Behind the Scenes | It’s the Little Things That Make ‘Stranger Things’

Since dropping my cable provider a few months ago I’ve been at the mercy of streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and the like. Thankfully we live in a time where the content on these platforms is as good (sometimes better) than what we’ve grown accustomed to on ‘regular’ t.v.

My latest binge has come courtesy of the “strange gang” in Hawkins, Indiana. While I may be later than most to the Stranger Things party, I can say that I’ve fallen head-over-heels for this lovable crew. This show is probably one of the best shows I’ve seen from Netflix, in fact it’s actually become one of my favorite shows of all time.

Not only is it an exciting, original, thrilling story; this show is technically superb. From the large scale direction and acting, all the way down to how each scene transitions from one to another. Stranger Things puts on a masterclass during each episode and shows the rest of the industry how it’s done.

It’s the Little Things

To really understand how good this show is you first have to understand the importance of the little things.

Movies and TV shows that nail the little things are the ones we remember. They’re the ones that win awards. It’s the little things that keep us coming back for more, the things we go back to after the final credits roll to try and find a connection, the all-important Easter egg that gives us that little hint of what’s next. Most importantly, it’s the little things that let us know just how much the people that created the show or film actually cared.

Attention to detail is the name of the game and the The Duffer Brothers won the gold with Stranger Things. They have taken every detail under consideration to bring the world of 1980 Hawkins, Indiana to life on the small screen. As a viewer we’re transported to this “real” town where we’re following the stories of “real” people, and because of the ingenious scene transitions we’re never taken out of the story. It’s a non-stop ride for 53 minutes at a time.

No More ‘Fade to Black’

The creators of this show take every opportunity to be artistic. The 1980‘s are beautifully brought to life through the set and costume designs. The characters are brought to life through expertly written dialogue and brilliant acting (especially from young kids), but the real genius comes from how all of these performances are brought together in the editing room.

It’s amazing that in a dark room behind a few computer screens with a couple of people gathered around is where this strange world truly comes to life. During editing, each frame is analyzed, every line of dialogue is pieced together with the perfect shot, and it’s all stitched together to create an episode that will reach the audience and hopefully keep them coming back for more.

The creativity in how this show is put together is incredible. The scene transitions are without a doubt some of the best I’ve ever seen. They take the viewer from one scene to the next without removing them from the story. There is no fading out, no cut to black, it’s just a seamless movement into the next scene.

The Scene Transitions

Dustin on the lookout at Starcourt Mall (click to watch)

This scene transition is particularly beautiful, as the camera moves upward in a Pedestal move, the character moves out of frame, and the music builds. As the transition moves further along, the camera zooms in on the security camera mounted on the wall.

Once it begins to zoom out you begin to notice a change in the music, the added sound of people laughing, and finally you notice that you’re no longer looking at the security camera, but a pair of binoculars held by Dustin. In a mere 22 seconds you’re taken from a dark, abandoned lab, to a bright, crowded mall. If that’s not artistry at its peak, I don’t know what is.

Stranger Things is a show that does plenty of things well, the actors are amazing, the direction is superb, and the writing is first class, but it will always be the little things that keep me coming back for more. The things as seemingly unimportant as scene transitions are the things that make this show a top contender, an award-winner, and a fan favorite.

For me, it’s the little things that makes Stranger Things.

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