"The Silence After Life" cover

Feature film released 2020 on Blink in the Endless

test screenings

The audience at the early cast and crew / test screening for The Silence After Life at the David Lean Cinema on 17th November 2018

As we approached picture lock (the final edit before detailed sound, score and colour work) for our film "The Silence After Life" we knew we needed to test screen the film so we could:

- Figure out if the film worked
- Ensure the film was acheiving the necessary technical standards
- Get ideas on how to promote and explain the film to future audiences
- 'Pay back' our cast, crew and supporters for their help

With this in mind we booked the small but fully professional David Lean Cinema in Croydon, South London, UK for our main cast and crew / test screening. Wwe also booked a couple of subsequent less formal screenings in local churches using whatever AV equipment they had.

Whilst all three screenings were extremely enjoyable and worthwhile - there's nothing like screening your own film in front of a live audience in terms of needing nerves of steel and being a hugely rewarding and interactive experience - the David Lean screening proved to be the key screening because it was the first and because it was in a proper cinema.


In order to screen at the David Lean we had to get a DCP (Digital Cinema Package) created from our ProRes render file. At this point the film had only been very roughly colour graded, only had rough sound and the score was incomplete so this would be a really good test of our technical process. Creating DCPs is definitely still a very specialist task so we are very grateful to Roger Dowling and Stephen Furley at the David Lean for carrying out this work for us.

We spot checked the DCP about an hour before the screening. Although Roger and Stephen had already carried out thie own checks this was still a bit of a heart-stopping moment ... and then it was wonderful to see just how well the cinematography held up on the big screen. Yes, there were still shots that badly needed proper grading but the film we shot on a DSLR camera looked like an actual film!


To help guage the reaction to our film we handed out a feedback form to our test screening aueiences. We purposefully kept this form really simple to encourage as many as possible to complete it. Here's the wording we used:

We would love to hear what you think of the film. Please complete this form and return it to the organisers. Many thanks for your help!

Q1: What did you like about the film?
Q2: What did you dislike?
Q3: How would you describe the film?
Q4: Would you recommend the film to others?
Q5: For context, could you name a few of your favourite films?

In the end we received over 80 feedback forms, as well as a lot of verbal feedback which proved so useful and illuminating. As we expected, not everyone liked he film, not everyone understood the film ... but those that did saw something they liked which is what we had hoped for.

However, for me, the most telling feedback was neither written nor verbal. As we watched the final scene in the David Lean, I heard two good friends of mine - one of them who does not normally get the artwork I do - burst into floods of tears. At that point I knew the film worked!

Thanks to all of the cast, crew, supporters and their friends and family who took the time and trouble to be part of our test screenings.

Sunday 17 January 2021

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