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!
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Screen Testing

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May 19, 2017

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:

Other References:

Next up, we're going back to the nineties with Matt Bretten, to see how HACKERS (mostly) managed to get it right. We hope you'll join us in a fortnight!


You can also email us with your comments, feedback or requests:

Intro music: Swordfish Intro
Outro music: Paul Oakenfold feat. Amoebassassin - Get Out Of My Life Now

May 5, 2017

Are you a watcher or a player? We're joined by Gem Hill to discuss last year's teen psychological thriller, Nerve. It's a deadly (and somewhat cheesy) technological game of truth or dare, available to stream now on Netflix.

We discuss the game within the movie, the weird pockets of fame within social media, teen cliques, and how effectively the film manages its portrayal of hackers, the dark web and open-source software.

We also deal with our usual array of distractions, including the unusual pricing/prize structure of Nerve, whether the game could truly run without servers, teenagers' password security, Neil's unlikely crush on Dave Franco, the difference between literal and metaphor, and how not to get a tattoo.

Also, we forget to mention that Dave Franco's character is named Ian, so when we suddenly start talking about Ian halfway through, that's what's going on!


Songs from the soundtrack featured in the episode (in order of appearance):

In our next episode we'll be continuing our dive into the world of hacking in movies, as we discuss 2001's SWORDFISH with Mark Winteringham!


Apr 21, 2017

How do you measure humanity? We go deep into spoilers for Ex Machina as we recap Bluebook's work to produce a robot that can pass as a human.

In a reference-filled episode, we talk about the challenges of passing (or manipulating) a Turing Test, we debate the ethics of creating sentient machines, and compare the "planning/interview/debrief" structure of the film against how we approach our testing sessions.

As we proceed, we get distracted by discussions about the capabilities of helicopters, we wonder how a CEO can run a business from a location with no mobile coverage, investigate whether Nathan has already succeeded in creating the perfect dancing robot, and discover a film connection which sends Dan into uncontrollable laughter.

We also subject Siri and Google Home to their own Turing Test. It doesn't go well.

Testing conferences and initiatives mentioned during the introduction:

Other references in the episode:

A big Terminator-style thumbs-up to Bad Puns and Machine Guns for their shout-out in their recent "Aftermath" episode!  

Screen Testing will return in two weeks' time, as Gem Hill joins us to discuss 2016's NERVE (available now on Netflix and other streaming services).


Intro music: Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - Enola Gay
Outro music: Oliver Cheatham - Get Down Saturday Night

Apr 7, 2017

Recorded live with guests at the TestBash Brighton Open Space on Saturday 25th March 2017. Expect some occasionally dubious sound quality, and some strong language, as we try our best to unravel the story behind the Star Wars Holiday Special.

We focus on the "requirements" and the various different audiences for the show, wondering whether any of them would have been impressed that the previous summer's breakout sci-fi hit had been watered-down into a variety show format.

There are thoughts about whether George Lucas was paying attention, the role of pornography in the Star Wars universe, and a heated debate around whether Han Solo was again denied credit for a killing (this time denied by clumsy footwork and shoddy craftsmanship).

Huge thanks to our special guests during this episode:


At the time of writing, the Star Wars Holiday Special is available on YouTube for those who dare. The clips that we talk about during this episode can be found at the following timestamps:

  • 12:10 - Chewie's family calls Luke Skywalker
  • 50:30 - Lumpy watches a (quite good) Star Wars cartoon
  • 22:16 - Chef Gormaanda brings us STIR WHIP WHIP STIR
  • 28:20 - Itchy watches a VR fantasy program
  • 1:22:25 - Stormtrooper death: Did he trip, or was he pushed?
  • 1:30:58 - Princess Leia sings a song to the tune of the Star Wars theme

Further reading/watching:

We'll be back in the studio next time to talk about EX_MACHINA - see you in a fortnight!

Our Twitters:

Intro music: Star Wars Holiday Special main theme
Outro music: Supernova - Chewbacca

Mar 24, 2017

It's our first (and possibly not our last) visit to Craggy Island, as we take apart arguably the finest episode of Father Ted, in which our heroic priests do battle with a randy milkman and a bomb on a milkfloat.

Discover how every mishap in the episode is a direct result of Ted's inability to communicate clearly, join our contest to find the best use for a brick, we analyse the priests' five possible solutions to the bomb problem, and learn which joke Neil took 19 years to get.

Among our many distractions, we discuss how many films make a franchise, we learn Dan's connection to Victor Meldrew, Neil drunk-dials Will Self, and there's a particularly dubious rendition of "My Lovely Horse".

Mentioned in this episode:

Our next episode will be about the STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL, and we'll be recording it LIVE at TestBash Brighton!


Intro music: Father Ted main theme
Outro music: The Divine Comedy - Songs of Love (Theme from Father Ted)

Mar 10, 2017

Join the Screen Testers' first full-length episode, as we discuss the Berg/Wahlberg movie which inspired the podcast. It's a disaster film with a uniquely testing twist, as we analyse the events that led up to the catastrophe. We investigate the culture of miscommunication, debate how we know when testing is completed, the importance of quality in a safety-critical environment, and how false positives/negatives can blight automation.

Along the way, we'll debate foreshadowing, alarm clock precision, jump-scares, and whether Kriss Akabusi holds the key to surviving a catastrophe.

For a wordier version of this episode, check out Neil's companion blog post - Screen Testing preview: Deepwater Horizon

Further reading/viewing:

Next time, we'll be tackling the SPEED 3 episode of Father Ted - see you in a fortnight!


Intro music: Steve Jablonksy - Hope Is Not A Tactic
Outro music: Gary Clark Jr. - Take Me Down


Feb 24, 2017

It's introduction time: join Neil and Dan as they take you through a potted history of their experiences with testing, movies, and podcasting. Learn about Arnie's movie debut; the episode you'll never hear; and discussion on the statute of limitations for spoilers. Hear it before it gets awarded the Golden Poddy™!

Podcasts that we name-checked that are undoubtedly better than ours:
Testing in the Pub
Let's Talk About Tests, Baby
How Did This Get Made?
Bad Puns and Machine Guns
James Bonding
Radio Free Skaro
Empire Film Podcast
Movies You Should See

Our rules: a first draft!

  • If a film/show is in the episode title, expect spoilers for that.
  • If we name-check random films/shows in an episode, we'll try to avoid spoilers.
  • Episodes will usually be under 30 minutes in length.
  • Episodes will be released fortnightly on Fridays.
  • We want guests! Got a film you love, or want to discuss? Drop us a line - we'll take care of everything.

We'll be back in two weeks for Episode 1: DEEPWATER HORIZON.


Intro music: Pearl and Dean Theme
Outro music: Goldbug - Whole Lotta Love