Shopping Spree

first public screening

I’m slightly addicted to Modcloth. No, they didn’t pay me to say that. But I have this strange compulsion to buy dresses from them, partly because they have so many cute ones, and partly because they show women who look like me wearing those dresses. So I’ve decided to buy myself not just one, but two dresses.

Why would I be writing about dresses on my film blog…Because we just had our first public screening of the film and it went GREAT. My god I was an angst-ridden ball of jelly goo leading up to the event, but now it’s over and I can finally exhale. You’d think I’d get used to showing this after the test screenings, but really I don’t think I’ll ever be truly relaxed showing this thing.

audienceWe had about 100 people, which granted in my fantasies I’ve got audiences of thousands but in reality, 100-120 is a good start. We were in a theatre that sat 400, so the place did not look empty and there was a discussion after the film. The cool part, again, was hearing people in the audience resonate with stories from the film, and ask questions, and say that the film affected them. I still expect to hear someone say, “what a load of crap,” so I still brace for impact throughout the whole discussion piece. Perhaps there are those who think that, but if so they haven’t said it yet.

Given the bashing my ego has taken after getting round after round of “no we don’t want to show your film at our festival” type news, hearing people say the film touched them really helps me bounce back a little. Ok, I’m reminded, this wasn’t a bad idea after all. Watching the people in the film again, and at the panel discussion afterwards, I see again what inspired me to make the film in the first place. (And it’s true! Everyone at this panel did at some point approach me privately to ask, “is it ok for me to say ___ in class” and every time the answer was, “yes.” And now look! You’re all in a film and you don’t need me to tell you to talk at all!)

after showingI just wish I didn’t get soooo worked up prior to showing it. But I do suspect that isn’t really going to go away. The truth is, it’s not the same as teaching or giving a speech. There’s still that aspect of this is my art, and therefore a part of me, that is on display. And yes, I cringe thinking someone is going to hurl rotten food at it, the rejections do feel personal, and darn it yes I like it better when someone says they liked it. As open-minded as I want to be, and as much as I will create room for someone to express very different opinions from mine, my childish selfish part wants to hear that someone liked it and thought it was pretty.

At the risk of getting philosophical, it has made me wonder about the personal versus the public in the creation of art. If I take photography, since that’s the only other place where I get the slightest bit artsy, I take dozens of photos just for my own sake of taking them. And some are ok and some are crap, but even some of the crap ones I like, and all my photos help me become a better photographer. But there are a few I choose to share, even if it’s just with a few people, and something changes in the act of sharing it. It isn’t just a personal, private act anymore, and somehow the art itself is transformed because it is being shared with an audience, and then the audience reacts and develops a relationship with it as well. Or I suppose maybe that is the hope, that the audience creates a relationship with it. The worst reaction I could think of would be for someone to find my work to be, well, boring. At least if they’re mad at it, worked up enough to share that dislike or speak against it, then the art has done something to inspire them, it has provoked a reaction or movement and a relationship is created. But if the work just blends into the wallpaper, then it hasn’t really done anything, and no one notices at all.

I suppose that’s the real fear then, less that someone tells me it’s ugly, more that someone will say nothing at all because there is nothing to be said. “What film? I blinked. Did something happen?”

Damn art. Fuck it. I’m going to buy another dress.

yup, that’s my co-director…