Well, the screening’s finished, and I feel... well, I have mixed feelings. The screening itself went well — in terms of overall quality, I think we were in the middle of the pack — but I couldn’t help but notice all the things we could have done better — even accounting for the time limit. Still, there’s nothing to be done about it now, so I’ll just have to consider them lessons learned for next time.
We have to keep a much tighter rein on the writing process. Yes, I’ll still need the actors to handle a large part of their own characterizations, back story, and such, but we’ll need to have just a few people (at most) handle plot, and probably even general character arcs. With luck, this’ll be easier once I have a better understanding of the preferences and capabilities of our “troupe.”
We’ve got to have a much more rigidly defined set of roles for our crew, and as a corollary, I need to be much more assertive about enforcing those roles (it also might help to have an on-set producer with a temperature below 103 degrees...). It’s hard when you’ve started by basically begging anyone and everyone to help out in any way they can, but now that we’re a little more established, I think we’ll be able to be a little more demanding. Not that everyone didn’t make a huge effort, but there are times when we need to make sure that people are doing their assigned tasks, and not those of others.
We can’t let our need to work quickly detract from our insistence on professionalism. In editing (and later, in viewing the finished product), I noticed how we’d short-changed things like on-set color checking and exposure levels in the interests of speed. And while I’ll defend the effort I made at setting up our opening shots — which put us behind schedule but served as a necessary starting point for our picture — we’ll have to make sure that part of that setup time is devoted to making sure the camera’s actually picking up what we need it to.
There are other things we’ll need to remember for next time (setting audio levels properly, considering more creative choices in editing), but the most important thing to remember is that there will be a next time. Tohubohu lives — and I’m already kicking around some ideas for another project...