Authenticism .. or not?

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Authenticism .. or not?

Post by TimStannard »

This has come out of a discussion on the BIAFF 2017 thread, but I've pulled it out as it is tangential to the main thrust of the thread. I've agreed with Howard Smith for the past few weeks about how ridiculous it is that a judge saw fit to look up the postcode seen very briefly in one of his films. Then Michael Slowe has said "Silly minor points that you refer to are, we all agree, nothing to do with judging a film. I actually noticed a glaring mistake in the BIAFF film Archway 0173, but it didn't matter one iota"

But this has got me thinking. Actually it does matter!

How many letters have been written to the Daily Telegraph about how such and such a locomotive could never have been in the region depicted in this or that BBC TV drama? My father would regularly comment on it.

Most of us will laugh at it - it doesn't matter, after all.

But I say again, it does matter - and here's why. When we are creating a drama we want it to be as believable as possible. Surely our objective is to engross our audience in the story. Anything that is not believable takes us out of the story, reminds us we are merely watching a film. Now I won't be taken out of the story if an LNER locomotive is shown in the West Country, but there are plenty who will be (many of them IAC members, I suspect)

Michael Slowe spotted the inaccurate phone number, not because he is a phone number geek, but by virtue of the fact he lived in the area when those codes were in use. Whether or not it spoiled the film for him, he was taken out of the story, however briefly, and I doubt anyone would disagree that it would have been better had he not.

Whether it's a digital watch worn by a Roman Centurion or the wrong colour livery for a locomotive in 1956 it is wrong and potentially takes the viewer our of the moment. The only difference is how many people might spot it.

So I've changed my opinion somewhat. As amateurs we might be hard pressed to get footage of our cast alighting from the correct carriage for the location in which our story takes place, but we can get phone numbers and postcodes correct with a little effort. Most of out audience won't notice, but why not cover ourselves and get it right?

Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it
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Dave Watterson
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Re: Authenticism .. or not?

Post by Dave Watterson »

My favourite example of this was back in the days of black-and-white tv ... Scottish Television made a serial version of Rob Roy whose title sequence was a sword-fight over heather and rough ground. They had complaints from viewers because some of the weeds in the grass had not been brought into this country at the time the drama was set.

I agree with Tim's point that such details do often matter. I have lost count of how often we have seen a first world war drama where the soldiers wore strange uniforms and had long hair.

The very fact that the film makers have not noticed such details, seem to me cause for someone else to tell them.

I doubt if such things make any difference to the overall rating given to films ... they are just a pointer to faults the film maker may not be aware of.
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