Audience Expectation

Have you ever had a film disappoint you from the trailer or synopsis alone? This was the topic on a radio station today as I was driving home.

It came up as a viewer in America was disappointed by the film Drive (starring Ryan Gosling) because it "wasn't anything like The Fast and the Furious".

I went to the Australian premiere of Drive a couple of months back and I wasn't expecting much from it either except a guy who drives cars. This is what IMdB wrote about Drive:

A Hollywood stunt performer who moonlights as a wheelman discovers that a contract has been put on him after a heist gone wrong.

When I watched it that long ago, this is exactly what I saw. Which brings me to the main point of this article, "do people actually read the synopsis prior to the film, or are we more likely to assume story from the name?"

This question isn't as easy to explain as you'd think because there are tonnes of titles out there and who's to know that Paul would be about an alien, any more than the guy Jesus knew or a Beetle?

Back on the radio station, a caller said that Clover Field was a "horrible film that gave her and her friends motion sickness". I'm not trying to defend or negate films here (that's up to Rotten Tomatoes) but rather understand how people - our audience - comprehend films at face value.

This particular caller - as well as the hosts - said that there was disappointment from finding out that the whole thing was through a guy's video camera.

The caller was in her late 40s, not to suggest it has any defying impact, but I do believe the film wasn't targeted toward her or her friends. The film was more likely to be directed at youths aged 30 and under.

But is this to say that she can't enjoy the film as much as any other viewer? Well, clearly, no. We make films for an audience, but we want it to go global and reach out to anyone. It's how we make money and a living isn't it? But should the audience be required to understand that? That their viewing isn't really taken into account.

These answers aren't really floating around, hoping to written up. It's not really our job to define these, but rather produce as much content as possible.

In my opinion, I think there is a requirement for the viewer to actually judge their situation of the film and their viewing of it.

Is it because of the director, actor, actress, or other crew member? Is it because you read the book? Is it because you saw the original? Is it because it looked great from the trailers available?

These all seem like generic questions, but when it boils down to the crux of the issue, these should be the reason why you like or disliked the film - not because it was crap.

I went to watch a film because of an actress, and though her execution was brilliant and why I like her films, her surroundings were not as connected to her portrayal.

Does this sentence make the film bad or not fulfilling the film's description? No. It furthers the conversation that every film that is funded, is funded for a reason so the trek to get from planning stages to green light must mean that they were best at that time. Unless it just for profit and loss statements...

Sure there are other factors, but I think sometimes the audience forget who they are and who they're not. They are the viewer, and not the maker, so critique all you want but it was made for a reason, and in a context.

It may be that in 20 years time we'll all look back and go "I didn't like the Lion King in 3D", yet today we all know that it only exists because of the phenomenon that is 3D at this point in time and the advancements in creating photo-realistic animal animations.

We're always trying to assess and critique things in our lives that we sometimes forget that there are so many retractions that these artworks have to go through before being condemned by the viewer.

I know in Australia, you would have to have a lot of money even think about having access to the cinemas, not to mention going global for screening.

So next time you go out and didn't like a film really ask why.

Just don't rate it bad because you didn't think that Landon and Jamie shouldn't have got together, but rather that you didn't like the portrayal of them together at the end, wishing for a happier ending.

Who knows you may actually find that you actually did enjoy quite a bit of the film and was just one section that wasn't appealing.

There were other callers and they too expressed their distaste for other films, and the discussion got a little over the top with the notion of hating all Stephen King adapted films - like seriously where would we be without half his books?

And for the record, I love Lion King and don't actually mind it is in 3D.

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