Attention to Detail

There’s something about the look of daytime soaps that is unmistakable. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it’s a combination of the utter interiority of the shots, the deadness of background noise, the medium close-ups, and the sculpted cheekbones of most of the actors.

Someone has been paying attention to these little details on Days lately. I can think of at least four or five times in the past few weeks when I saw sunlight streaming into a window, and a few times I even saw a view out that window. Characters have suddenly rediscovered casual wear–no more wearing cocktail dresses to a doctor’s appointment. Kayla no longer looks like a gypsy selling costume jewelry, and Marlena has actually worn a color other than buttermilk. Actors have props to work with: Kayla rolling up her yoga mat, Bonnie shoving wads of cash down her dress, Nick eating a sandwich while he looks at Chelsea’s blog.

A special kudos to whoever designed the Phillip/mummy scenes recently, with the odd camera angles, the dim lighting, and the silent man wrapped in bandages.   Very creepy and gothic, especially when Claire was cooing and giggling at him.

At Mythic Communications today (12/5), as Kate and EJ were talking, a person, presumably an employee, twice walked through the shot behind them. Just imagine, actual work taking place.

Sami’s smokin’ red dress had a nice counterpoint in the red of EJ’s tie.

Someone who knows a lot more about music can probably analyze the background music more specifically, but I have noticed that it is less cheesy and more effective. I haven’t heard the porn soundtrack music lately.

Some things that still need work:

1. Background noise. At the police station, for example, while there are cops in the background, they never make any noise or seem to be doing anything.

2. The props are often beverages. I’m all for giving characters something to do with their hands, but it doesn’t always have to be coffee or water.

3. More outdoor shots. I know the days of location shooting are past, but isn’t there a back lot where they could shoot a few scenes?

4. I like the beginning credits and the theme song, but the ending, that frozen/turn to sepia shot (especially when embellished with flames) has got to go.

There’s been a lot of talk about the writing change, so some of these subtler things have slipped by without comment.  But they do contribute to the overall quality of the show, the feeling, while one is watching, that this is a show that is trying to be the best it can be.  I, for one, welcome it.


2 thoughts on “Attention to Detail

  1. I think these little production details really affects how I interpret the show. Some things that I would add to your (spot-on) list, things that *I* would like to see that is, are — the colors, the colors have this very homogenating effect for me, it makes all the characters seem like they’ve come from the same place in life, and I don’t think I like that. Also, the background music, I can’t think of a single piece that I really like whereas back in the 80’s (even early 90’s) I liked a whole slew of them. They have this way of making the show seem cheaper, for me.

    I like that there are writing changes, I hope we can get some production changes to really enforce a new feel to the show.

  2. I’m not as auditorially in-tune (groan …) as you are. Has there been a tad more variety to the background music, even if it’s not particularly inspired?

    (I did unfortunately hear a snippet of the porn soundtrack music yesterday during Sami and Lucas’s makeout scenes, but only a snippet, thank God.)

    Interesting point about the colors. The costuming has been inconsistent, with some characters having a style they stick with (Kate, Steve), and some being all over the place (Mimi, Belle, Kayla.) I’d like to see costumes differ across classes as well.

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