Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Maybe people aren't so bad after all...

There's been an ongoing discussion at the forums on the Ten Dead Men imdb page that was started by people who hated the film. A couple of people came to our defence then the director and producer posted their responses and I thought that would mean a load of comments like 'I can't believe the filmmakers are so bothered by our comments that they posted a response' which I've seen on other forums when the filmmakers have responded (and I am fully aware that I'm probably one of the people most bothered by the negative comments which is why I'm not getting involved on the forums). Anyway, you can read the full exchange on the forum if you're interested, but it has ultimately led to this:

'Thanks for being so cool about the negative feedback and review I posted, I'm not sure I would of been so diplomatic when replying about something so personal. But I can assure you I was just being frankly honest in sharing my opinion and I wasn't being a troll. I think what irked me the most about the reviews on here was the fact there didn't seem to be any that said "Hey this movie sucks...a lot" and loads that said "This film is brilliant for X and Y reason" like the review authors had seen a totally different film. I concede that critiquing a movie behind keyboard takes little or no skill, with minimal effort, and I appreciate that making a movie(whether good, bad or so-so) is a huge and time consuming undertaking made even more difficult by a limited/non existent budget. I do stand by my review but I do feel in hindsight I could of been more constructive and less scathing. I wish you all the best with your next project, and sincerely hope you raise the bar in originality and that it has a more "brit flick" feel to it rather than 10DM's odd mix of US and International influences. '

This has made me realise that perhaps by encouraging people to post reviews I may have been asking for the negative ones, but I was aware of that at the time and was careful to word my appeal in a way that clearly wasn't just asking people to say how cool the film was whether they liked it or not. I think the full spectrum of reviews on there now actually paints a fair picture of what the film is actually like - I don't think any of them have mentioned only the positive aspects and no one is pretending it's something grander that it is. And there is still the point that the negative reviewers have watched the film illegally.

But I'm rambling - the point is maybe people who post their opinions on the Internet aren't all bad, which means there's hope for the rest of us.


gerdarcy said...

There is more to the illegal viewing point to be made though: How have they seen the film, have they seen it in its entirety, or out of sequence? That in itself is an important issue. You can't review a book by reading chapter three and the last page and hoping that it will all make sense. I stand by my review, it is not wholly glowing, it is fair and I was not involved in the making of it. I never even read a draft of the script.

Chris Regan said...

Yeah, unfortunately it's not too hard to see the film illegally. I'm not going to detail how here, but one day it was unreleased, the next it was a couple of clicks away. Pretty shocking at the time - now I kind of take it for granted.

Good point about whether people watched the whole thing. I'm pretty sure most people haven't been. I know from the feedback we got that it's pretty hard to get into for the first 10-20 minutes. In all honesty I think it's more like an art film than an action film, but people don't approach like an art film, so 15 minutes in an they're struggling, they didn't pay for it and they switch it off. Then go complain about it.

You remember when we watched Driller Killer at uni? We sat in a big group all expecting it to be this ultra gory slasher film. But it's not, it's more interesting than that. And while the two of us realised that the rest of the room were chatting and complaining about the film. I think that's probably how this will go - 80% of people will give up when it's not super slick and the plot requires a bit of work. But that 20% will hopefully embrace it. I can but hope.

But yeah, from the people I know who watch films like this, they'll watch the first ten minutes, skip through to see if anything interesting is happening and then quit.

I think all the ten positive reviews are really good - none of them are gushing and none of them are wholly positive. Everyone did what I asked them to do, which was be honest. Even better, they're all intelligent criticisms of the characters and story as well as mentioning the effects and action.

One thing I regret is that I reported the two scathing reviews that started this whole thing to imdb and they removed them - they were in breach of several of the guidelines so I thought why not? But suddenly there were a load of good reviews and nothing to balance it. And I think that's contributed to some of the reactions we've had since because people have suspected some kind of foul play. Anyone looking closely at those reviews, or even finding there way here to this blog, will see that there is none. And although I'm not going to go on the forums and argue the point, I can say with full confidence that not one of the people who've written those comments were involved with the film in any way.

One final point - I think the thing that's really working against us is not being able to say how much we made the film for. The reasons for not saying it make sense, but a film like El Mariachi really played on the fact that it had a super low budget and I think we could've used that to our advantage. Then again, I guess all it would really mean is we could respond to people saying 'you make a better film on this much money then' which is exactly what we've avoided so far.

Anyway, I'm sure this will carry on. I hope some of the people who see the film when it's released approach it with the same open outlook that the people who responded to my comment appeal have done.