February 14, 2005

Creative M.O.

This morning I discovered a quote that reflects my creative modus operandi:

'Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
-Cyril Connolly

In a not totally unrelated point of interest, check out this blog: http://www.queryletters.blogspot.com/ It's written by an actual Hollywood reader and includes actual query letters from actual screenwriters (each of whom has spent hours/days/weeks/months writing the screenplays from which these queries arise) trying to break into the biz.

February 11, 2005

Premiere Screening

Screening your film in front of a live audience can be very daunting, and doubly so if the project is somewhat autobiographical and the premiere is in your home town. It's the first time you have the chance to get a sense of whether all of the hundreds, maybe thousands, of hours that have gone into a project have been worthwhile.

The On a Sunday premiere screening took place last Saturday night (Feb. 5th) in Winnipeg... I took my seat as the house lights went down and the picture came up, and because I knew the story so intimately by this point, and had seen an earlier cut of the film, I didn't really watch the screen so much as I tried to feel the room. Where people laughing, sighing, gasping at the right points? Where people yawning or crying? Was that a snigger of self revelation or of dismissal?

In the end, you hope that your audience got it, that the story you set out to tell came through, and there's no better way to do that than to host a post-screening Q&A. Our audience was an eclectic collection of cast and crew, old friends and family, local film-community types and upwardly mobile Mennonites. And since our film explores the emotional terrain of religious piety set against spiritual freedom, it made for a lively discussion. In the end I felt that our film was well understood, and one silver-haired woman in the front row nailed it by saying that the film was about the power one person holds over another disenfranchised person within a community, be it religious power, financial power, political power, physical power or all of the above. And that makes the film's theme universal, and you can't ask for much better than that.