We often hear about books, TV programs and movies which feature wildly unrealistic portrayals of… well, everything. We tend to notice those that get our own areas of expertise wrong. Common areas of complaint are depictions of law, the police, the military and IT.
I’m interested in the opposite; have you ever seen a depiction of your own job (or hobby) in fiction, and thought “yeah, they got that right”?
Not MY job, but one aspect of it. Michael Mann’s Thief included a very accurate depiction of how commercial burglar alarms work and how they are attacked or defeated by professional burglars. I was in the alarm and monitoring business for some years and I found very little about those scenes to criticize. (Unfortunately, the technologies depicted at that time are no longer much in use, so you’ll have to find a more recent and accurate movie to use as a primer.)
I can contrast this with the ridiculous hijinks shown in most “heist” movies and the wildly inaccurate depictions of alarm systems.
I’m not sure that my job (embedded controller design) has ever been seen in a movie.
There are general “electronics” developers in movies (like, Primer), but none that really illustrate the steps that go into making a controller for something like, say, a microwave oven.
Believe it or not, but I had a civil procedure professor in law school who sometimes showed clips from “My Cousin Vinny” in class. Because of the need to show Joe Pesci as completely out of his element, the rest of the movie did a fairly good job showing a realistic portrayal of the legal process.
I worked in radio for many years as an on-air personality, a DJ if you please. Never have I seen a radio station depicted as technically correct. No one ever wears headphones, for example, and in the days before digital programming you never saw anyone cueing-up a record. That said, however, the 1970’s sitcom “WKRP in Cincinnati” often accurately portrayed the good times, bad times, lunacy and stupidity I encountered at many a station at which I hung my headphones. And although Clint Eastwood’s “Play Misty for Me” was incorrect in just about every way, I still say it should be required viewing for any young person, male or female, who wants to be a radio personality. Those crazy people, the kind that become obsessed with the voice they hear on the radio and on the phone, are really out there, and I’ve seen some tragic outcomes as a result of getting too familiar with them.
Series creator Hugh Wilson had worked in ad sales at a top-40 station in Atlanta (WQXI), and he based the show’s premise, and a number of the characters and stories (including the “turkey drop” episode), on his experiences there.
I work in advertising, and I’ve never seen anything approaching a realistic portrayal of it. Mad Men,The Crazy Ones, What Women Want, Crazy People, even Bewitched – no, it’s not really like that. But, as RealityChuck says, an accurate portrayal wouldn’t make for good entertainment.
Plenty of accurate portrayals of teaching out there. They’re just…concentrated.
Everything that happened in the first episode of Boston Public, for example, actually happened at a public school. Just not the same school. And not on the same day. Maybe a few years scattered across a dozen schools across several states.
If they showed it like it really is, it would be boring as hell. Just like real school!