Authenticity never breaks the fourth wall
The Rest is Entertainment Coffee Cups

The Rest Is Entertainment podcast brought something to the table that I’d noticed for years, and it has always bugged me… actors holding coffee cups, with nothing in them. Apparently so many other people have noticed this, maybe you have too?

Here’s how and why authenticity never breaks the fourth wall.

The Rest Is Entertainment podcast, is a great listen. Richard Osman and Marina Hyde pull back the curtain on television, movies, journalism and more. Using their years of knowledge, enviable contact book and wit to bring you what’s hot, and what’s not in the world of entertainment.

Why is it that so many actors hold coffee cups with reckless abandon, clearly indicating that the contents of their cup is completely empty. A mere prop. Whilst this is something that I’ve noticed countless times in films and TV shows, I’ve never stopped to think – “why do they actually do this?

Richard Osman and Marina Hyde correctly point out that if the cup was full of liquid, there are risks on set to that spilling, with cameras and electrics etc around. Also the risk of dirtying clothes and therefore bringing continuity issues into play whilst doing multiple takes of the same scene. All very good valid reasons, of course.

However, this doesn’t satisfy me enough for it not to irritate me. Here’s why. It completely breaks the fourth wall. It takes me out of the moment of believing that these aren’t actors in front of my eyes. Instead, real people whom I’m trying to connect and empathise with, as part of the story being told. Moments like this, shatter the illusion. “Wait a minute… there’s no coffee in there… wait a minute… that’s not your real hair… you’re an actor, an imposter!”

Authenticity and storytelling go hand in hand

Part of storytelling, successfully, is authenticity. Obviously, tv shows and films are fake – but we don’t want reminding of that in the middle of the story. Even if it’s just a suspiciously light Starbucks cup that’s someone’s ordered… and literally just been given.

I believe that the best TV shows and films have storylines and characters that you genuinely believe could be real. Thus, you invest in them. You care.

It’s the authenticity within that story that should never intentionally break the fourth wall.

There are certain contexts where that wall is broken as part of the creative narrative and direction. But in the cases we’re talking about here, they aren’t.

In today’s saturated market, consumers are increasingly drawn to brands that demonstrate authenticity and transparency in their narratives. Just as viewers connect more deeply with true stories in media, consumers feel a stronger affinity towards brands that share genuine stories, values, and experiences. Get in touch with us today and we can help transform your marketing message.

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