I’m not a film critic who claims to have seen them all or plays hard to impress. I was, however, astounded recently by something that in many films is usually an overlooked detail.

Subtitles. Oh yes, those slightly annoying words for those of us forced to read them when we don’t speaka-da-lingo. We spend hours with our eyes flicking between the action / drama / suspense / romance visuals and the written dialogue kindly transcribed into our mother-tongue for our reading pleasure. We need them, yet it’s a chore to read them.

Until recently. I spotted a film on TV that ticked enough boxes to suggest it might be worth watching. The nagging worry was that it was Russian! And with the greatest of respect to our Russian comrades, Russia has hardly been the epicentre of cinematic genius to rival Hollywood, Elstree, Ealing, New York and of course BBC Television Centre. But hey, in for a penny in for a Rouble…

Within minutes my wife and I had to rewind the film back a few seconds to check what we saw wasn’t the result of some bizarre collective hallucination. Yes, we DID see the man’s hand move in front of the words. There look, he’s done it again!

Anyhow, for the next two hours we were REALLY watching the subtitles (sad actually!), in awe of the ideas. I’m telling you, the production meetings for subtitling this film must have taken almost as long as shooting the footage.

Subtitles rippling to mimic watery scenes. Subtitles blowing away like smoke or autumnal leaves. Capitalised key words when they were SHOUTED LOUDLY!!!!! N**ghty words in RED from time to time. And many more simple effects, that genuinely added something to the whole film experience. They didn’t distract. It wasn’t a chore to read them. They “leveraged additional value” in finance-speak!

So… what mundane, chore-like, overlooked detail in your business can you change so radically that not only does it add value, it sets you apart and makes your entire business more memorable?

Answers in the comments box please..

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