We had a feedback screening of our About a Donkey rough cut Saturday night. We chose to share it with a group of filmmakers whose opinions we value, and who we felt would be best equipped to understand what a rough cut entails and look past what's not yet finished. Overall, the night was very productive with some positive comments and a lot of constructive feedback that gave us new perspective on the story (which was necessary because we're just too familiar with it at this point). The consensus across the group was that the acting was really strong and the characters felt fully realized and believably connected in their dynamics -- which was wonderful for me to hear as a director. The screening also confirmed some narrative flaws I was sensing (and thankfully can largely fix); it made me realize where certain scenes could be trimmed down or cut out completely, and where I needed to add back in context that I had previously cut. It also helped us realize a little more about who our audience is for the film. A large part of our mission is telling a story that meets people where they're at as a means to pull them forward. Showing it to a group of already forward thinking people led to some nuanced discussions that has given us further insight into how to best execute our mission.
I actually went home that night and stayed up until 5am recutting some scenes and adding in some moments that had gone unused. I nixed 11 minutes from the total runtime and came up with a quick pickup scene (really just a shot) that I feel will strengthen a character arc that was feeling a bit empty and convenient. I have plans to shoot that this week. Our goal now is to picture lock by next Monday. We're working with no budget on the post side, so we're trying to move fast but without sacrificing creativity. I feel good about making our September 20th deadline though. Our score and sound mix are already in the works, and our colorist is ready to jump in next week. We're aiming for all early bird deadlines for festivals; and we're being very selective about what we submit to, wanting to feel confident our audience is their audience. We can't wait to share the film with more people and really get it out there.
Thank you everyone who attended and shared Saturday night!
-Christina and the team
P.S. Shout-out to my mom for cooking, as per usual.