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The Mechanics and Reasoning Behind Research Screenings
Have you ever come out of a cinema thinking “It was OK, but I could have told them not to …”? Well here’s your chance to actively contribute, and maybe even change, films. Yes, you.
Yes, proper films that show in proper cinemas. Film companies are hosting research screenings right now, and they want you to contribute to the movie-making process.
When a film is being edited lots of people have opinions on how the finished movie should look. But some may be too close to the project, or have seen too many different versions to give a fresh view. What the companies really need is to ask the experts … YOU!
You’re the customer, you regularly pay to see films just like this one, and know what you like and what you don’t. You are exactly the sort of person they want to talk to and take advice from (so they can be sure their film is what you, and people like you, will want to see). On other occasions the companies who are in charge of where and when the movies play might want to you help them with their marketing plans. They want to hear honest, informed opinions from genuine film fans – the people they’re aiming the flicks at – what you liked, what you didn’t, and whether it’s something you’d recommend to your friends.
A research screening is similar to one of the preview screenings you’ve already attended. It is an evening (usually) showing in a small cinema or preview theatre. However, at times the film may not be finished (they’re waiting for you to tell them how!). It could be that there is no music yet, or that scenes are missing. This really is your chance to be part of the film making experience – you will be seeing this footage usually before even the actors, and what stays and what goes is down to you!
When the film finishes...
At the end of the screening you will be asked to stay in your seat and fill in a questionnaire about what you have just seen. You might even be asked to take part in a discussion panel (this should take no more than 20 minutes). In some cases the companies actually film the audience’s reaction as they’re watching the action. You will also be asked to sign an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement). Now this really means you’re part of the film business – industry figures from producers and directors, to writers and stars, always have to sign these to promise they won’t openly discuss the film (you don’t want a copycat film coming out as a rival).