a few mins, and they have refused. .
Just one scene, and it'll be fine. But they do not want to help saying that they are busy and stuff. darn difficult :(

K. Forman August 7th, 2002 07:32 AM

Nah... I wouldn't sweat the small stuff. Let it fly!

Michael Chen August 7th, 2002 11:36 AM

I'll just try and see how it goes.
by the way, I got some really urgent question that I need to ask. I've posted this under post production, but I think not many people go there.

Can someone help me out with my question?
Thanks a lot.

Ralph Keyser August 7th, 2002 12:32 PM

Yep, just chalk it up to experience and don't worry about it. Continuity breaks like that are a mistake, but not fatal.
There's a whole community of people that look for goofs like that in big-budget feature films, and they find plenty of them, so don't feel too bad.

If you're lucky enough to have a Script Supervisor, I often ask them to keep track of continuity issues. They are focused on which shot we are working on and which take is good, so they are in a great position to pay attention to the set details. On real productions, there is a dedicated continuity person (often working with the script supervisor). A cheap digital or Polaroid camera is a huge help in remembering what things look like. Since we often use 'practical' sets (i.e. someone actually lives in that apartment) getting things back exactly like they were is a real art form.

Good luck at the festival!

Michael Chen August 7th, 2002 07:55 PM


I am submittin my film on saturday. Before that i need to confirm a few things.

If anyone is free, perhaps you could go to http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?s=&threadid=3033

to help me out?

Michael Wisniewski August 7th, 2002 08:53 PM

I wouldn't worry about it too much there's a whole list of those types of gaffes just on the movie Star Wars! Look it up on the Internet and you won't feel so bad, there's one spot where a storm trooper tries to enter a door in the Death Star and knocks his head on the door... hilarious, then there's the Darth Vader/ObiWanKanobi fight where you can see the light saber "stick" instead of the special effect.

The good thing about this aside from the fact that Lucas made those gaffes is that most people never ever noticed them, (myself included) until of course somebody pointed them out.

Of course who's to say what the judges of any festival will say right?

Charles Papert August 7th, 2002 10:52 PM


Having separate script and continuity persons is a great idea, unfortunately one that has been all but done away with. I have yet to work on a feature or episodic show where the jobs haven't been combined (we're talking up to $70 million level here).! The below-the-line (i.e. crew) budgets just keep squeezing tighter and tighter...ugh.

I will say that there are certain things that we have to make judgement calls on during the course of the day in terms of continuity, and whether it is worth reshooting or not. The oft-heard phrase is "if they're looking at that, they're looking at the wrong thing..." but of course in the era of DVD, it's all too likely that repeated viewings will reveal gaffes in virtually every film. Often they are noticed in the post process, but judged to be acceptable.

Michael, my advice to you is don't worry about it. If the story is compelling and the film is well made, that should override a simple wardrobe miscontinuity.

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