This past week held two screenings of my semester project, "Friday Night Fright." All I can say is - what an amazing reaction!
An audience's reaction to your film is the true test. Will they laugh when you expect them to laugh? Will they get scared when you want them to get scared? Their laughter and their "ooo's" and "ahhh's" are so much fun for a filmmaker to hear!
Norris Theater - University of Southern California - Los Angeles
The first screening of "Friday Night Fright" in front of an audience was Sunday at USC. Over 300 friends, family, actors and filmmakers were there to watch our films. My professor read my log line, "In tonight's episode, Andy is not the only one doing the watching" in his scary voice and then the lights went down. My whole body was hunched over in preparation for the film - I was so nervous!
It started. People laughed at the first gag - YES! The second, not so much -- OH NO!!! Finally I allowed myself to relax and watch. I found myself laughing and getting tense in scary moments. I actually heard people gasp in fear -- not what I was expecting! And of course the biggest laugh was not where I was expecting either. This is how a screening goes with a live audience!
Afterward, everyone cheered. I stood up and gave a triumphant fist in the air - the film survived! Nothing can compare to that first screening, and it was perfect.
At intermission, I stepped outside to get some air - it was hot in the theater - probably because I was coming down from my adrenaline rush. Mason Maddocks, who played Andy, was there with his family and two friends. They immediately ran up and hugged me. I was so nervous for their reaction. They loved it - I was happy!
Houston Rhines, who played Christopher, got the biggest laugh. He loved it. It's a great feeling when the actors are happy! Tons of people came up to me discuss the film. My biggest compliment was from a fellow student - they felt they could just sit back and enjoy the ride of the film. A HUGE compliment for a student film. I based "Friday Night Fright" on the adventure aspect. You're going through an adventure with this kid, and it will hopefully remind you of similar adventures of your own!
After all of the screenings, refreshments were served outside the theater. We all laughed and hugged in celebration of the end of an incredibly hard semester called 508!
Thirdplace Coffeehouse - Raleigh - North Carolina
Once home for Christmas Break, I held a screening in downtown Raleigh. Fruition Film organized and sponsored the event. Sleddogg Marketing sent out a press release and evite for the event. We had an amazing turn out. I was so happy to show all of my close friends and family what I have been doing for the past year!
After I showed the three films I made this past year, I asked if anyone had questions about the production process. There were a ton! I discussed the logistics of the film industry, the USC School of Cinematic Arts and my personal creative process. The best question of the night - What did you learn in the making of these three films? The answer - how to tell a story, and how to trust myself as a filmmaker. USC gives you the tools and opportunities and it is your job to use them and discover yourself as a filmmaker. I was so happy to express this to all of my friends and family! The screening was perfect!