As an indie filmmaker it is so important to be able to make a project and then let it go.
I am part of a team that creates our own projects from conception to completion, so the temptation to want everyone to “love” my film is paramount. I create these baby projects, they are my babies, I breathe life into them from the writing stage, and equip them in pre-production, nurture them through production and watch them graduate into a full blown film in post production. And then I set them free. Once the film is released it becomes the audience’s film, no longer my baby, it is a story they get to experience and then decide how they feel about it.
As a filmmaker it can be thrilling to hear people’s take on my movies, sometimes the viewer thought of things we didn’t even think of. And I love to hear their perspective and how it made them feel. What was once mine, is now theirs.
But of course on the other side are the ones who didn’t enjoy the experience, and that’s ok. We really can’t please everyone with our work, and we shouldn’t. ALL films shouldn’t be for everyone, they should be for the ones who like them, and if you try to please everyone, you usually please no one.
Going down the rabbit’s hole of reading reviews can be soul crushing for a filmmaker. But I learned early on to let it go, and understand that, first this person took time to write a review, hey that’s some real effort. So even if it’s bad, I’m honored they gave my project their time, even if it’s to rip it to shreds. My film did something to them, good or bad, it gave them an emotion strong enough to take the time to write about it in the review section.
I have also noticed that when people like something they are less likely to review it. If you notice Yelp is packed with way more negative reviews than good ones. When people are angry about something they spent money that they didn’t like they are more apt to go and complain. Where as when people enjoy something they move on to the next thing. So don’t get too wrapped up in bad reviews, just because you don’t see it, there are probably ten happy people who loved your project to the one who hated it and wrote the review.
And just in case you don’t believe me: here is my best example. My film Catching Faith was released on DVD in Walmart and everywhere else on VOD, and Netflix streaming. We have 126 reviews on Amazon, 8 reviews on ITunes, 2 reviews on Walmart.com, 0 on Target.com and the film has grossed over a million dollars in America. So that is a prime example that reviews don’t make or break your project. If people love it, they are more apt to go tell their friends to buy it then to spend time to review it. And that’s better for your film, everyone! It’s all about word of mouth.
Once you have created your project, set it free, let go, give it over to the audience and move onto your next project.