Last night I invited 40 members of the cast and crew of Shine, my first short doc made with Ben Medina, as well as the biggest financial supporters of the film, to a private screening at Fremont Studios. It was also the first time I’ve seen the film on a biggish screen (30 feet or so), and the first time I’ve had the experience of showing a film to the people who are actually depicted in the film. I was a bit nervous, and I expected a wide range of responses. I wasn’t disappointed.
The good news is that by far, nearly everyone liked the film. The entrepreneurship experts in particular, like Connie Bourassa-Shaw and Steve Brilling, and Mark Lacas said they felt we struck just the right balance between hope and dreams vs. realities and failures of entrepreneurship. Chris Julian, who teaches film editing here in Seattle, said that at 24 minutes, we got the length just right for a film of this kind, too, and complimented me on the color grade, which I did myself with a lot of help from a handful of Red Giant Software plugins.
The theater screening revealed that the audio mix still needs work. What sounds great on my Sennheiser 280 headphones actually sounds VERY different on surround sound in a theater. Chris Julian tipped me off to using a good pair of external speakers when editing beats phones every time. Lesson learned.
Another reason I’m glad we screened the film to as many of the people featured in the film is because we were able to catch one huge mistake – I misspelled Connie Bourassa-Shaw’s last name! I can’t believe that made it past all of our rigorous checks. Luckily it’s easy to fix that before the film gets out.
One woman featured in the film objected to her face being shown so large (the film is built around close-up interviews with people looking directly into the camera). It was a little too intimate for her. And the fact that it was in HD meant that there’s no place to hide any blemishes. I really like that level of intimacy, and that’s not something I would change. But it’s an interesting observation about HD vs SD – HD can be a little TOO good for some people.
One of the entrepreneurs in the film sent his publicist to the screening, and she objected to the color grade I did on him, which really surprised me. I spent a lot of time making him look good, and in fact, Ben shot his interview to look positively glowing very intentionally. Film is a subjective medium, that’s for sure. Luckily for me, Chris Julian was standing nearby when she cornered me and backed me up on how good it in fact looks.
But the biggest revelation of the night came when someone who will remain unnamed here threw a temper tantrum after the film, in the hall outside the theater, objecting to not receiving a larger credit. That one really caught me by surprise.
Ultimately, making a film is a deeply subjective, personal process, and I’m deeply grateful for the opportunity to have collaborated with so many talented people in its making. It’s a true film. And I’m proud of it.
No word yet on whether it’ll get it’s public premier at SIFF – they have until the end of April to notify us. Fingers crossed!