Okay, so with the making of every film, there is a process. A process that is multi-layered and much more magical than an audience could ever imagine. From raw footage and hours and hours of filming, a short 90 minute-ish assembly is made, which transforms an idea into reality that others can partake in. That simple idea blossoms one step at a time. First a treatment is written and from that treatment emerges a script, from a script emerges action… With this documentary, it then seemed we simply threw away our original ideas, and really listened. What I found, was that these women were more riveting than any idea I could ever have had.
Now, ten months down the road, the trailer is in color correction and composing, the story is close to a picture lock (completely finished with the editor) and that puts us on time for our idea of submitting to Sundance. Our film is now in the composer’s (Jeff Tolbert) hands. We’ll keep our fingers crossed.
So, now that I’ve bored you with the details of production, let me tell you about our test audiences… It is much more nerve racking than you can expect. And, the reaction was anything but what I expected! I think that when you have watched the material over and over, some of the power goes away and you stop seeing the film for what it really is. We have now done three showings, I only sat in on only one of them (probably all I could take). However, I hear the responses were the same each time. At the end of the film, where one would expect people to say – wow, that was good, or maybe it could use some work here…… AT LEAST SAY SOMETHING…. there was SILENCE… a silence so loud that I could barely breathe. My first thought was that they hated it… That they were asleep or couldn’t wait for it to be over……. And then I began looking around, as people slowly began talking. I notice a woman to my left who was clenching a tissue in her hand, her eyes reddened from crying, a man across from me leaned closer and said, wow… At that moment I realized the silence wasn’t a judgement but rather the film, our film….American Courtesans, although now removed from the screen, still had their undivided attention. They had still not left our world, and it took them a moment to come back…..
With that said, I want to thank the women who stepped forward, the men who risked so much, and the families that stood by us in our endeavor. Those who offered up your homes, your businesses, your lives…. I will let you know the minute that www.americancourtesans.com launches.