Saturday 25th April... This was the deadline for the 12 Films in a year project. This was the date I would be screening all 12 films to an audience of pretty much everyone I currently know and work with. Friends, Family... Everyone!
I have never had anything screened in a cinema environment before! It's not an easy thing to organise and unless you are part of a festival or have made a feature length film it just doesn't really happen. Showing one short film in a cinema is far to costly and I don't actually believe the cinema is a place for short form entertainment.
However... if you've ever been to a short film festival you will know that watching 'many' short form films is actually loads of fun! You get to see a lot of different styles of film and in very quick succession. It was always in the back of my mind that if I managed to make all these 12 films, showing them in a cinema would be kinda cool. Having twelve films to show seemed like it was good justification for renting a screen. It was a way I could get people to watch all twelve and see how people would react to them. It was also the only way I could pay back those involved. I wanted the people involved to know that their hard work wouldn't just sit there and never be completed. Everything we made over the twelve months was worth more than that.
Showing off my own work isn't something I'm very good at, but I knew that it was something I needed to get over. I'm not great at finishing projects either so I needed a proper deadline, something that I had to hit. The consequence of missing this deadline would mean 90 people in a screening room with nothing to watch. Things like this became major motivators for me in making these 12 Films. As they went on and it started looking more and more likely that a screening would be required.
I started this project as a way to improve my self, to get better at the thing I always wanted to do... Make films. But it's not just about making the films. If you want to do it and be good at it you need other skills, or you need to know people who have those skills. Making films is not something one person can do on there own. You can get so far but eventually you are going to need someone else's help.
Now for that person to want to help you out you need to be able to do a few things... You need to get to know them, you need to know what they can and cant do. You need to be able to successfully explain what it is you want them to do, why they should do it, explain to them what it is they may get out of it. It's not manipulation but if you can't talk to people effectively they just won't know what it is your trying to accomplish. Talking to people is only something you get better at by doing it. It can escalate as well from talking to only one person to groups of ten, twenty and above. Confidence goes along way but people generally like to see something that you have made before. But if you have nothing to show then all they have to go on is you. Your personality and the way you present yourself.
It took me a long time to get into a position to make these films, to have the basic skills and confidence to start it all in the first place. I never knew how important it was to have a personality until I started making my own films. Working with new people, explaining what it was I was trying to do and why, then seeing them understand and get behind it all. Everyone who helped me out continued helping me out way after they had finished on their particular film's.
They were all even kind enough to come to the screening...
A lot of people asked me if I was nervous going into the screening, it was a fair question. I however found the screening to be the least stressful and the least nerve inducing part of this entire project. The work was done! I had managed to do what I set out to do and now all I had to do was sit back and watch them all one final time. A few people wanted to know if I was not only nervous about the screening but also nervous about having to talk before and after. Again this seemed like the easy part!.
The films needed introducing and I really wanted to answer any questions people might have after they had seen it all. As I mentioned above talking in front of people is hard and I'm not very good at it yet but I'm a hell of a lot better than I used to be! I started A Certain Style of Podcast as a way of getting better at talking. I certainly gained more confidence over the year making the films but I have always had this tendency to talk to fast and mumble. With the podcast I started to understand more of what I was saying, trying to be more concise and not stutter so much! It all really helped. So when I had to stand in front of everyone to introduce the films I not only had the confidence in the work that had been done but I also knew that I could just about get by and not totally screw it up.
You can see a video below of the Q&A session after the film.
The big thing I took away from the screening and something I would really encourage others to do is 'Don't be afraid to show off your work'. People's response's to the things you do is so very important. Either in giving you confidence to do more or giving you valuable information that will help you improve next time.
I don't think I'm going to take on another project like this for a while, but making a film with a bunch of friends then showing it off and saying 'this is what we made' is certainly something I would like to do again very soon.
A huge thanks to the Ultimate Picture Palace for letting us in! And and even huger thanks to everyone that came, I really appreciated it!