You obviously write and make things for others to watch, but it's beyond your control what they think of the things. I'm at the stage with Fellow where editing of sections is starting to be completed, so soon enough the film will be 'out there' for you, the general population, to watch... and inevitably, judge.
Housemate-Jack watched a rough cut of the complete Fellow. That has a significance, as Jack was there at the very beginning of this process, way back when (2007/8) when I first decided I wanted to make a sequel to Self. Back then, Jack use to joke that he was my biggest fan, and I've often discussed new ideas and so forth with him. So... what would he make of the film? I was quite nervous, but excited, to find out.
He said a polite, "It's very good" afterwards, which was kind. I'm not sure I believe this opinion, mind! He came loaded with a number of thoughts and criticisms - which I always try and embrace, even if I don't always agree with them.
So what did he say - and what were my responses*?
The film is very autobiographical - perhaps too much. Would anybody outside to my circle of friends 'get' it, or want to?
I think this is correct. Infact, I'd go along and say that I need to avoid anything typically "me" again for a while. As for if others will 'get' it... I don't know. I certainly hoped they would when I wrote it! It's not the most incomprehensible thing I've ever written, but who knows?
Horatio's "Argh!!" at the beginning of the film is unbelievable, and pretty inconsistent with the rest of his behaviour throughout the film.
Completely wrong! It's an OTT reaction, sure, but so is his later decision to go back and act/dress like his 18-year old self. I mean, who does that?! His decision making process is massively compromised, and his behaviour extreme to say the least. This isn't your average Joe. Why then wouldn't he grab his head and scream? Besides... he's narrating his whole life story inside his head. Clearly he thinks he has some form of audience. This is him playing up to those folks. Yes, it's heightened - but then all drama is to varying degrees!
Horatio's initial situation/subsequent crisis are nor sufficiently explored.
I worried about this during scripting. How much of Horatio's pre-crisis life do we show? Ultimately, I just decided to get on and tell the story (his crisis). I think he tells you all you need to know about the past ("It wasn't supposed to turn out like this") and his rejection by Margot is also quite telling. Does it go far enough? Hmm. I don't know. Oh well, nothing I can do about it now!
It relies on Self too much.
I don't think it does - but it does reference that first film. Everything essential from Self is flashed back to in this new film, anyway - and presented as if it was an organic part of this film's structure.
The title Fellow doesn't work.
I like it. It sounds similar to "Self". It's also short and snappy - qualities I like in my titles. More importantly, it means something to the story.
The [SPOILER!!] Dad didn't have to die. This is pretty cliché and completely unsubtle. There should have been another way to wrap up Horatio's story.
I don't think it's a cliché. I think things like this happen in real life. People die. Those left behind are shocked. They re-evaluate their own lives through this shock, and make startling life choices. This happens to Horatio - he starts writing again, and also bonds with his Mum, after weeks of them being at war. Could I have reached that end point without the dad dying? Possibly, but in my opinion it would have taken a lot longer, and felt only half as honest. I'm not sure what would have been the incident causing the change, either.
The video shouldn't be split into 6 parts. It should play as one long 30 minute video.
Yeah, Jack's right on that one.
There we have it.
Many thanks to Jack for taking the time and energy to watch the thing. I know it doesn't sound like it, but I appreciate it a lot - and I really value your thoughts!
The first 4 minutes are now ready. Hopefully the rest will follow shortly.
(*I'm paraphrasing them all, obviously)