As I mentioned in an earlier post, we've held a few small screenings of the film as we've made our way through the edit. While a large part of me wants to keep the film under wraps (at least for now), I'm finding that sharing it with others can be a huge help.
Before leaving New York, I held one final screening for my producers and creative team to see where everything stood. It went very well, but the audience was basically family. So, I decided to hold a screening for less a less biased group.
While traveling through Texas visiting family, I held a last-minute screening for a crowd less affiliated with the project. It was terrific. I had a great time watching people watch my movie. I'm not just listening for laughs, but watching for fidgeting, smiles, sleeping, grunts of approval, and even recoils in shock. I learned where things worked, where they were a little slow, where things landed, and where things didn't land. After the screening, I asked some questions to get a pulse on some particular elements and angles I'd been concerned about. The feedback was so overwhelmingly positive, I finished the screening with only a bunch of tiny tweaks here and there. Surprisingly enough (or not) the next cut felt very different and marked a huge step forward in the edit. During the pass, I actually ended up re-ordering a good deal of the scenes in the third act of the film. The thing is running so smoothly now that I'm starting to run out of things to tweak and touch up. The more I watch it, the more I want to surprise myself and re-do something. Ultimately, I will be doing some more test screenings in the near future before making any major changes.