Many classic films would be very different from what they are today if they were not first shown experimentally for public viewing. Nicholas Barber from the BBC In this article, he reveals a very secretive process in Hollywood filmmaking.
A happy song on a busy highway in La La Land. The decomposing head protruding from a sunken boat in the ocean in the Jaws. Julia Roberts dancing with Rupert Everett in the final sequence of "My Best Friend's Wedding". Archer's gun on Glenn Close at the end of "Fatal Attraction". All of these scenes are very lovable parts of very popular movies, and they all have one thing in common: they came into the movies thanks to the audience. The directors of these films did not include these sequences in their original edits, but after the audience expressed their opinion in the experimental plays, a series of new scenes were filmed or old scenes were saved from the editing room.
About "Lala Land" was filmed on the highway sequence and then removed from the film during editing, but was added to the film again so that viewers would realize at the outset that they were dealing with a musical. (The romantic musical "Lala Land" directed by Damien Chassell focuses on the story of a pianist's acquaintance and relationship, except with Ryan Gosling and the star-studded actor Emma Stone, who gradually move away from each other.)
About "My Best Friend's Wedding" The audience felt that Roberts's character was so ruthless in the original editing that he could not be considered a potential boyfriend, so at the end of the film his LGBT friend played Rupert Everett because of his beloved marriage to a woman. Another consoled. (In this romantic comedy, a woman named Julian, played by Julia Roberts, is invited to the wedding of her friend Michael, played by Dermot Malroney, to another woman, Kimberly, played by Cameron Diaz, but Julian, who regrets breaking up with Michael He goes to a wedding and does his best to disrupt the wedding.)
" Deadly Charm "was originally intended to end with the suicide of Glenn Close, but viewers wanted him to be punished by his avenging ex-wife.
Of course, all the post-show reviews Experimenting with the films is not that noticeable, but most mainstream films have somehow undergone some changes in the process. Now some of the secrets of this process are being revealed in a book called Audience-ology, a new memoir by Kevin Goetz, founder and CEO of one of the leading data research and analysis companies in the film industry called Screen Engine/ASI Is. "There are a few directors who do not show the film on a trial basis, but these are rare," he said in an interview with the BBC via video link to Goetz from his Los Angeles home. Last year, there were 130 studio films that were widely released. And I can say that ninety percent of them have passed a test show, sometimes several times. An average movie will have three rehearsals, some ten or fifteen, some of Which will be screened ten or fifteen times. . "It can be useful on different levels," he told the BBC. It's good to watch a test of the viewer's mood, to see if something in the film answered correctly or not, something in the film is vague or not, whether the length of the film makes people nervous or not. And this is a situation that will never happen again, so that first encounter with people, good or bad, is always memorable. I remember well the first pilot of "Shaun of the Dead" when it was clear that part of the crowd, despite the title, did not know they were facing a zombie movie or had no idea what was going to happen in the movie. "Well, that was a very exciting surprise for them." The director who promotes his film may praise actors, stuntmen, production designers and composers, but he usually does not say anything about the pilot and his first viewers. As Goetz puts it in his book "Audience Studies," an experimental show on a movie campus complex around town is still "one of the most secretive places in Hollywood; "Where famous directors cried and multimillion-dollar actors became very angry." Of course, he does not mention a specific name.
How did the experimental screening process begin?
Buster Keaton in the famous sequence of escaping from the brides eager to marry him in" Seven Chance, Which at first was not interesting to experimental audiences. Gtz cites Harold Lloyd as the pioneer of the tradition, citing evidence that Lloyd tried it in theaters around 1919 or 1920, when he felt that his one-act silent comedies were not good. His contemporary artist, Buster Keaton, did the same. At the climax of Keaton's 1925 comedy, Seven Chances, a crazy suburban hero, runs away and is chased by dozens of angry women in their wedding dresses. The spectators did not like the chase, but they were thrilled when Keaton dropped some large boulders from the hillside while running and then had to escape from the falling boulders himself. This action sequence became one of Keaton's most famous career sequences. He says he is on the verge of financial bankruptcy. A lawyer (who shuns him, and mistakenly believes he wants to add to their troubles) finally manages to inform Jimmy of his grandfather's will. According to the will, Jimmy will inherit seven million dollars if he gets married by seven o'clock in the evening. Coincidentally, his twenty-seventh birthday is the same day.
Now, a century has passed and the basics of the experimental show have not changed. People are invited to the cinema, they are not told in advance what movie they are going to see, and then they fill out forms to record their feelings about the movie. The key questions in the standard demo form are the first two questions, both of Which have five possible answers. The first question is, "What was your general reaction to the film?" With answers from "excellent" to "poor". The second question is, "Would you recommend this movie to your friends?" With answers from "yes, definitely" to "no, definitely not". If there are not enough ticks in any of these boxes, the film will get in trouble.
Gutz is one of the researchers who has refined this process, having participated in 7,000 pilot screenings. Now the spectators are pre-selected according to their statistical population, instead of being invited from the street. The questionnaires have become longer, the focus group discussions have become more detailed after the screening of the film, and several plays have been held to examine different aspects of a film. "You can't do everything in one go," says Goetz. The first screening may show how to shorten the film, if it is long. The next show may be because the ending is not entirely satisfactory, or the characters are not likable. There are certain comedians and comedy directors who do several shows to see what works for the audience. Judd Apato and Sasha Baron Cohen love to play with the rhythm of jokes. " caption-text ">" Demon and the Sweetheart ", Which received one of the highest scores in the experimental show, had only five percent of its animation made at the time of its initial release, and the rest was just a series of black-and-white designs.>
Some experiments are done early in the production of a film; Justifying why millions of dollars should be spent on visual effects of a scene that does not work at all. "I remember The Invisible Man being experimentally shown without the Invisible Man character," says Goetz. Or "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" was shown when the monkey was just Andy Sarkis. Or "Beauty and the Beast" received one of the highest ratings of any film we've ever tested, with only five percent of the animation made at the time, and the rest of the ready-to-play version. The experiment was just a series of black and white designs. "The story and the music, of course, were ready in advance, and if you have a good story, it 's light upon light."
If the producers are lucky, all that is needed is one or two changes. When experimental viewers saw a baseball drama from the 1980s, they did not like its original title, Shoeless Joe, Which is actually the name of the novel on Which the film is based, but the new title, The Land of Dreams. Field of Dreams) created a difference. Some corrections did not happen so easily. When Gtze rehearses Tarsem Singh's 2011 film The Immortals, the epic film Swords and Sandals (a subgenre of Italian historical or biblical epic mostly set in the Greco-Roman or medieval period) starring Henry Cavill and It was Mickey Rourke who went so far as to stop the film before the end of the competition and ask the audience how they were going to finish it.
(Little Shop of Horrors, directed by Frank Oz, is like the musical scene in Which the film is based. . The experimental audience was so fascinated by the film's romantic storyline that they were horrified when it came to such a disgusting ending. "Everyone applauded after each song," Oz later told The Hollywood Reporter. They literally loved the movie! And then when Rick and Ellen died, he hit them dry. And I felt it. "It was horrible." Therefore, the end of the first twenty-three minutes intended for the story was cut from the film and replaced with a happy ending.
Is a test show useful for cinema?
Ang Lee, the outstanding director of acclaimed works such as "The Roaring Tiger, the Hidden Dragon" and Brookbeck Mountain is one of the few filmmakers to oppose the experimental screening process.
Many are skeptical of experimental screenings. They see the experimental play as a means of prioritizing the market over art, and stimulating the whims of the chewing gum population over an author's artistic ambitions. "Some filmmakers either have a complicated relationship with the experimental screening process, or they hate it a lot," Wright said.
"He never put his paintings to the test in front of an audience." But G tz argues that if each of Picasso's paintings took years to create and cost tens of millions of dollars, he might have tried them. "I'm heard people say the studio has a confidential agenda, and rightly so, but the agenda is that they want the film to be spread by word of mouth and have a real lasting impact," says Goetz. "In this way, they make money from it." In addition, Goetz strongly believes in collective wisdom. "If someone beeps for you on the highway, he is a bitch," he says. But if three or four people blow the horn, you are a bitch. The same goes for movies. If thirty or forty people tell you that something is not working, you should listen to it and tell yourself that maybe I can not convey what I want to convey properly. "All I'm saying is that an experimental show does not destroy the filmmaker 's vision, it helps to realize that vision."
Whether Ang Lee agrees or not, the trend remains. Recently, Goetz launched a remote-sensing system, Which he called "zoom in on steroids." It is a system that allows hundreds of people to watch a movie at home at the same time, and the director and producers examine their faces to see if they are laughing, crying or napping. "Now that a movie's time [when the movies are on screen] is so short to reach the malls, the risk is greater than ever," says Goetz. Why risk buying something without testing it?