I, the writer and director, was a bit nervous as we entered this new world, the challenge of the film world, and I couldn’t wait to hear comments from the public. I wanted their comments so badly. I cannot not evaluate my own film so the viewers’ comments would enlighten me.
On the campus the film started and the audience was watching. Some people were excited...others were bored...a third group of people were attentive... All of the viewers had various reactions, more or less enjoying what they were seeing from looking at their eyes. Seeing this made me more nervous, as I noticed some opened their mouths to say something, like..."Ah, I knew it! These guys are what I expected."...”No, you aren’t right! You should take a careful look." These and other similar gestures kept me watching their reactions.
Finally, the movie finished. I stood up, turned the lights on, and opened the floor for the audience to give comments and feedback. One member of the audience directly threw a look at me and made a wide sign: "An ‘A’ grade for our first film.” That was the first moment that inspired me. Another comment, from one of deaf faculty, said that we deserve their respect as we made our first efforts and first step to make such a film as a feature film; it was the another moment that made me feel more confident. The same deaf faculty described his opinion...
"I've noticed some scene that are longer and need to be cut shorter to make pace more quick. I've noticed that the story of this film is unique, as conflicts erupted between the two worlds of the deaf and the hearing, and there are no other films that are similar. Some films have a few of these features, but most do not have so much, which makes your movie more unique and more original. I've noticed that some scenes contain weaknesses, but overall, the story is wonderful, and we must respect you for your effort. This movie was made within two months, including creating the script and making the film, so you deserve our praises."
That is what made the day for our movie. This kind of comment implies that we are going in the right direction and that we have done what we expected to do; our movie goes down the right path as it draws mostly positive comments.
One honorable deaf person who attended the movie in LA said that we deserve respect as we made our first efforts to show our movie..."I'm interested to watch more of your upcoming movies. And I'll do my part to make your sponsorship happen." That was another moment that made a light shine on our efforts and we are happier as we get more comments and interest from other honorable deaf persons.
Other comments about the film highlighted minor problems, like weak lighting in some scenes; some scenes that feel too long and need to be cut in half; subtitles that are low, near the bottom of the screen, making the subtitles less readable, and some subtitles have errors, but overall, most people commented that the film is great.
One thing that I've noticed is that there are two kinds of audience members: people who know some principles of scripts and others who depend on the visual scenes. Almost all of the people who know principles of scripts say that our movie is really great and that the story is "meaty", having strong story lines and including most elements of the script, like plot, conflict, mentor, etc. Others, who depend on visual scenes say that our movie has some weak and long scenes; some scenes are dark, some parts of story are not logical, and some scenes need more light, etc. I think that the comments vary among different audiences, but these two kinds of groups appear to be more distinct with the more comments that I got, and the deeper I know audience. Those people who know the principles of a story are usually hearing or a few deaf people who know about principles of script, while the others who depend more on the visual scenes are usually deaf with no knowledge of script principles. All of this makes them more distinguishable. It’s sad, but true; I wish that deaf people were more aware of story principles that the elements our movie include, not only on the visual scene alone.
Of course we need to enhance the scenes to make them look more attractive and more professional. However, some of the audience was more surprised when they learned about the limits of our film equipment. We had one cheap camera with film look added, and no professional guys around to work with us. We made the movie in two months, handling the camera manually, not automatically, which made our work harder and longer, and we paid for everything out of our own pocket. The result is a film with much lower quality than we expected, but we are happy as our experience progressed during the practical process of making a film after all of our theoretical planning.
Now we are clear about what we need to improve, based on the comments and feedback we received. We learn from our audiences and their comments, and we will do our best to change ourselves into a better film team. Comments and feedback is one of the most valuable tools to use to analyze the function of our film team, which is made up of people with knowledge in various areas, so both their positive as well as their negative comments guides us in the forest. With the enlightenment of their comments, we are armed with what we need to stand up and challenge ourselves. We are learning from our practice and from these comments, and we are ready to accept more comments.... Comments are welcome!