Bloop bloop!

Even Toy Story manufactured bloopers to go on their credits

Bloopers, outtakes, gag-reels. They’re all the same thing. They’re a record of the funniest gaffs and unused takes. When movies were created on film, they were more of a problem, due to the costs involved in the material itself. This not only meant that extra takes were expensive, but care must be kept in order to keep the film itself in perfect order. As modern technology advances, recording video footage has become extremely cheap – SD cards can hold a fair amount of memory – and then they can be transferred to hard drives – also very cheap now. You can get a 2TB station for under £100 – think of it, a dual layer blu-ray holds 50GB, so that’s the equivalent to 40 blu-ray disks (and most of the time, the entire blu-ray disk isn’t used up by a single movie).

Due to the cost efficiency with digital media now, studios and filmmakers in general don’t mind bloopers quite so much. The only extra cost involved would be hiring the actors for slightly longer (although this should be taken into account when producing a film budget). This coupled with the rise of the extra features means blooper reels are getting more and more common.

One of the first set of film bloopers I saw on VHS

Even on VHS though, there were occasional blooper reels at the end – and some were even incorporated into the credits, giving people a reason to stay watching right until the very last seconds. Of course bloopers are usually on comedy films, but they also creep a lot into science fiction films and TV shows. You can scour youtube yourself for bloopers, or you can read last weeks youtube saturday on this very subject here: Click me! But I’ve found few if any bloopers for horror films, thrillers, etc…

Exxxxxx-traordinary - one of the more bizzare moments in Red Dwarfs smeg ups

Overall, I’d split bloopers into 4 main categories:

Set/Object – Whereby a set piece or an object doesn’t behave the way it’s scripted. This is a kind of physical humour that the cast really can’t be held accountable for.

Actor’s lines – This is probably the more common, and a little mundane ones. It’s not often that an actor’s mistake with lines is actually funny. Some actors play to this, while others prefer to carry on.

End of scene/deliberate – This is where an actor does something deliberately funny right at the end of the take, or occasionally in the middle of it. It’s only the very extroverted actors that do this, people like Jim Carrey or Nathan Fillion. These can often be some of the funnier outtakes, as these are unexpected more than any other outtake.

Blocking/placing/looking at camera – Probably one of the duller ones, and rarely seen on a gag-reel, simply for the fact that it’s not often funny. It’s where the camera can’t see what is meant to be seen. Say for example, an actor being too far forward, blocking another actor from camera.

Obviously this list is not exhaustive, and many bloopers fit into multiple categories, but it’s actually a little extra that the audience can appreciate about a film.

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