Screen Testing



Neil Studd and Dan Billing bring you a fortnightly movie podcast with a software testing spin. We'll be looking for bugs in the plot, and comparing how the films compare to real-life experiences we've faced in the world of testing!


  • Ep 24: Sully

    Ep 24: Sully

    01/06/2018 Duration: 01h19min

    We're back from a brief hiatus with - unbelievably - a film which actually deeply relates to testing! We're joined by Mark Tomlinson, who brings his own experiences of dealing with the National Transportation Safety Board, to discuss a film about a remarkable moment of true-life heroism, and the decisions that we make in the heat of the moment. The events of the movie give us a chance to get into in-depth discussions about the challenges of testing within regulated industries, developing risk mitigation strategies in life-critical environments, debugging/monitoring, and whether quality is a team effort. There are remarkably few distractions, although we get into some meta-discussion about whether it was correct to portray the NTSB as pantomime villains, a general critique of Clint Eastwood's agenda, a surprising number of references to metallurgy, and we give Mark an introduction to 1980s UK gameshows. YouTube trailers for films mentioned: Equity Miss Sloane Flight Unforgiven Bridges of Madison County Every

  • Ep 23: Speed

    Ep 23: Speed

    06/04/2018 Duration: 42min

    Pop quiz, hotshot! You want to record a new podcast episode, but you also want a break from some of the darker plots that you've talked about recently. Plus, you're snowed-in at home. What do you do? Dan and Neil decide not to shoot the hostage, but to instead kick back with a discussion about Speed. In an episode recorded at the beginning of March (hence some timeline discrepancies and weird Oscar predictions), they find many parallels with Die Hard, and manage to work-in a surprising number of testing elements, including setting/reviewing acceptance criteria, pairing in the workplace, communicating information, and using psychology to analyse a situation. Miscellaneous Links: BBC News: The Beast from the East How Did This Get Made? podcast Den of Geek: The strange history of the Die Hard movies  Dailymotion: Mythbusters - Speed Bus Jump TV Tropes: Camera Spoofing Dailymotion: The A-Team: Trouble Brewing (skip to 34:00 for the Polaroid scene) YouTube: The West Wing - In Excelsis Deo (Richard Schiff Emmy wi

  • Ep 22: The Silence of The Lambs

    Ep 22: The Silence of The Lambs

    14/02/2018 Duration: 50min

    We return a little later than planned, as we discuss one of the greatest thrillers of our time, getting into discussions about psychology, interviewing, misogyny and gender politics, and appropriate occasions for purchasing FBI-themed cakes. We also salvage the best bits of our failed Oscars announcement episode, highlighting a few nominations that we hope will win big, and staking our reputations on a few predictions of our own. Miscellaneous Links: Ministry of Testing charity calendar  Saving Linnea Wikipedia: List of Big Five Academy Award winners and nominees YouTube: The Silence of The Lambs as a Romantic Comedy Wikipedia: The Silence of The Lambs: Accusations of homophobia, transphobia and sexism YouTube: Frasier - Dan Butler as Bulldog YouTube: The Silence of The Lambs - Chris Isaak cameo YouTube: The Silence of The Lambs - George Romero cameo YouTube: Medal of Honor: Allied Assault YouTube trailers for films and TV shows mentioned: Hannibal (movie) Saw Red Dragon Hannibal Rising Manhunter Hannib

  • Ep 21: La La Land

    Ep 21: La La Land

    12/01/2018 Duration: 01h06min

    We begin 2018 with a discussion of Neil's favourite film of 2017, and a worrying early revelation about Dan's general problems with musicals. But we persevere, and discover not only a few musical gems in Dan's closet, but also a shared appreciation for some of the plot elements in La La Land. Things get a bit philosophical and introspective as we dig into how we motivate ourselves (and others) when we (or they) suffer setbacks, how we tell our own stories about the world around us, taking the opportunities that come your way, avoiding being paralysed by "what if", and a few of the many screw-ups we've made in our past relationships. As usual, we get sidelined by literal vs metaphor, fantasy physics, childhood dreams, Neil adopting some of Mia's vocabulary, and using BCC in emails. At the end we have a very brief discussion about The Last Jedi, which is basically spoiler-free, but if you want to be really careful then you might want to fast-forward a couple of minutes! YouTube links to songs referenced from La

  • Ep 20: Best/Worst of 2017

    Ep 20: Best/Worst of 2017

    14/12/2017 Duration: 58min

    As the year draws to a conclusion, Neil and Dan give a rundown of their favourite movies of the past 12 months, and highlight a few festive turkeys. The show notes are deliberately brief to avoid spoilers, but if you want to see the films which we discussed in YouTube trailer format, there are some playlists linked below. References: YouTube trailers: Neil's worst 10 films of 2017 YouTube trailers: Dan's films of 2017 YouTube trailers: Neil's top 10 films of 2017 Letterboxd: All of Neil's 2017 cinema viewings ranked Thanks everyone for listening to us this year, and we'll see you on January 12th as (joy of joys) it's finally time for LA LA LAND! Twitters: @ScreenTesting @TheTestDoctor @neilstudd Emails:  Intro music: Pearl and Dean Theme Outro music: Captain Picard sings "Let It Snow"

  • Ep 19: Home Alone / Die Hard

    Ep 19: Home Alone / Die Hard

    08/12/2017 Duration: 59min

    In an episode recorded over the course of five hours, your hosts gather at Chez Neil for their own mini Christmas party, with a fine array of mince pies, cheeses and ales, as well as two of their favourite festive movies. The result? A fun and rambling journey which gets increasingly erratic as we continue. Both nursing sore throats and hangovers from previous nights' office parties, we nevertheless get to all of the important questions, such as why Hans Gruber owns a TARDIS on wheels, which of Macaulay Culkin's traps constitute appropriate force, whether the Nakatomi Corporation employees deserved an externally-hosted Christmas party, how long Kevin McAllister would survive in Die Hard, and which film has the most inept police presence. There's also a special post-credits treat, as Dan treats us to a reading of A Die Hard Christmas. Home Alone discussion begins at 6 minutes, and Die Hard commences at 33 minutes. References: Loaded: Why Die Hard is the greatest Christmas movie of all time The Independent:

  • Ep 18: Rocky (LIVE!)

    Ep 18: Rocky (LIVE!)

    17/11/2017 Duration: 46min

    Yo listeners! Another conference means another live episode, as we join you from backstage at TestBash Philadelphia, to talk about Rocky, the only film that we could realistically talk about (despite special guest Keith Klain's best attempts to pitch ludicrous alternatives). In an episode which isn't sponsored by Ministry of Testing (despite how much it might seem like it is), we discuss some of our favourite TestBash talks, demonstrate some terrible impressions, discuss what the film can teach us about coaching and self-actualisation, and are yet again confounded by inappropriate male advances in movies. We also name-checked a whole load of conference speakers and organisers, whose Twitter accounts are linked here: Gene Gottimer, Christine McGarry, Kim Knup, Ash Coleman, Sarah Deery, Kate Paulk, Jenny Bramble, Emma Keavney, Gwen Diagram References: Keith Klain's website and podcast - Ministry of Testing Dojo Twitter: #testbash feed from TestBash Philadelphia Jim's Steaks YouTube: Family

  • Ep 17: Shaun of the Dead

    Ep 17: Shaun of the Dead

    03/11/2017 Duration: 01h04min

    Come get some! We're talking about Edgar Wright's first film in the Cornetto trilogy, and looking into our own experiences versus the film's portrayal of friendship, house-shares, and relationships. Plus, there's a zombie outbreak, so there's that. We analyse the strengths and weaknesses of Shaun's zombie survival plan, and how our own plans might differ. We also debate the issues which rage within Shaun's group, applaud the level-headedness of the female sidekicks, and discuss whether threat modelling is an effective tool against the undead. Also, we reveal plans for a huge on-location episode in 2018! References: YouTube: Spaced zombie scene which inspired Shaun of the Dead  YouTube: Simon Pegg in Star Trek: Beyond YouTube: Simon Pegg in Doctor Who - The Long Game BBC Radio 1 "Greatest films of all-time" poll in 2011 Shaun of the Dead filming locations Wikipedia: Wells, Somerset Wall's Cornetto YouTube: House of Pain - Jump Around YouTube: Baby Driver - Opening credits YouTube: Black Mirror season 4 trail

  • Ep 16: GoldenEye

    Ep 16: GoldenEye

    20/10/2017 Duration: 01h54min

    Well, it was inevitable. A trawl through Neil's favourite Bond movie results in an unprecedented level of pedantry, fact-checking and conversational rabbit-holes, as we lean particularly hard into the uncomfortable elements of the movie, including inappropriate remarks in the workplace, the enigma of Boris, and unconvincing love stories. There's plenty to celebrate though, as your presenters explore their respective histories with the Bond series, the novels, and the GoldenEye 007 game on the Nintendo 64. Dan wants a laser pistol, Neil wants to talk physics, everyone reminisces about trying to connect to the internet in the 1990s, and for a change there are some valuable insights from the director's commentary. It's a time for heroes, as Dan's tonsillitis battles through our longest-ever recording session, and Neil somehow manages to edit over three hours of material into a sub-2hr podcast. (If you've got a well-stocked liquor cabinet, the original tapes are available on request.) References: Neil's 11 page

  • Ep 15: WarGames

    Ep 15: WarGames

    06/10/2017 Duration: 01h10min

    After finally overcoming the communication problems associated with talking to the other side of the world, we're joined by Mike Talks for a discussion about WarGames, the film that did for the 80s what Hackers did for the 90s, yet somehow without feeling anywhere near as dated as the latter. It's an enjoyable film with plenty to celebrate, and plenty of relevant discussion points including how humans interact with artificial intelligence, and the many obvious security vulnerabilities that are on display. However we don't neglect our duty in highlighting some very disturbing gender roles, and we reluctantly stray onto the topic of Donald Trump. Along the way, the team talk through their childhood gaming and programming experiences, Mike shares some (non-classified) military IT stories, Dan proposes an unlikely trilogy of technology films, and Neil gets sidetracked by background details as usual. Oh, and if you've got an Amazon Echo, Google Home or Siri-enabled device in earshot, you're probably going to want

  • Ep 14: Yes Man

    Ep 14: Yes Man

    15/09/2017 Duration: 01h25min

    This week, we "embrace the possible" as we chat to Leigh Rathbone about Yes Man, a Jim Carrey romantic comedy which tells the somewhat-real-life story of Carl Allen, an unconfident recluse who is encouraged to say "yes" to more things in his life. We talk to Leigh about how Yes Man inspired him to do the same with his testing career, and the opportunities that opened up for him when he did this. There are discussions about work-life balance, the responsibility of employers to help with maintaining balance, and when it might be appropriate to say "no". As we progress, we pitch a role for Jim Carrey in Dunkirk, wonder if trespassing can be romantic, Leigh auditions to be our voiceover artist, and Neil still manages to crowbar-in a La La Land reference. Interview segment begins at 44:50. References: LinkedIn: How watching 'Yes Man' changed my testing, and Shop Direct life (article by Leigh)  Let's Talk About Tests, Baby: Episode 58 - Don't go chasing waterfalls (with Leigh) Let's Talk About Tests, Baby: Epis

  • Ep 13: Commando

    Ep 13: Commando

    01/09/2017 Duration: 01h25min

    It's time to LET OFF SOME STEAM as we look at one of the finest examples of the 80s action movie genre. Arnie's on a mission to rescue his kidnapped daughter, while Neil and Dan are on a mission to constantly over-think every situation in the film. Amongst all of the crazy one-liners, explosions and deaths, we study John Matrix's mission, his requirement-gathering skills, and bemoan his poor password security. On the other side of the fence, we look at villain Bennett's seeming love for his nemesis, discover the interesting real-life circumstances which led to some odd costuming, and we unleash our terrible Australian accents. There are plenty of distractions along the way, as we draw repeated comparisons to the Bond franchise, get into knots over whether it's "Matrixes" or "Matrices", debate whether a rocket launcher is better than a door handle, analyse the weird musical adjectives of Creem magazine, make plans for a Christmas double-header episode, and give shouts-out to our mums. References: CAST 2017 A

  • Ep 12: Hidden Figures

    Ep 12: Hidden Figures

    18/08/2017 Duration: 01h25min

    This week, we're honoured to be joined by Angie Jones and Ash Coleman to discuss one of the most important films of recent times, Hidden Figures. It's a heartwarming tale of three women overcoming terrible systemic prejudices, though it's bittersweet as we talk through how many of its stories are still prevalent today. Our guests take us on a deep-dive through some important cultural talking-points, including how we educate children about race issues, how feminist movements tend to favour white women, how we can shift a community's mentality, and the labeling of so-called "Social Justice Warriors". Within the workplace, we look at why companies struggle with diversity and inclusion (D&I), how D&I problems can become business problems, the hallmarks of effective leaders, and how bold young women are leading the way. We also finally get our toes wet in the "manual vs automation" debate, and we welcome our first ever feline guest to the show! Note: News about Google's alleged "anti-diversity" paper was b

  • Ep 11: The Circle

    Ep 11: The Circle

    04/08/2017 Duration: 44min

    In an episode best summarised as "it seemed like a good idea at the time", Neil and Dan attempt to get their teeth into Netflix's recent high-profile tech offering, The Circle, starring Emma Watson and Tom Hanks, only to find there's very little meat on those plot bones. It's light on spoilers (as there's not a lot to spoil), but we envision a story which might have been, had they decided to actually include character arcs, plot developments and meaningful conclusions. We keep ourselves amused along the way, coming up with the rules of proper Slack and social media etiquette, deciding whether the film's irony was intentional, paying tribute to the wonder of Bill Paxton, and wondering why John Boyega got involved at all. References: Neil's review of The Circle for NewOnNetflixUK YouTube: Bill Paxton being killed by an Alien, a Predator and a Terminator YouTube: Black Mirror - "The Entire History of You" trailer YouTube: Black Mirror - "Nosedive" trailer YouTube: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) trailer Y

  • Ep 10: Whiplash

    Ep 10: Whiplash

    21/07/2017 Duration: 01h37min

    In a long-awaited episode, Dan and Neil are joined by special guest Christopher Chant to discuss the Oscar-winning picture Whiplash, a film which tells the story of the relationship between budding jazz drummer Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller) and his tutor Terence Fletcher (JK Simmons), and how their worlds collide in a quest for perfection. In a deep and serious episode, we share information on coaching and mentoring techniques that we have observed and used, exchange thoughts on how to motivate others and ourselves, talk about balancing personal and professional commitments, and ways that we can demonstrate/uncover skill. Your hosts share their own experiences from the world of music, discuss other famous big-screen student-pupil relationships, and Neil takes every possible opportunity to reference Damien Chazelle's follow-up film La La Land. We also play some lengthy clips from the film, which are HEAVILY expletive-laden. You have been warned. References: Bluedot Festival James Bach: Test Jumpers - One Visio

  • Ep 9b: Doctor Who - Jodie Whittaker reveal

    Ep 9b: Doctor Who - Jodie Whittaker reveal

    19/07/2017 Duration: 26min

    We interrupt our regularly-scheduled programming to bring you our first emergency broadcast! Hot on the heels of our discussion of The Deadly Assassin comes the announcement of the new Doctor, with Jodie Whittaker becoming the first woman to play the show's leading role. In an episode where Neil and Dan spend most of their time agreeing with each other for a change, we delve into the inevitable social media outrage, discuss the reasons why the announcement points to an exciting future, bemoan the lack of non-violent superheroes in the modern age, and debate the nature of fandoms. As usual, Dan brings a wealth of experience from the world of Doctor Who, outlining the history of strong female figures in the show, both in front of and behind the camera. And Neil actually manages to keep up this time! Miscellaneous references: YouTube: TARDIS cloister bell YouTube: BBC announcement - "The Thirteenth Doctor revealed"  Wikipedia: Doctor Who - An Adventure in Space and Time (starring David Bradley as William Hartne

  • Ep 9: Doctor Who - The Deadly Assassin

    Ep 9: Doctor Who - The Deadly Assassin

    30/06/2017 Duration: 01h17min

    In our first venture into the world of Doctor Who, guest Andrew Morton adds to Dan's expertise (and Neil's ignorance) to unpack a Fourth Doctor story which has vibes of The Manchurian Candidate and The Matrix (with a bit of a whodunnit and a courtroom drama in the middle). Plus there are fisticuffs! We take a reverential look at some of the series' tropes, including The Doctor's skill at hiding behind things, the speed at which cliffhangers are negated, stilted deathbed monologues and a villain's inability to finish off his enemy. We also analyse The Master's ability to turn people into Action Man dolls, short-sighted writers creating continuity nightmares, wonder whether the Timelords would do well to invest in two-factor authentication, and make very early plans for Screen Testing's thirty-year anniversary episode. Clips from The Deadly Assassin on YouTube (courtesy of BBC Worldwide): DVD trailer From episode 1: The Doctor's premonition From episode 2: Interrogation scene From episode 3: The Doctor inside

  • Ep 8: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

    Ep 8: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

    16/06/2017 Duration: 01h26min

    Neil and Dan get their teeth into the latest movie in the Star Wars franchise, Rogue One, a prequel to Episode IV which is steadfastly doing its own thing, complete with retconned Death Star powers, penis-tentacled monsters and sarcastic droids. In a midichlorian-free episode, we discuss whether the Imperials should have discovered the Death Star's fatal flaw, how workplace politics can hinder us from achieving our goals, the nature of Chirrut Imwe's Force-like abilities, and the merits of re-casting versus CGI. Along the way, Dan proposes a potential spin-off podcast to explore his inner dictator, Neil ponders whether Jon Bon Jovi is in canon, we compare our tenuous connections to Star Wars cast members, and rhetorically wonder why nerds are never satisfied. In an extended news section at the end, we say goodbye to some of our childhood heroes who we've lost in recent weeks: Roger Moore (Bond), Adam West (Batman) and Andy Cunningham (Bodger). References: YouTube: Skyfall's cold open Amazon: Star Wars: Cata

  • Ep 7: Hackers

    Ep 7: Hackers

    02/06/2017 Duration: 01h07min

    HACK THE PLANET! Your regular hosts Neil (aka Integer Overflow) and Dan (Shoe_Gazer) are taking over the airwaves with special guest Matthew Bretten (Mr Null) to pull apart the most 90s film of all-time. We analyse the visuals, the clothing, the soundtrack and the tech, all of which help to make Hackers a hundred times better than Swordfish. To keep our critical eyes sharp, we debate whether curiosity was really their only crime, whether the hacks still hold up today, and whether the recycle bin is really a good place to store secure files. Among the oddities we encounter along the way, we talk about the merits of SWAT teams pointing guns at kids, whether Acid Burn's fencing proficiency is a useful weapon, we get pedantic about RAM, and try to avoid talking about Matthew Lillard at all. References: BBC Future: These unlucky people have names that break computers (Jennifer Null) Let's Talk About Tests, Baby YouTube: 24 season 4 prequel featuring Alberta Watson (with Jack Bauer swearing) YouTube: Doctor Who M

  • Ep 6: Swordfish

    Ep 6: Swordfish

    19/05/2017 Duration: 01h07min

    In a Screen Testing first, we take a guest's love for a movie and weaponise it against them. It's no holds barred as (alongside Mark Winteringham) we unravel the film which gathers everything that you love about hacker culture, and adds Vinnie Jones and blowjobs. There's explicit language from the start, as we wonder why John Travolta's character loves to spoil the ends of movies, we compare Gabriel to a demanding product owner, we crowdfund an interesting (but potentially libelous) reboot, and listen to a disturbing number of candid remarks from the director's commentary. We find a surprising amount of testing-related content, as we discuss chains of command, deadlines, battles with recruiters, bad interview experiences, user interfaces and flow. In our desperation to avoid talking about the film, we get sidetracked by whether a cashpoint is a computer, how compound interest works and vehicle emissions standards, all of which are far more entertaining than Swordfish. YouTube clips of notable Swordfish scenes

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