Currently I am preparing for a screening of the unfinished film in Charlotte, NC. Even though everyone will know that it is unfinished and that they will be giving feedback to help with the final cut, it is still nerve racking to show it for the first time. In reality that feeling never goes away.
Last week I screened the film for a small audience of two. These were the first people to see the film that have no connection at all to the production of the film nor have they been subjected to watching short clips. They had completely virgin eyes.
My apartment has a little theater where I am able to hook up my computer so that we had an actual big screen experience. I was nervous at first, but once the film started I become, startlingly, relaxed. Usually when I show I film at this point in post-production I am very stressed out because I think viewers will focus only on the technical glitches that I have not ironed out and will not be able to focus on the film itself.
Both audience members are dancers and one actually teaches my classes at Boulder Ballet. They really connected to the characters and followed the storyline really well. This is a huge sigh of relief to me to know that the film is working on the most basic level. Now, I have the freedom to focus on strengthening the themes and visual elements. I realized that sometimes I get to caught up in the perfect shot or following some arbitrary rule. Some of the footage with which I was disappointed; they thought was beautiful.
It’s funny, but in my very first film class in college I learned to trust the “supposed” mistakes that were made and to allow the film to, essentially, make itself. It sounds a little hippie-dippy, I know, but I went to an extremely experimental film school so that is to be expected. In reality I think it is the greatest lesson I ever learned. A mistake doesn’t mean something is wrong, but instead it is simply pointing you in a new direction and usually the place you end up is exactly where you should be.