Watching Your Film With An Audience

There's nothing like seeing your film with an audience for the very first time. I always get a bit nervous before a screening. It's the anticipation. I'm always hoping that the audience will respond positively. I'm not naive enough to think that everyone will always like everything I do, but with every project I strive to tell a compelling narrative with convincing performances and high production value.

Recently I attended the screening of the Sidewalk Unusual Scramble - a collection of 15 short films from people in the Birmingham area. My film, The Missing Trailwas one of the films being screened. Each team had only 48 hours to complete the finished film. Throughout post-production, I watched our film dozens of times, and I was glad to watch it with those who had yet to see it. I knew that by watching it with an audience, I could get a good idea of how the film holds up.

I was pleased to hear some positive reactions coming from the people sitting around me. They responded well to particular shots and to specific things happening on screen. However, as a filmmaker, the most positive things you can take away from a public screening are the sections in your film that simply don't work for an audience. There was a moment in our 4-minute short that didn't seem impact the audience the way I wanted. On the way home after the screening, I started brainstorming ways to re-edit that section to help improve the film overall.  

My plan is to re-visit the film in a few months and re-edit the section that seemed to miss the mark. Then it should be ready for submission to Sidewalk for 2013.