So, in case you haven't see it, we've released the trailer for ONUS.
For those of you who don't know, ONUS is my second feature film, it's a folk horror inspired by classics of the genre; The Wicker Man, Blood on Satan's Claw and Witchfinder General, as well as some other horror movie classics such as Rosemary's Baby, The Shining and, yeah, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
You can read all about the process of making the film and the influences and inspirations in my earlier posts about it, but for now I just wanted to talk about the bizarre experience of releasing a trailer for my second movie. And how I've found making a second movie in general.
You'd think releasing my first movie, especially given that it was a post-apocalyptic thriller with some genuinely upsetting and uncomfortable moments, would be one of the most nerve-wracking and frightening experiences I could have. And it was.
Sitting in the cinema when Follow the Crows was first being shown to an audience of people who were all there to, in varying degrees and ways, judge the hell out of it, was terrifying. I found my shrinking into my chair every time something I thought might upset people appeared on the screen. It was scary. Don't get me wrong, it was a great experience, but it was scary none the less.
But then something funny happened.
People actually seemed to like Follow the Crows. It started getting good reviews on IMDB, it got some good write-ups in magazines and online, it got official selection places in a bunch of film festivals and it even won a couple of awards!
That nervousness I felt at releasing this thing and showing people our work seemed to melt away and be replaced by a strange sense of validation. "Oh, look, I can do this!".
And I assumed, for longer than you might expect, that while I'd still get that nervous feeling upon initial release of anything else, I'd have a sense that no matter what happens there are people out there who seem to enjoy and appreciate the stuff I do. I mean, The Door, my stage-pay, won the People's Choice Award, so that's two for two, right?
As it turns out, however, having people actually like and enjoy and, Jesus, even praise your first ever feature film and your first every stage-play, doesn't make the next one feel easier. What it does, it make the next one ten times more horrifying.
And it didn't even occur to me until I'd hit upload on YouTube. Yeeesh!
See, what I found is that suddenly there is a pressure to deliver. And it's not like it's coming from anyone else, it's my own personal pressure that I've put on myself (and sure, there's always been an element of that anyway), but it's there none the less. And what's more, it's not just a pressure to make sure it's good, it's got to be as good or better. It's got to be received in the same enthusiastic and relatively positive way that the others were.
In the end all I can do is make films that I enjoy and hope that others do too, but the unnerving, creeping sense of fear that I feel now that the trailer is out there being judged is quite something.
So, hopefully you enjoy it. But if you don't, please, be gentle.