Saturday, 20 April 2013

Changing course

It's the London marathon tomorrow, and with recent events in Boston still fresh in peoples minds, you can imagine the organisers and creators of the event will be dedicated to ensuring all goes according to plan. The course twists and winds its way through the capital city, and clear markers must be in place to advise the runners of where the course goes so that there is no risk to anyone losing their way, whether they are in a large group or out there by themselves.

When you work on your own, as I do, at times it's difficult, almost impossible, to judge your work objectively to ascertain if it's actually any good, to know if the course you are following is the right one. Sometimes you become so absorbed in a project that you convince yourself it's the right thing to be doing. Of course it can't fail.

I have a great circle of friends, and a number who are very honest with me and who I rely upon to give me truthful responses when I ask their opinion of projects I'm working on. Last year I gathered a number at a local cinema who helped me refine a feature film.

Understandably, as well as the passionate critics, there are many who are also just polite and congratulate you on your achievements. That's nice, and comforting, and a moral booster at times, and just as valuable as the constructive criticism.

It is true to say that I became completely absorbed by the film project and it became difficult to know what decisions to make anymore. To quote the old saying: I couldn't see the wood for the trees. I continued to tweak it here and there. I should have remembered the great director Woody Allen, who once said, you never finish a film you just abandon it.

It has now absorbed a large part of my life, and finances, for almost three years. The latter part of last year was all about entering the film into world-wide film festivals. 12 in all. One by one the rejections came back. This morning one of the festivals I had pinned my hopes on, Seattle, also rejected the film. There remains only one to return now, my home town of Edinburgh.

It would be easy to bury my head in the sand and ignore these results, but these decisions and opinions are important. Having your work judged by people that don't know you at all is not only the hardest critique but the most important.

So it would appear, despite all the hard work and dedication, that my work as a film maker does not make the mark.

The film has recently been turned into a talk, and together with my adventure buddy we begin a tour of 12 venues this coming Friday round Scotland, the first of which is in my home town Portobello. It's looking good and we've created a very entertaining performance. In terms of hard work and dedication I couldn't have done more. But in seven days I'll find out if there's a demand for it and if my peers judge it to be any good, or if it's time to change course.

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