I can’t watch our film anymore. I still think it’s great, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve just seen it so many times. I’ve watched it by myself. I’ve watched it with a handful of people. I’ve watched it with 300 people. Every time I am always anticipating the the next scene or the next joke, hoping the audience reacts. And then, when laughter comes out of nowhere, out of a scene that hasn’t got a big laugh before with other audiences, I’m completely thrown off. Completely. It’s a great feeling, but also a bizarre feeling.
So what I do now is peek my head in the theater, or press my ear up to the door when I know a funny scene is coming up, hoping to hear the laughter. This is almost worse than actually watching it. I am only getting a quick glimpse into whether the audience likes it or not. If I were sitting there the whole time I would really be able to feel how they react.
It’s really just all over-thinking. I’m even over-thinking it as I’m writing about over-thinking it.
A week ago I went back to Virginia for a screening. There were about 250 people there. Of those 250, maybe a handful wanted to make movies or act or write in real life. So this was a good test. Real people watching the film. Granted, some of these people were my best friends from childhook, but there was a big majority that had simply read about the film in the local paper or heard about it thru word of mouth. I don’t really get nervous (exception: Buffalo Bills football games), but at this screening I had an odd feeling. This was the first time the movie was going to be shown in front of an audience of people who weren’t at a film festival or living in Los Angeles. Not that the people at the festivals or Los Angeles aren’t real people, but they sometimes have some tie to the “industry.”
Little side rant – I coach a sports clinic twice a week for 3-5 year old kids. This past week one of my kids had to go to the bathroom. I called for his teacher, because I am not allowed to take them. This means the kid must hold in whatever he has for an extra 60 seconds, which to a kid, is a lifetime. Well the teacher got there and the kid had already pooped on the ground. Seriously. Pooped. On. The. Ground. Again – POOPED. ON. THE. GROUND. He couldn’t help it. It just came.
Why the rant? I felt like that before the screening. I wasn’t necessarily going to poop on the ground, but that little boy must have felt an odd sensation come over him and he knew he needed to take care of it. That’s like this screening and a bunch more we have coming up. We are now taking our film out to all over. From Ohio, to New York, to Philadelphia, to dozens of more places. With real people.
This is what we wanted. And last week in Virginia there were 250 people laughing throughout the whole film. People really responded. A husband and wife came up to me, they had read about the screening in a local paper, but they said they had a son who just started college and she was going to make sure he saw this film. That’s amazing. I hope these screenings allow more and more people to see the film.