10 Things That I Notice in Movies and TV Shows – How Much Creative Liberty is Too Much? | #Blogtober22 – Day 5

Over the past few months, starting with my huge break from social media at the beginning of the year, I’ve started watching TV shows in a foreign language. I won’t say which one because I’m not ready to reveal that yet. But watching these shows and getting obsessed with them to the point where I rewatch every show in quick succession has made me realize one thing about myself: I tend to notice small details that were probably written off as creative liberty. While sometimes this liberty can be dismissed, at other times, the event in question has such a tiny possibility of happening in real life that leaving it as it is borders on the bizarre.

This takes me back a few years when I was on the sets of a film working with a now-famous Telugu movie director as a scriptwriter. I watched as a couple of scenes were filmed and realized that technically, given the layout, it wouldn’t have been possible for the event to happen. I mentioned it to the director and he smiled and said simply, “Creative liberty.” I understood then that we’ve got to leave some things to creative liberty and there’s only so much we can control. So I shrugged it off and went on with my life, lesson learnt.

However, now that I no longer am a part of that industry, I feel like my eyes have become more incisive as they look at a scene. Or maybe, since I was watching these foreign language shows as a way of distracting myself from myself, all my senses were locked in to whatever I was watching. That’s what helped me get through those months. So whenever there was an angle that didn’t mirror the actors’ reactions, my mind recorded it. Whenever there was something out of place, my mind screamed it. Whenever things happened that shouldn’t have or that wasn’t in line with what the show was about, my mind just went nuts.

Of course, this isn’t to blame the creatives working on these shows. Creative liberty exists after all and I know that it’s super difficult to keep track of all the shots and all the things to be taken care of amidst all the chaos of filming. I’m just pointing out the things that I notice in movies and TV shows that could probably have been tweaked to make them look natural. But then again, to be fair, the very fact that these details are so minor demands kudos to everyone who works so hard into making these as realistic as they possibly can.

Plus, it’s supposed to be fiction. I guess I’ll just do my little list of things that I notice in movies and TV shows and we can go back to believing that this fiction is what’s real while we’re living these stories.

1. Makeup and Hair – The Angles Matter!

When the makeup or hair from one angle is completely different from what is seen from another angle, I go: ‘Hmm, it wasn’t like that, huh?’ A prime example of this is a video that a popular Indian content creator group made with Alia Bhatt. In it, Alia is playing chess with a ‘teacher’ and in one shot, she has a ponytail and when the shot cuts away, her hair is open and loose. It’s just a fraction of a second long, but oh that bothered me to no end. I noticed this because the video is super entertaining and I watched it like 15-20 times. 😛

2. The Food Eating!

When the protagonists have food, it’s always a table full of it, irrespective of whether they are two people or twenty. And all they have is a bite of cucumber, a sip or two of coffee, and a piece of bread or roti. The table is still full when they are done with their meal, and I’m here like, “Dei. What did you eat? Liar liar, pants on fire.”

The biggest thing about this that bothers me is the beverages they have. The cups that they hold are so obviously empty that I roll my eyes. For example, the movie Jab Tak Hai Jaan. In the scene where they stop on their way back from meeting Katrina’s mother, SRK’s character brings ‘coffee’. The bounce in his step proved that those takeaway cups were empty. Nobody walks like that with two full cups of coffee! And when they’re having coffee or tea in ceramic cups or mugs, the moment they bring it back down from their lips, my eyes look into the mug and on not finding a beverage stain, again, roll themselves to no end. Coffee and tea leave stains. Please. For the love of God.

3. Did You Know That Cooking is Cutting Vegetables & Fruits?

In a lot of movies and TV shows, the characters cut, cut, cut, and that’s what they call ‘cooking’. I mean, it sounds weird coming from a horrible cook like me and there’s probably an equal number of shows and movies where they show the actual cooking. But more often than not, the amount of cutting they do and the actual food they put out on the table have no relation with each other whatsoever. And as to the amount of food on the said table? Refer to the previous point.

4. Inconsistency in Movements – Flash & Quicksilver Would Be Proud.

In one show that I watched recently, there was an overhead shot of a couple walking down an aisle formed by their family. Their daughter (about 5 years old) was quite a bit of a distance away. The aisle was short enough that the daughter couldn’t have run all that way towards them in the time it took for them to cross it. Yet, when the shot cut to them from the front, there she was! I was like… HOW DID SHE RUN SO FAST? And then I mentally smack myself because LEAVE THEM ALONE. XD

5. Props (To The Prop Department?)

My humble opinion: if you’re going to use a prop, use it fully. Don’t make the actor hold it in one shot, leave it in the next, and in the final shot, they have it again so that they can drop it to the floor for dramatic effect. This pricked at every corner of my mind when I watched this particular scene, which is a shame because it’s a beautifully emotional one. Fix it in the editing at least? Please? Pretty please?

6. Makeup and Hair – AGAIN!

When the actors wake up with a full face of makeup, it just makes me grit my teeth because there’s no way in hell they sleep with that makeup on and their skin looks so good. 😛 Oh, and their hair is combed and perfect. Why? Because they sleep in one dainty position whereas mine is a bird’s nest when I wake up because I sleep like I’ve just put my hair through the mixer. This is why I have a special place in my heart for any character who actually looks like they’ve gotten out of bed – sans all the makeup and with hair that will take at least 10 minutes to untangle. It’s realistic.

7. Driving – Fictional Characters are Immune to Accidents.

Dude, I know you’re a fictional character, but making fiction look like it was real would mean that if someone didn’t look at the road for so long, it would spell out ‘accident’. So please. I know you’re super in love with the person sitting beside you, but please, look at the road more frequently.

8. Not Repeating Outfits as a Middle-Class Woman.

(I can’t even make up a funny headline for this.)

I tried keeping a track of a main character from an earlier series and was so amused that the middle-class protagonist never ever repeats an outfit. Her wardrobe is small, too, so where is she keeping all her clothes? If they aren’t rich and don’t have that much money, how is she getting all these clothes? She doesn’t even repeat nightclothes and I’m here like: I don’t want to be rich. I want to be that brand of middle class. 😛

9. It’s All About Perspective.

Conversation angles is probably a weird one to get fixated on. However, it doesn’t necessarily bother me as much as I go, ‘oh, that’s an interesting observation’ every time I see this. I can’t really explain it without an example, so here goes. When, say, character A is talking to character B and we’re seeing the scene from A’s perspective, B is sitting in one position, be it slouching in their chair or their chin resting in their hands or them leaning forward with their elbows on their knees. But when the camera moves to focus on A and you can still see B, their position is nothing as to what it originally looked like from A’s POV. It’s a weird little thing, but nobody can switch positions like that, especially when the person they’re having a conversation with is still talking.

10. Knock, Knock! Who’s There?

Honestly, I don’t know why the topic of there being pictures of moments where there were supposed to be no cameras has settled down in my brain. I’m not complaining, really, because again, creative liberty yada yada yada. But every time one such picture crops up in the story where the protagonists were supposed to be spending alone time or a group of friends are so smashed there’s no way they could have clicked pictures, I go, “HEY THERE WAS NO ONE ELSE THERE! HOW?!” A couple of these shows that I’ve been watching have such pictures in droves and every time I saw them, I wondered, “Who clicked all these pictures?” It’s like one of those tingly sensations that isn’t a bother but you can’t really ignore or wipe away.

These were the things that I notice in movies and TV shows that I recollected off the top of my head. I’m sure that I will find more as time goes by. If and when I do, I will make sure to do another blog post about it. 😊

So what did you think of this blog post? Did you like it? Did you not like it? Do you agree with these points? What are some things that you notice in movies and TV shows? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you! 😊

I’ll see you in tomorrow’s Blogtober post. 

Until next time, keep reading and add melodrama to your life! 😀

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