Who Needs Soho When You Have Stoke on Trent?

They came in their red doctor martens, beanie hats and heavy metal t shirts. They were our highly precious, first ever 18 – 24 year old test audience for Turbulence. They had no connection with the production and I had no idea what they would make of it. For Julia and I this was the first time that we had seen the film on a big screen. Just that was a revelation – it felt good this big, even on a standard dvd. But…. I felt acutely exposed. If you’ve made a short film, you have the comfort of knowing that it will be over in ten minutes and if people don’t like it, you didn’t take up too much of their time. With a feature film, you’re asking for a lot of their time, their investment. And if they don’t like it, then not only did they not like it but you took up 90 minutes of their life!  That’s going to hurt. When the film finished I still didn’t know what they would say. They’d laughed here and there, cringed where they should cringe, girls had reacted differently to boys but that’s all I knew. Then the lights went up and they spoke. When they spoke they told us that they liked it, really rather liked it and that they would really like to talk about it at length. They told us that it could be better if we changed it a bit here and there but that actually they didn’t want us to change it very much please. They liked the music, the characters and the story. …..Wow. We were advised to show the film to our target audience. What glorious advice that was. I want more. As Morrisey once said ‘This Night Has Opened My Eyes’.  

Michael – 16.2.2011

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