The Importance of Screenings
These past few weeks have been a whirlwind experience for us. We have been showing our 20-minute work in progress (select scenes) to funders and filmmakers at different screenings. You never know how people will connect with your characters or story so it is always helpful to show as many people as possible to get a sense of what people think.
Our latest screening was at WGBH during a special event called the Lab Luncheon. We were invited to screen our 20 minute work sample to about 30 people all with diffferent areas of expertise at WGBH.
It took us a long time to get to a strong work sample….roughly 4 years. Yes 4 years. When we began filming, we thought our film would be a simple story—greetings at the airport with troops and troop greeters. But it wasn’t that simple….because life is complicated and our three characters are complicated. We had to continue shooting until we felt like we captured their story and that in itself took 4 years. Along the way, we made some cuts, put some scenes together, but the story didn’t come alive until recently.
It really took shape when we met with our film advisers–Jocelyn Glatzer and Ellie Lee. They gave us the confidence again to believe in our story. And all of a sudden…it hit us. Aron started editing together scenes and the story started to take shape. Bill, Joan, and Jerry’s stories started to come together and the pacing and tempo seemed to be working. But it was only after the first screening did we realize we might be right….this might be the right work in progress….
I like speaking in public. It has never really affected me. But at the WGBH screening, for the first time, I was a little nervous. It hit me, at that moment, that after all of these years, we were going to show a group of people, something so personal to us, something so close to our hearts, and I wanted them to enjoy it. To love our characters as much as we loved watching them and capturing them on film. As the lights dimmed and the the first shot appeared on screen, I sat at the back of the room watching people watch our film. I watched a group of young filmmakers, WGBH staffers, and experienced professionals take it all in.The room was quiet. And when it came to a funny moment in the film, and I heard the group laugh, I knew they were into the story. They were into our characters and that it would be ok.
As filmmakers, we have to have faith in ourselves that we can tell our story….that we have the ability to tell the story that was meant to be told. It took us a while to learn this, to gain that confidence. You can’t let other people figure out your story but you can see how they react to it and determine whether what you have is working. And when it is all over, you will learn so much more about your subject and yourself.
I can’t sign off without giving a special thank you to some very special people at WGBH’s Boston Media Productions. Christopher, Brian, Denise, and Hillary have supported us through this whole process as WGBH Filmmakers in Residence. They organized this screening for us and have confidence in us.
I would also like to personally thank Rachel Hargreaves-Heald, who works at the Lab. She helped organize the screening and has been extremely supportive of our film and us. This is us after the screening….after one too many cups of coffee. As filmmakers, we make our film our life. We don’t sleep, we stress and worry about funding, distribution, and getting it done. But to survive this, you need someone to make you laugh for at least a moment and remind you that it will be ok.
THANKS EVERYONE FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!