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Opinions of your film will run all over the place. You’ll see. It is important to remember that a person’s opinion isn’t actually communicating to you about your movie, but rather, that person is sharing something about their personal inner self.
If the acting in your film is fantastic, and someone tells you that the acting is horrible, what they’re really telling you is why they didn’t connect to it, or that there’s something about their lives which kept them from liking it. Maybe it hit too close to home? Maybe they have a similar history to those characters and those old emotions, buried so deep they can’t even see them anymore, are coming to the surface subconsciously and preventing them from letting those feelings escape. So they hate the acting.
One person will say they hate the music while another will say they love it. One person will say the flow of the movie is trance like, while another will say it’s jarring. One person will say that the writing seems forced, while others will say it feels genuine.
There will be sales agents who say these things too. It’s pretty common for Hollywood in general to always find something about your movie they hate. You’ll see. There will be distribution companies, reps, film festivals, anybody and everybody, who will insist their ideas and opinions are fact—and the funny thing is—they will all contradict each other.
That happens every time I get ready to sell a film or promote it at festivals. Every time. And it will likely happen every time for you, too. So my advice is to somehow learn how to let it bounce off of you. Keep going. There will be someone, somewhere, who loves it. Prepare yourself for an endless barrage of rejection one after the next. Eventually it’ll all work out. Keep going until the movie is shared publicly with as many people as possible.
You’ll learn that after gathering everyone’s opinions, you’ll be surprised to see that every element in the entire film will be loved at least once, and also, hated at least once. For every person who likes this, there will be another who hates the same thing and loves something else, which was hated by the other guy. This is just how life works.
Learning all that has helped me identify when a project becomes true to my vision and perfect for me. And that is all I can do. That’s all anyone can do.
When I share rough cuts of my films with professional editors in Los Angeles and NYC, and other filmmakers, and well-known actors who have worked with some of the greatest directors of our time, their opinions don’t change my own perspective. I share it with them out of curiosity. Some people need to hear other people’s points of views in order to help define their own. I’m not like that. It could be because I’m more visual, instead of verbal or auditory. I’m pretty sure it’s all about how the brain works and how each person processes information.
The people who need to hear what other people think so they know what to think are usually the types who hear something negative and try to “fix” it. But, if they did that every time a new opinion came in, there would be nothing left. It would be a big black void with some credits playing. Although, even that could end up gone if someone else didn’t like the font.
Of course, I’m always fascinated in hearing other people’s perspectives of any movie I make. I’m so proud of a film when I complete it, of course it feels good to feel the pats on the back. It’s exactly like being a parent. When your kid makes a good grade or wins a contest, it feels good. And, likewise, when that kid is bullied, it hurts. But bullies are out there, and there’s nothing we can do about it as parents.
I’m also aware that, like food, some people may not like the way it tastes. That’s okay. Critiques don’t teach me how to be truer to my vision. They only teach me how to better appeal to the critic. If I’ve made a risotto with white truffles, and the person eating it doesn’t like Italian food, there’s no way I’ll win them over. If my objective is to win that person over, I’ll have to make what they like.
If my objective is to have the best Italian restaurant on the block, I need to focus on making the best Italian I can and be true to my vision, instead of worrying about the people who don’t like Italian and would rather eat Chinese. And, likewise, if my intention is to create a New Wave Italian, classic Italian purists might not like it.
Be true to your own perspective. And, keep going.