Skip navigation

Director's Blog

December 30, 2011

For almost four years, we’ve been nurturing Deadline from dream to reality.

Earlier this year we had private screenings of the almost-completed movie. After editing the film on a TV screen, it’s essential to see it on the big screen in a real theater with an audience. More and more, we’re watching movies on a small screen, but nothing compares to seeing a movie in a theater with an audience that’s into the film, laughing at the jokes, reacting aloud to the scary moments, tearing up during the emotional parts. We always learn from these screenings, asking for written feedback and polishing the editing as a result.

One of the things we asked in our questionnaire was, 'Does Deadline remind you of any other movies?' The top answer was To Kill a Mockingbird, followed closely by A Time to Kill and The Help. Deadline isn’t as violent as A Time to Kill, (Deadline is rated PG-13 due to some mature thematic material) but we're incredibly honored to have called to mind such wonderful, important movies.

Deadline is an emotionally-charged movie about a serious subject. So the biggest surprise from our first test screening was just how funny the audience found Deadline in places. They didn’t just smile at the funny parts, they laughed out loud, especially at some of Ronnie Bullock’s (Eric Roberts) lines. We actually had to edit in some pauses to allow time for the audience’s reaction.

We also tested our trailer and made significant improvements to it as well. As a result, we have a new trailer that most of our test audience rates a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10.

Some filmmakers hate test screenings, afraid that the executives involved with the film will order inane changes based on a few viewers’ reactions. As both the executive and the filmmaker, I don’t have that worry. I simply want to make the best movie possible, and love getting feedback from our audience. That doesn’t mean I incorporate every suggestion – in fact, many of them are directly contradictory to each other – but, done properly, audience feedback plays an important role in crafting the final movie. Our test screenings with over 800 people made Deadline a much better movie.