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<   No. 2388   2009-08-10   >

Comic #2388

1 Host: Ready for your first question?
2 Nigerian Finance Minister: Can I phone a friend?
3 Nigerian Finance Bureaucrat: <hack!> <hack!> <cough!> <hack!> <hack!> <hack!> <cough!> <hack!>
4 Host: Sorry everyone, someone in the audience seems to be having a coughing fit...

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Did you know that focus pullers are the people responsible for ensuring that movie shots are in focus? And that they do so by measuring the distances to objects, and making marks on the focus drive wheel of the movie camera, so that when the director wants to turn attention to a particular object in the scene, the focus puller turns the dial to one of the predetermined marks, and thereby brings the object into focus?

I'm sure this is changing with new digital technology and stuff, but that's how they did it for decades. It is a very manual, intensive, and skilful job. It sounds like a lot of tedious and tricky work. And that's just one of the tiny little jobs that goes into making a movie.


2022-12-24 Rerun commentary: This strip is based on the incident involving Charles Ingram, who was found guilty of cheating on the British version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire. People in the audience were giving him signals by coughing, thus allowing him to correctly answer questions that he otherwise had no knowledge of.

And if you hadn't heard about it, there's a very interesting story behind a series of American quiz show scandals in the 1950s. These didn't involve individual contestants cheating, but rather the show producers and selected contestants colluding to fix the outcome of quiz shows, in order to improve their viewer appeal and ratings. These scandals were dramatised in the 1994 film Quiz Show directed by Robert Redford and starring Ralph Fiennes.

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My comics: Irregular Webcomic! | Darths & Droids | Eavesdropper | Planet of Hats | The Dinosaur Whiteboard | mezzacotta
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