The Blooper Reel (Part 2)

Dear Reader,

Some bloopers look pretty fake, but I assure you, all the mistakes that I made while filming my web series “Pretty… If You Squint” airing on Youtube fall 2022 were all 100% due to my own genuine failures (#authentic lol). In part one of this post (here), I began to list some of the filming errors that I made for the PIYS series, in this post, I will continue where I left off and reveal more filming errors that caused me great frustration (and a small amount of amusement, to be honest).

Timing

As there is one actor in this production (moi), there are many moments when I have to stage dialogue with myself. With advanced technology (thank you, Adobe Premiere Pro!) editing in voices is a piece of cake. However, making sure to leave enough time for these voices when filming the sequence has been challenging for me. For example, at the end of episode six, Raven (the fictionalized version of me) has a short dialogue with an off-screen character. When filming, I did not leave enough time for this character’s lines. As a result, I ended up cutting out some of the non-essential words to squeeze in the audio and ended up inserting a few filler shots (of background items) to allow more time for audio.

Episode 6 – Filler footage

Sunglasses

When you have to create a few different character looks, sunglasses are a great costume accessory to have. However, when it comes to sunglasses and bright set lights, there WILL be a reflection on the lenses. While filming, I did not look at the playback too much, so I didn’t immediately notice that the camera and the lights were clearly reflected in the colored lenses. However, once I began editing, the reflection of the camera in the glasses’ lens was very obvious (even jarring as it broke the reality of the scene). By using the “Gaussian Blur” effect on Adobe Premiere Pro, I was able to soften the reflection a little bit, but moving forward, I just need to be more careful with sunglasses on set!

Episode 5 – camera reflected in the glasses (which I attempted to blur out)

Script Rewrites

Before filming an episode, I would reread and make edits on the script one final time. While working with episode five, I unfortunately did not read the script carefully enough, because I made one contextual error that I had to correct. This episode concerns a psychic. I was toying around with the sort of feat the psychic should perform and considered the final three options: 1. a palm reading, 2. a tarot card reading, or 3. a crystal ball reading. Immediately, I was in favor of the crystal ball reading, as it captures the classic psychic image; however, I was also against it as I did not want to purchase an expensive crystal ball. The tarot card reading also posed the same cost problem, so I decided to keep the palm reading in the script. However, several weeks later, I decided that a crystal ball app would be funnier than the ball itself (and a free alternative), so I wrote the crystal ball app into the script but forgot to eliminate the palm-reading reference. I didn’t realize this mistake until after I had filmed the palm reading line, so I had to add a clunky bit of clarification to explain why the palm reading wasn’t happening. << That was so complicated to explain, but long story short — make sure to read and revise ALL parts of the script.

Slip of the Tongue

One of the songs that I wrote for the show features the alphabet song sung backward. Instead of Googling the alphabet, I just typed it out backward from memory…. Welp, I made a mistake. I wrote “J-H-I” instead of “J-I-H.” When I record songs, I listen to them on a loop for a long time to make sure that there aren’t any obvious mistakes. It wasn’t until days after the song’s completion that I finally caught the letter-order error. This small mistake took so much time and energy to correct that it low-key broke my spirit. Because I ended up inserting replacement audio after the fact, the revised “J-I-H” section sounds a little off to my ears, but all in all, I’d rather have a little audio awkwardness than an incorrect alphabet sequence. (Side note, this song did not even make it into the final cut of the episode)

Enunciation is hard

Ms. Sinclair. I never realized how hard it was to say something as simple as “Ms. Sinclair” until I recorded the line on camera. The “zz” sound from “Ms.” combined with the “ss” sound from “Sinclair” is trickier than you would expect to say out loud (give it a go!). I so often botched takes because I made little enunciation errors such as this one (jumbling and slurring my words). If it wasn’t clear to me before, I now know for sure that I should never become an audiobook reader.

Makeup

Boy, am I bad with makeup. I made a number of makeup errors this past season (many of which can be easily seen in the published episodes). In episode one, I totally forgot to put on mascara (no, I was not going for the no-makeup look lol), which is very evident in a few closeups. Also, in episode eight (as well as in at least one other), lipstick smears around my mouth are visible. While this mess usually occurs between takes (like when drinking water for example), in episode eight, it actually happened on-screen, as I press a plastic bag to my mouth and then remove it (which just sounds strange out of context…).

Episode 8 – Lipstick smear

Making this web series was a learning experience indeed! It was so much work, and I was very fortunate to be able to make time for it this summer. Honestly, I do not know whether I will have the means/ opportunity to undertake such an opportunity any time in the future, so I’m glad I’m getting everything done now while the stars are in alignment.

Pretty… If You Squint” is coming to you soon (August 31, 2022) on YouTube! Follow me on Instagram for all the updates.

Love,

Raven

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