I haven’t had a chance to post about the screening (which was over two weeks ago) because I have been so focused on editing the film. When you are able to watch people watching a film it tells you so much about the rhythm of the film and what is working and what is not working. The comments afterward can be helpful as well, but you can’t put as much stock into them as you would think. Often people want your film to be something other than what you want it to be, which can be hard to recognize. In my case there were people who wanted the film to be White Nights or La Danse. People will hate a film no matter what so you can’t let the hateful stuff get to you. There are people out there who think Casablanca is a worthless film and that Alfred Hitchcock is a hack. Some people just “like” different things and it takes a lot of practice to be able to let go of your opinions and judge something for what it is.
Along this train of thought I used to think you should disregard the hateful comments, but also the comments from people who unconditionally love the film also can’t be given too much weight. I focused a lot of time on the people in the middle who are more apt to give constructive criticism; what they didn’t like or things that felt too long, but it was balanced with things they did like. This week I realized that it actually is more important to consider the people who adored the film even if they are overlooking some mistakes or that it is a little too long (I recognized the problems by watching everyone watch the film anyway). My second year of undergrad at the University of Colorado Titanic was released. Film production classes are usually dominated by men and they were not that appreciative of the film. I liked the film, but could identify its many faults. One day in class my professor, Jerry Aronson, cut off a discussion where we were negatively dissecting the film by saying that regardless of its faults people are going in droves to see the film and they are not just seeing it once, but ten times. He continued that being able to touch people in that way is extraordinary and the film needed to be given its due credit for that reason.
I have been thinking about that comment this week and going back and thinking about the people who really loved my film and didn’t want me to change a thing. It is pretty amazing that there are people out there who watched something that I made and took the time to write down that they loved it and I shouldn’t change a thing. So along that line I think the screening was successful.