“To’ona’i” – Grading

(Or Feedback – Another Thought.)

As an audience member, the film or television series or theatre piece that I derive the most pleasure from is the one where I have to work hard at keeping up with the story, busily making connections not spelt out, and putting the pieces together. It makes me feel smart.

Imagined ego-stroking aside, I like the experience where I’m not a passive observer of events, where I have to read more into the nuances and subtext of what I’m seeing and hearing.  I don’t have to be sitting on the shoulder of the protagonist throughout. It’s like I’m… physically in the middle of the action wherever it takes – still invisible, still passive – and I have only the information available to the characters around me, and… discovering the story as it unfolds.

I feel… involved.

It’s a mean trick to do that.

So I’ve got this wee film that’s had a bunch of test screenings from rough cut to a graded and mixed cut, and the feedback and the comments I’ve received have been pretty consistent while I, for my part, have been just a leetle myopic in taking it all on board.  After each screening, I’ve swung tended one way or the other in trying to appease imagined audiences minimise narrative confusion.

Have I done too much?

Or not enough?

I don’t know.  I’ve written the dialogue with subtext and whatever it is that’s described as it’s what’s not said.  Its structure is classic – the finished product may require some concentration but the execution is consistent.  Amit says that I’ve hit the emotional beats.   James is sneaking in all sorts of filters, having quickly established how technically and aesthetically blind I am.

And thanks to the generosity and honesty of the test audiences, I think I’ve done all I can to tell the story the way I want to. I have to get over myself. How the audience watches the finished product is out of my hands.

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