Our 2nd Test Screening!

This past Saturday we invited a small group of 20 and 30 somethings to watch our still slightly unfinished movie Science, Sex and the Ladies. Just like at our last screening, our participants filled out a questionnaire directly after the movie and then took part in a 1/2 hour discussion. It was a great discussion. We got great feedback on the written responses, and we even had some people email later with more feedback. In case any of you are reading this - I want to thank you again for taking the time to help us out.

So after both screenings, what is my overall take? To be honest, I just can't quite figure out how to talk about them. Overall I'm quite happy with the results and definitely got important and useful feedback. I want to just stick with the simple positives of it. I want to say that I heard from people both anonymously and face to face that they were really moved by the movie, that it spoke to the frustration and confusion they are currently experiencing in their sexual lives, that they learned some basic things about their sexual functioning, that the movie made them look at the history of their sexual relationships with a whole different perspective, and I wouldn't be lying. I did receive that sort of feedback. In fact almost everyone said the movie reflected their own experiences, but it's not really the whole story.

There was the couple of people who felt I didn't need to be so harsh about negating the vaginal orgasm. I expected that - actually I expected that there would be a lot more of that than there was. There were those who said they already knew most of it. I expected I'd get that from a certain demographic. There were also those worried about the hetero-centric nature of the movie. I knew that was coming also. All those things were calculated risks for us - things we thought about. There was also just basic criticism about areas that seemed too long or repetitive or too fast - a scene that was confusing - stuff like that, and those were expected too and quite useful to hear.

 But there was a weirder thing that I didn't see coming. I probably should have, but I didn't. I don't know if I can fully explain it, but I'll say it was feedback that seemed confused - confused I guess mostly because it focused very little on the movie itself and more on things that the individual people thought were important about the general subjects of sexuality, sociology, feminism, education - that sort of thing. It was a critique of ideas assumed to be in the movie that actually weren't at all; or it was a clear misunderstanding of points other people found repetitive; or it was a running annoyance about one particular thing that colored all the answers on a questionnaire. I know the movie is a lot of info, and I know that it is not a perfect information giving machine, but I feel like there was criticism and then there was this weird criticism that seemed to me to stem more from personal interests than about the actual movie. This weird criticism wasn't necessarily more harsh or anything. It was just kinda bizarre, and it took me aback. I mean we immediately thought, "what did we do wrong to get these reactions we had no intention of getting." Yes, there is a shit ton of information and a good amount of our personal taste in SSL, and we know some of it's bound to be ignored or misconstrued. I think there is another thing at play here, though, and I should have been more prepared for it given some of the situations I've encountered during the making of this movie and during the writing of this blog over the years.

We are messing with incredibly personal subjects. Everyone has experience with their own and sometimes others' sexuality and pleasure and gender. Some of us take great pride in our sexual persona or gender identity. Some of us hold such shame and confusion about it, and for most of us, our very identity is heavily intertwined with our sexuality and gender. We are going to get a really wide array of reactions, and among all the more positive ones, they might be weird, irrational, surprising, or insanely maddening, and I'm gonna be okay with that because sex and gender in this world have a whole lotta weird baggage. Plus, I think it'll be mostly ok. The truth is, even the people who had weird reactions and the people who were bothered by things like too much anti-vaginal orgasm talk were actually overall positive about the movie and almost everyone felt other peoples should see it. So, yeah - the test screenings gave us some great detailed insight that we're definitely moving forward with, but maybe the most exciting thing I took away is that this movie really does strike something - whatever it may be - with people, and they seem to want to talk about it. Truth is, that's all I ever wanted - to get a real conversation started in this culture about the female orgasm and its impact on our understanding of female sexuality. Simple, right? So, yeah, this whole putting a movie out and hearing what people have to say about it is going to be a scary mixed bag, but I have faith it's gonna be worth it.

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