As editing on Abandoned Allies continues, the idea of screening the film to select groups keeps buzzing around in my head. You spend so much time editing and analyzing the story that it's easy to get too close to the project. You start to wonder if the things you think are important are still really important for an audience. Or the opposite--is something you think unimportant, and therefore cut out of the film, actually really important and need to go back in so that the audience isn't confused?
From the get-go, I have wanted to organize some screening events so that we get honest feedback from people that will hopefully make the film better. Screening events help you get feedback from people so you can make the story tighter, pacing better, and film more memorable.
There are details about screening events, having never attended nor organized one, that have left me wondering. Thank goodness Jane Kelly Kosek, who writes a blog All About Indie Filmmaking, just posted an entry titled "Focus Group Screening for Take Me Home". She answers a lot of the questions that have been floating around in my head.
Is it better to have written, anonymous feedback? Should it be people you know, or complete strangers who know nothing about the project? What is the energy in the room like when you screen your film for the first time?
The screening events have been a nerve-racking thing, continuing to nag at me as I put clips in order on the timeline. Her post helped quiet a lot of those thoughts so that I can return to them once we have the rough cut finished. Take a look at her entry: http://bit.ly/bwRVF6. It is well-written and includes some great tips. Enjoy!