My childhood home had a very strange collection of VHS tapes. A lot of westerns, some musicals and a rag-tag selection of films recorded off the telly – remember recording films off the telly? – were available to us. They were the perfect babysitters and no one really seemed to mind about too much screen time in the 80s.
My younger sister was weirdly obsessed with The Cotton Club at around age 11 – she didn’t care it was a flop, or an 18 certificate, she just liked the tap dancing. My dad, despite being over-the-top strict about absolutely everything else (we were never allowed to play video games, for example), was completely lax about what films we watched – as I remember it, he ignored the notion of age certification completely.
We experienced the strange juxtaposition of Nana forcing us to turn off The Money Pit because Tom Hanks says half a swear word in it (this was pointless – we’d already seen it about 30 times), when I’d watched Jaws and The Shining only the week before. (Dad liked Kubrick’s shot compositions. Whatever else you say about the ghostly twins, they are symmetrical.)
So when we were approached by Everyman Cinemas to proofread their listings magazine, it was a dream come true for me. If I could proofread stuff about films all day, I’d be very happy and at this time of year it’s a lot of fun to identify the films which are all-out Oscar bids, or any potential Christmas classics. I will also gladly while away a few days on government policy or regulatory manuals – but working on copy related to a true passion does give one an advantage. Of course, just because I like the subject material doesn’t mean I pay any less attention to the details: like any job, proofreading cinema listings comes with its own set of specific requirements.
Would you know where to put the accent in Timothee Chalamet’s name?* Would you hyphenate Shang-Chi/Shang Chi?** And do you know how to spell Zach Galifianakis? I think most people would double check the last one before committing. Thankfully you don’t need to watch The Hangover Part III to confirm the spelling.
Although my all-time favourite film geek proofreading spot, in a corporate magazine, was on a still taken from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service captioned ‘Diana Rigg and Sean Connery as Mr and Mrs James Bond’! Any Bond aficionados will immediately know what’s wrong with that sentence.***
***On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was the only outing for George Lazenby as James Bond.
Image by Ajeet Mestry on Unsplash