Everybody makes mistakes. Still, when they’re captured on film, it usually means the continuity department has made a mistake, forever captured on celluloid for the world to see.
- Rain, Wetness, and a Lack Thereof
Maybe it’s pouring in a scene, or maybe a character just emerged from the shower or pool. Either way, there’s no way their hair should be so silky soft or their clothes so completely dry. Forgetting to account for rain is one of the most infamous continuity errors. This is most common in schlock and sequels such as Jaws: The Revenge and Smurfs 2, though occasionally finer cinema lets its continuity slip here too. For example, Elizabeth Taylor goes out into the pouring rain as Maggie in the 1958 version of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, but her hair’s dry and neatly styled the next time we see her.
- Holding Props the Wrong Way
Actors don’t always pay enough attention to how they’re holding or interacting with a prop. When a continuity chief doesn’t spot that, it can lead to silly little foibles, such as books or phones held the wrong way or tools being used in an obviously incorrect fashion. Not one but two characters hold their iPhones upside down in the episodes “Game Changer” and “Rash Decisions” on Modern Family.
- Easy to Spot Anachronisms
Sometimes this is just a simple if silly oversight, like the infamous Starbucks Cup being left in a shot of Game of Thrones. Other times this happens when your team doesn’t research a period well enough. For example, Braveheart is riddled with inaccuracies, including the memorable blue face paint and wearing of kilts, neither of which were accurate to that period of Scottish history.
- Teleporting Characters and Props
Did a character or prop pop up out of nowhere without an adequate introduction? Or did they just suddenly change? If so, they’re an example of this kind of continuity hiccup. A notable example is found in the French heist film Rififi, where a getaway car’s license plates change between shots.
Be careful about your continuity checks from shot to shot, and you can avoid errors like these.