Everybody Makes Mistakes

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This past weekend, two bloopers occurred on TV. Right there for everybody to see.

The most tweeted / memed / posted about was a scene showing a Starbucks Coffee Cup on the medieval set of HBO’s Game Of Thrones. Now we all know that Daenerys Stormborn prefers latte over wine or ale.

It’s easy to understand how this one happened. What we see on TV is 20 or 30 actors and extras and lots of moving parts. What we don’t see are all the cameras, boom operators, gaffers, and staff that are supposed to catch all of this for continuity. In the hustle and bustle of shooting this, somebody dropped the ball. But they – the actors and crew – were ALL there watching this being filmed. And everybody missed it.

The other incident occurred on NBC’s Saturday Night Live. Early in the show, Adam Sandler did a bit as a tour operator advertising tours of Italy. Notice the typo in this screen grab.

Typos happen. You could say it’s because it’s a LIVE TV show, but this part isn’t created live. It’s created days in advance. It’s rehearsed. I’m sure more than a few people looked at that lower third before it went to air. Nobody caught it.

These two shows, SNL and Game of Thrones, are run by dozens, maybe hundreds of people, all trying to get things right. But somebody goofed. And it’s not a single person that goofed. Lots and lots of people missed these errors. They have some of the most talented and detail-oriented staff working for them and even they messed up.

Everybody makes mistakes.

I once did a small project for some friends of mine. They were getting married so, as a gift, I made them souvenir stadium cups for the event. I came up with a clever design, included their names, the date, etc. We all reviewed the design. They loved it. Each of their parents loved it. The caterer even commented on how cool the art was.

I received the printed order a week before the event. They turned out even better in person. Others in my office agreed. I delivered the cups and the couple was ecstatic. They really turned out nice.

Later, the caterer noticed that the YEAR was wrong. WTF? It was a stupid error. They were married in 2010. I’d printed 2009. What a big DUMMY! So many people had looked at them, gushed over the art, and yet nobody caught the error.

How could this have happened? How could it have gone to press, after all the people that reviewed the art?

The devil is in the details.

Everybody was so wrapped up in the concept, that nobody checked the details. The minutiae that makes or breaks the project. Luckily, this particular cup printer was able to turn around a reprint order quickly, so we didn’t miss the wedding. We all had a good laugh about it.

The bottomline is: everybody makes mistakes. We can try our best, check every box, and still mess up. Note that it happened, learn from it, and move on. Mistakes just happen. We try to catch ‘em all. That’s all we can do.

Do you think Daenerys continued enjoying her latte after the director yelled “cut”?

Picture of Rich Graham

Rich Graham

Purveyor of branded swag and merch. Host to 3 kidneys. Uncredited contributor at @nbcsnl Chief Imagination Officer at @bigpromotions. Podcaster at http://bigpromocast.com
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