Why Looking Behind the Scenes is Important

By Monday, May 02, 2016 ,

I’ve always been a behind-the-scenes/bonus features/research girl. Even when I was a young child watching animated Disney movies and The Wizard of Oz, I was intrigued by the extras that described the making of the movie. This interest has now spilled into basically every entertainment area. I read up on the authors of books I enjoy, I look up the actors in a Broadway show I’ve just seen, and I dig up everything I can on a movie or show I really like. Bonus features, articles, and interviews with actors and directors will soon be scrutinized. Since I finished the Harry Potter books, I’ve spent many a free moment watching interviews with the film stars, hence I now know details about them and the making of the movies that some might find strange. But it’s what I do! I love it. 

And that being the case, I’ve recently thought about why I love knowing the behind-the-scenes stuff when many people I know really dont care. As long as the movie or book entertains them, that’s all they need. But I honestly don’t get that! How can you not be intrigued by the people who portray characters you love on the screen? How are you not curious about how an author came up with the idea behind that book you just devoured? It really makes no sense to me, so I’ve been thinking about why all those details interest me so much, and I think it comes back to the fact that it forces you to go deeper and it takes you out of yourself.

Similar to my thoughts on why history is important, I’d actually argue that many people need to care about behind-the-scenes details more than they do. You don’t have to be an all-out nerd like me, but knowing something about what went into making this piece of entertainment is valuable. Here’s why.

1. Looking behind the scenes broadens perspective and deepens understanding of the story 
You’re very naturally and subconsciously forming opinions on a story as you watch or read. But obviously (at least I hope it’s obvious), others who read or watch that same thing will have different opinions or understandings of it, and it’s good to have your opinion challenged and stretched. When you listen to thoughts from the actors, authors, or directors, you’re hearing a perspective with unique authority on the story or a character. Simply put, we do well to listen to that. It expands our view of the story and can change our feelings on a certain character. What’s more, listening to behind-the-scenes details inevitably pulls you more deeply into the story. A character has more meaning once you’ve heard an actor talk about the research they did to portray him or her. You’re immersed more personally in a story when you listen to an author’s account of their early book sketches, their research, their feelings toward certain characters, and their thought processes while writing certain plotlines.

2. Looking behind the scenes commands respect 
Behind-the-scenes details show you the enormous work that went into creating this piece of art. Quite simply, it reminds you that the book, movie, TV show, or play you just enjoyed didn’t appear out of thin air for you. Long hours of work went into it, and we are better for knowing something about it. Actors work hard to explore and know their characters, authors research and concentrate for hours to write a book, and film crews work around the clock in many cases to make a movie. There is so much labor involved in bringing a story to life on a page or a screen, and when you listen to what those workers have to say about it, respect and enjoyment can both increase. You are drawn outside of yourself and forced to more fully appreciate even the smallest details about that book, TV show, or film. 

So today, why not look up an interview with an actor in your favorite movie or TV show? Or read up a little on the author of a favorite book? You may find it more enjoyable than you think! Here are a few of my favorite behind-the-scenes resources if you want a place to start:

The Masterpiece Studio Podcast 
Downton Abbey, Final Season: Cast Panel Q&A 
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Children’s Magical Journey 
A Conversation with Daniel Radcliffe and J.K. Rowling 
Poldark Cast Q&A

Do you enjoy looking behind the scenes? What are your favorite interviews or resources? I’d love to hear and would love new suggestions!

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