Plenty of mistakes were made in the making of my web series “Pretty… If You Squint” (more here). It has been fun (and a lot of work) making the web series of comedic shorts (to be released on the Pretty… If You Squint YouTube channel fall 2022) and I find my series of bloopers to be mostly amusing. Also, because I’m not a perfectionist, when you see the series in the fall, you will also have the pleasure of seeing some of these mistakes on your screen too (lol). So, here is a list of the things that didn’t quite go as planned.
Recording Equipment In the Shot
As a kid, I would get a small thrill when noticing a recording error in a TV series or movie like when a camera person or a boom operator would be at the edge of the frame. What a silly mistake to make, right? This genre of bloopers happened way too often for me. As a solo production person, I had to (wo-)man the camera all on my own while acting on-screen. This wasn’t too hard, as my camera screen faces me, so I can make sure that I’m in the frame while shooting. However, because it’s a small screen, I may not notice right away if a piece of recording equipment is in the shot. Most commonly, my mistake was accidentally leaving my camera remote (to zoom in/ out and press record) in the shot. This error is most prominent in episode one when I left the remote on the bed (whoops!). The blooper is also noticeable (but less so) in episode five, when the camera equipment is in my hand as I open a mailbox (also whoops!), as well as in a few other episodes (I can only keep so many balls in the air at one time!).
Overheating Computer Noises
I ended up recording many voiceover tracks (for off-screen characters or narration sequences) in the series. Early on, my big mistake was recording these tracks while my computer was overheating and the internal fan was whirring loudly. In the end, the audio came out with a roar in the background that my editing software could not completely cancel out (ugh!).
A continuity error occurs when actions are inconsistent between takes. For example, a character is seen smoking a stubby cigarette that is almost at its end, but then, two seconds later, it is fresh and long again without the character needing to light up once more. When you do multiple takes of the same scene it can be so easy to make these little errors. For example, in episode 5, I am holding a piece of paper in one manner, then, the camera jumps to another angle and my hands are in a different alignment.
You can only control the camera so much when you are also the one acting in front of it. Although I have a pretty good camera (highly rated for vloggers), the autofocus function would at times cut in and out, focusing on the “wrong” thing, which made some scenes appear weirdly blurry at times.
I shot a scene where I am running out of the woods in a terrified panic. To get clearer audio, I decided to record the screaming and panting after the fact. However, when I video taped the scene originally… I forgot to open my mouth as if I were screaming and panting. Therefore, in the final version, there are screams/ pants coming from a closed-mouthed person (whoops).
This error could have been so easily avoided, but it happened. In episode two, I read an email off my computer screen. I wrote in the script exactly what the email says, but for some reason, when I went to type the phony email, I didn’t consult the script at all. So, in the final cut, I am reading the scripted words, but on screen you see the email’s words do not match up… at all. (How embarrassing.)
At the time of this writing, I have not yet finished filming all of the episodes in the series… which is to say, there will probably more errors to come! Stay tuned 🙂