So my wife and I finally got with the program and watched Slumdog Millionaire. A brilliant movie, no doubt, with some beautiful cinematography, great acting, and a very clever use of the game show storyline to prompt flashbacks to the major events in the characters' lives. But my favorite creative touch...the subtitles.

branding details Photo Credit: Fox Searchlight

As the screengrab demonstrates, director Danny Boyle eschewed the old standby "black bar across the bottom" in favor of color-matched overlay carefully placed for maximum effect in each scene. The beauty of this shot isn't lost for a moment. In fact, the placement of the subtitle emphasizes the loneliness of the child. Beautiful stuff.

What I love about this technique is the attention to detail. Instead of taking what is traditionally a throw-away, "need to do it so people can understand" effort on films, Boyle used the subtitles as part of the scene...a stylistic and thoughtful decision that makes the subtitle work better while making the film more engaging. It's clear that he's considered every detail in a way that elevates the overall work.

So what are the traditional throwaway details in your work? And how could you use them to your advantage, enhancing your constituent's overall experience?

Tim Whitney

About Tim Whitney

Tim is the founder of Greenisland Media, having worked for and with nonprofits for over 18 years in policy, program design, and communication. @greenislandtim