Another difference between film and theatre…

So…I showed what I’ve got of the film so far to a labmate who has mondo film experience and he had lots of positive things to say about it, as well as helpful comments to make it better – hurray!

It’s amazing how relieved I felt, after hearing that.  Lots of tension just drained out of me. 

Here is yet another big difference between theatre and film:  the audience, and the opportunity for rewrites based on audience feedback.  When I write a play, I usually get at least one opportunity for a reading in front of a live (hopefully decent-sized) audience.  And while I might be sort of watching the action on stage, I’m probably paying more attention to the audience:  Where do they laugh, where do they cough, stretch, shuffle, where do they look confused? 

Then I go back and rewrite.  And I can continue to rewrite, up till and even, if the producers and actors are willing, through a production.

There is no such luxury with film.  At least not with my low-budget film.  Big-budget films can go back and reshoot, writers can rewrite (or write new) material .  Someone at one of my jobs asked me the other day if I had to go back and reshoot anything and I had to laugh.  There’s no reshooting on my budget or in terms of the location in which I shot, not to mention re-coordinating everyone’s schedules (which was a minor miracle in itself). It’s make do with whatever we’ve got, which luckily, according to my recent feedback, is good (hence my massive relief).

I know – it’s a pretty obvious difference.  But I think the magnitude of it didn’t hit me until I was thinking to myself – “Hmm…I wonder what will happen once this gets out of the editing room and in front of an audience.  And what am I gonna to do if NOBODY LAUGHS?!”  ‘Cause there’s nothing sadder than something purporting to be a comedy that doesn’t get even one chuckle.

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