It’s been a week since my short film was uploaded, and I’m happy with how it has been received so far. At the time of writing, it has had 706 views.
There has been praise from a number of my contemporaries on the local scene, both messaged through facebook and in person at gigs I’ve been to. In amongst the humbling comments of “funny” and “clever”, one of my favourite acts on the circuit said that it has inspired him to work harder and eliminate his self-perceived “mediocrity.” As he is one of the most original acts I’ve seen, someone whose appearances genuinely excite me by being funny, edgy, and unpredictable, that was a huge compliment. Someone else told me they’d felt compelled to look through their own material to drop anything “hack” and, again, it was someone who I would (and have) paid to see. These were truly unexpected reactions from people I respect.
As mooted in the previous post, I did submit the film to a dedicated short-comedy-film festival. The organiser felt that, while the idea holds up, the whole thing could be tightened, and he asked if I had a shorter version with half the run-time. I don’t. The film was shot and edited by my friends at the Production Attic, and although it was a collaboration it was also a favour. I don’t feel able to ask them to edit it further, having spent so much unpaid time working on it already, and in truth I think they are as happy with the result as I am anyway. I said as much to the organiser because, although we could possibly go back and put in the effort cutting it to suit his festival, I’m not that bothered. If it had fitted the criteria and been screened it would have been a welcome wee bonus, but it’s not the defining achievement. Ultimately, I want people to watch it, but now it’s online they can. I have no doubt that he’ll be able to assemble a worthwhile programme without it.
My other stated aim was to get it into Chortle’s Weekly Trivia File. This was the source of some indecision, as I wondered how best to approach them. It seemed crass to simply Tweet them, and even less appealing to Tweet one of their writers with whom I have the briefest of acquaintances. In the end, I found the email address for submissions from correspondents – opinion pieces that they publish online with some regularity – and sent the link off with a very brief introduction, backed up by some of the praise I quoted in my previous post. Thankfully, they accepted it, and it did appear as the final item in today’s article. That’s been extremely gratifying.
I am heartened that they wrote “seems to have the modern stand-up scene sussed,” when I feared that I might be condemned as an arrogant novice. I worry that it could be easily misconstrued that I am poking fun at people who make a living from comedy, people who can afford to release DVDs and then see them chart highly. Instead, I see it as satire, observational humour about stand-up. The people it targets are really the unimaginative, those who have a pop at whatever “personality” they’ve seen Gervais, Boyle, or Carr belittle. On one level, I’d love to let myself believe I might inspire someone to be more creative, to strive to do something different, do their own thing better. At the same time, when someone I respect told me that’s how he had viewed it, I was taken aback – I didn’t conceive that I could actually have that effect, or make any kind of difference myself, since I have no clout. Yet another part of me is fully aware that what it comes down to is: are your jokes funny? That’s all that really matters to audiences anyway.
To my knowledge, there has been just one negative review (if you know of others, and as unwise as it may be to request this of the internet, I’m interested in constructive feedback). It was left as a comment on a re-posting of the video on Facebook, and simply said “Pish.” As willing as I am to take criticism and engage in debate, I refuse to be moved by people whose dismissal is confined to one monosyllabic word.
Given the relative ease with which I achieved my sole stated ambition – to get it on the Chortle site – I kind of wish I had aimed higher. If I learn anything from this, it’s that maybe I should have a bit of faith in my own abilities. That is, subject to a deluge of hate mail arriving in response to this article…
If nothing else, it has forced me to drop my joke that centres on an over-used reference to a chain of high street bakers. I like the joke though, so I’ll try and find a new angle for it. It would be easier to keep it as is, but hypocrisy is something I abhor and try to shy away from.
There are no plans for a sequel, although I may do the character live if requested. That will be an experience as there will be no scripted audience reactions, and I’ll need to rewrite the ending. Fortunately, I have some ideas for that in mind. I do have another short film I would like to make, about music, and so I intend to work on that script next. Meanwhile, my thanks to everyone who has watched this short, commented favourably, shared the link, enjoyed my efforts (and those of the cast and crew), and otherwise spread the word or given me words of encouragement/support. Seriously, I had no idea how it would be received, and am glad that the answer seems to be “quite well.”