This past week I got some great feedback from the people I showed the film to. It was so cool to hear about what people were confused by and how they interpreted the film overall. To assist in this process, I set up a standardized survey so that I could gather information on key points that I felt were important to know.
On average, people seemed to be mildly interested in the film, which I was thrilled by. They were confused about some stuff, but it's a film that leans heavily on the visuals, so I was happy that I was able to convey as much as I did with the garbage gray layout designs. I was relieved that people had questions about the film, and I was also tickled that people didn't understand the world I built, so I spent the last week addressing ways to fix this.
Besides some good points on technical problems with the editing and layout, I was fascinated to read about how people interpreted what the protagonist was doing in the film. Each person said something a bit different, and it was SO eye opening to me as a storyteller.
I've heard hundreds of film interpretations in my life, but this was the first time I got to hear interpretations on a film that I made. It's enlightening to say the least. What was really cool about it was that each person came up with a different backstory for Chloe, the protagonist. It made me realize that the "official" backstory that I have doesn't mean a damn thing. The story will ultimately be different for each person, and it will reside solely in the mind of each viewer. That sounds like mumbo jumbo, but I'm beginning to believe it. My task will be to express as much of my vision as I can, but I can only do so much. Everybody approaches art differently and they see things filtered through their different life experiences.
Still, I'm enjoying this process largely because of how personal it is for me. Creating a film is a personal adventure, regardless of how many people are on the project. For so MANY hours, days, weeks, months, and sometimes years, a film is completely unknown to anyone but the creators. And during that time, the notion that it will one day exist in the public eye seems impossible.
Right now, Hunted is still mine. I made the first draft of the story on a hot summer afternoon almost a year ago. And since then some rather talented people have helped shape it, but I'm still the vision holder. And as its primary guardian, I feel an odd sense of parental love for it. Don't get me wrong, it's still a lump of confusion. But it's my lump of confusion. Obviously the challenge will be to make it good. :)
One day, however, it will no longer be mine. When it releases, for better or for worse, it will be its own thing. I won't be there to sit next to every viewer and explain what's going on in each scene. Hunted will have to do it all by itself. Like a toddler growing into a college-bound adult, Hunted will one day leave the nest and exist in the world...all by its lonesome.
Maybe only I find this interesting, but it's easy for me to forget while I'm developing it. Honestly, I can only look at it for what it is at this very moment. And right now it's just a kid, and I'm doing what I can to teach it to be the best adult it can possibly be.
We'll see if my "parental" skills can even produce something worth seeing. Here's hoping!
No pressure, right? I've only poured more days into it than I can even count.