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Test Screening

Posted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 12:18 pm
by fraught
The last couple of film's i've made, i have been organising a "Hollywood-Style" Test Screening of the film. Using either a local community centre or even my own front room, i've gathered a small group of people together to watch an almost complete version of my production. We watch and then we have a sort on informal chat. My opening line is always... "So what did you hate about this film?"

I have a problem in that i get too emotionally invested in my projects to the point that i get very protective over any criticism. I also get blinded by what i see and feel, rather than what others see. So i find holding these sessions both therapeutic and very very helpful.

Last night i held a Test Screening for my latest film 'Room 4'. It's been a pet project of mine for almost as long as i have been making films! I've attempted to start making this film on a number of occasions, but due to one reason or another i never actually got the project off the ground... until now. Seeing as it's taken so long for me to sort this out, you can imagine how protective i am of it?! That was until last night. The Test Screening really opened my eyes, and has given me plenty of ideas to improve the film, which i am really grateful for.

So... my advice is that before you finalise your project, give it a showing to people who know nothing about your film and see how they respond. It might make you think twice about your decisions in the film making process and perhaps give you a chance to make some changes.

Anyone else do this? Would you consider doing this in the future?

Re: Test Screening

Posted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 7:11 am
by tom hardwick
Very good advice! Hollywood producers do it, so should we. I've done it myself and although it pained me to make the suggested changes, they were right and I was wrong.

Re: Test Screening

Posted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 8:19 am
by Michael Slowe
When I give shows and talks about film making one of the main points I make is the one that Fraught highlights. I can never understand people who insist on not showing their film to anyone until it's done and dusted - and when it's too late to change anything! I always print a rough cut and show it to selected individuals to guage reaction. It's amazing how you can view your own work in the edit suite time and again and think you've got it right. Then, watching it in the company of others, you notice things that are not right, even before anyone says a word. Is it some kind of thought transfer that communicates? I don't know, but I do know that watching my films with an audience gives me a totally different experience that watching alone. Fraught, you are dead right and your films will be the better for continuing that practice.

Re: Test Screening

Posted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 8:31 am
by fraught
Glad i'm not alone. :-)

I can still remember watching my 'Silver Seal Awarded' film "So What Do You Think of The Hot Dogs?" back in the 90's at the IAC's London International Film and Video Festival, and squirming in my seat through the whole thing as i saw every flaw infront of a big audience!!! Never again!

Re: Test Screening

Posted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:45 pm
by Arthur Bates
I can't agree more about the value of test screening particularly in 3D animation. The script is usually your idea and the film is in your imagination. Showing it to a non-movie maker can reveal something you took for granted but is missed completly by them and this may be an important element to the story. I also like to show one or two people the script, it's surprising how often they come up with an idea or suggestion. Arthur B.