To get feedback for my rough cut, I decided to do digital test screenings online to find out what people thought of my film and the general vibe that is coming off it. I feel this is both helpful and counterproductive, as I’ve asked my lecturer Clifton to give opinions as he has been helpful throughout the scriptwriting process with advice and suggestions and I also asked others in the class who I feel have good technical knowledge to get their perspective on how to improve the aesthetics of the film. I feel however these ‘test screenings’ are also counterproductive for the development of the film, as I would prefer not to have opinions of an audience until after the finished edit as opinions will effect how I complete the edit from this point on, but it’s productive towards creating a polished edit to get opinions of an audience and fix the mistake. Another problem is that nobody I’ve asked for opinions are my ‘target audience’, so their feedback won’t be that useful compared to feedback from an individual who would be more affable towards the film.
Clifton’s feedback first was that for a rough cut it was well polished and the range of shots/narrative has transferred well from the script. He says the locations are used well and the characters play their roles, however Jason is wooden at points but Claire grounds his overacting (which I can’t really help in the edit, but I like the absurdity of his actions at points, as it IS black comedy and was meant during production). He suggests that I could probably trim 5 minutes from the film to make it shorter, however I feel that I’ve already cut about 10-15 minutes of dialogue and scenes from the production and don’t want to lose too much from the essence of the film. Another point is that there are no subplots, but I think the point is missed over the location of the ring and the proposal, as I didn’t expand this more in the production and add more subtle nods towards it into the script. One of the main things that stands out in his feedback is that some scenes such as the messing with the ashes could be discomforting or disrespectful for some viewers, and my argument for that is it was intentional. All along i’ve stated that I want the film to be uncomfortable to watch and for viewers to not find it an easy viewing, and scenes such as the messing with the ashes are deliberately placed to provoke a reaction from the viewer and stretch the ‘black comedy’ elements of the film.
I also got feedback from other students. The biggest problem they have is the length as it feels overtly long, however the soundtrack fits the flow of the film well. Other suggestions are that the montage is overtly long, it still has audio and grading problems (which are evident as it’s only a rough cut), but the dialogue works really well and the jokes fit, and the external locations are used to a good effect.
I feel all of this is constructive feedback, both compliments and opinions on particular sections. I feel from this, the biggest problems in the film currently are the length; and individual suggestions such as taste in the scenes, guitars needing tuning, some sections too long or short. I like how people feel about the dialogue and the jokes, so I feel that the comedy element of the black comedy translates well over from the script if the unintended target audience also enjoys the narrative. I feel there are elements I can improve on, by working more on both the colour grading and audio balancing, and also trimming some of the scenes to cut the runtime, maybe also pushing the external locations as feedback was positive from those parts so I could use them greater.