Attention to detail. You’ve heard it as an important principle in writing authentic fiction and nonfiction. But who makes sure a movie pays attention to that detail? The script supervisor.
Today’s video is a seven-minute education for a job that few appreciate. Our eyes will even pass over that name in the film credits.
An editor will play this role with your book!
Wow! I never realized how tedious filming can be. But then, I didn’t find out how time-consuming publishing can be until recently.
So…if the average person wouldn’t catch the errors in a film, does that mean the same person might not catch errors in a book?
Linda Riggs Mayfield
What a demanding job! I’ve seen posts showing errors that got overlooked in major movies. The company referred to in the clip is JOANNE Fabrics, not Joanne’s Fabrics. ?
The actors call it “Joann’s Fabrics.” The top sheet in the folder has “JOANN FABRIC.” The company website says the correct name is “JOANN Fabric and Craft Stores.” I enjoy finding discrepancies and fixing them. Guess that’s why I’m a freelance editor! 🙂
Yes!! This is fascinating. When I worked in the Fine Arts costume department for six years, we had to pay attention to these details as well.
These skills played a huge part in my writing and editing too. There’s always something to learn; that’s why every writer and editor should own the main style guides. (Chicago Manual of Style and Christian Writers Manual of Style.)
Uh-oh. I have a feeling this is going to change the way I watch movies from now on. I’ll be checking out the props in every scene! ?
Linda Riggs Mayfield
Good advice! The newspaper for which I have written history columns since ’12 recently switched from Chicago style to Associated Press style. ? I wonder if that’s a trend. All US academic presses to which my clients and I have submitted articles except the journal for the AMA require APA. Australia has its own style guide mandated/ adopted at the national level for ALL publications, popular press books as well as academic papers. It requires extremely minimal capitalization and punctuation, in fact, the guide title is “Style manual.” (Two of my clients were submitting in Australia.) Editors really do have to make sure what the publishers require, and writers can prevent the need for a lot of editing if they follow the standard of their target publisher as they write. I think self-published books look a lot more professional if they are compliant with a known standard, too.
You’re right, Linda. The Chicago Manual of Style is what traditional book publishers use, but most newspapers and journalistic-style magazines use the Associated Press Stylebook. And oh, how I wish self-published book authors followed the standard style guides that traditional publishers use. It would indeed make them look more professional.
Kathy — great point
I absolutely despise the CMS. Bang my head on a table. Try to create cheat sheets (like that works). It does help us learn the craft. I also hate Strunk and White. How old can a revered book be relevant? Blech.
I have both.
Self-published authors must learn the craft, then hire a professional editor (with years under their belt). It lends to the credibility of the author regardless of the price vs. the royalties.
However I have a few other books I can compare with both. How to break the rules at the right time (for better writers than me). ‘It was the Best of Times, it was the Worst of Times.’ ‘Writing Well.’ And a half-dozen on my table.
Slows the writing down! But the CMS, oh argh, has 14 pages on commas. Bangs head again.
Great post! I have seen a zillion errors in not just films, but a reality disconnect in my writing with the help of an agent. Those gatekeepers are essential.
Editing is everything.
I do have a question. When a manuscript is out there, and not yet accepted, if errors are corrected, is the second pass where one hires a copyeditor, etc.?
Clueless in the Pacific Northwest
THAT is.. before the second pass to the agent/publishing house?
If one hires a professional freelance editor before one puts the manuscript “out there,” one will have a far better chance of acceptance by an agent or publishing house!
I agree. Kinda in a sad way (personal reasons) but yes, despite the fact that most pro publishing houses will request more.
I tend to notice detail in general and I’m a detail person which can be a hindrance in some ways. I enjoy watching movies over and over and each time notice things I didn’t catch the 2nd or 4th time. I’ll look at the environment closer which helps me appreciate the movie even more. Can you imagine what it was like filming The Poseidon Adventure?
Sheri Dean Parmelee, Ph.D
Fantastic! One scene I always felt was funny was a shot of Stacey. Gregory House’s girlfriend, and her moving pencil. She was first seen with it behind her ear, then in her mouth, then gone, and then back behind her ear. She was not writing anything down in the scene, so why did she have a pencil in the first place?