Friday, March 02, 2007
I have seen the future
I have seen the as yet unreleased film “Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel”. Twice.
Or to be more accurate, I have seen two different cuts of the film. At the moment it doesn’t have all the music, it’s in mono and the special effects are obviously temporary or indeed, missing. But nevertheless, I have seen it, from beginning to end.
The story I made up in my brainhole and squirted from my fingers into a keyboard has now been squirted in through my eyes and back to the grey pulp where it began it’s journey.
“But Jamie” I can hear you all screaming in the void “Is it any good? Tell us details and stop beating around the bush, you fat ponce.”
Stop being so impatient. And rude. We’ll get there, we’ll get there.
My first viewing was with Justin and Neil, the producers, in the conference room of an office building. On a television. And about ten minutes in, I realised I had lost all perspective. I knew the jokes too well. I had forgotten why they were ever funny.
(Apparently Richard Curtis guards against similar fatigue by putting stars in the margins next to jokes that make him laugh in his first draft, because he realises that six weeks down the line, he won’t have a clue. But I digress. And possibly repeat myself from another blog entry.)
I genuinely didn’t know if it was any good. I was too close. I mean technically, it felt like it worked. Everything was in the right place. The funny bits felt like they should be funny, if only I wasn’t mouthing along with the actors. Justin and Neil thought it was really good. But the only bits I really laughed at were ad-libs I didn’t know about, or quirky takes I hadn’t seen in the rushes. I genuinely didn’t know.
Then we had a test screening. With real people. Most of which knew nothing about the film and none of which who had read the script. And they laughed. And we breathed out. And they liked it. And we breathed out some more. And they filled in questionnaires and offered opinions on what bits they thought were slow and what they liked and didn’t like.
And Gareth and the Editor considered these questionnaires and notes from us and went away and tweaked and tucked and recut.
And lo, then there was another test screening. Which scored even higher. And there was much rejoicing in the land.
And flushed with this early success, a small paranoid voice in the back of our collective heads whispers that maybe, just maybe, we’re all doomed.