Register Monday | June 24 | 2019

Tough Crowd

I showed the new short film to my parents over the Thanksgiving weekend. They had asked me to bring it on DVD, which I did, reluctantly. It’s a comedy, and I really would have preferred they see it in a crowded theater at a later date. But since I did not know when that was going to happen, and I know they were dying to see the fruits of six months of labor, I surrendered.

We dimmed the lights and I played the movie for them. I was tempted to leave the room but decided I wanted to hear their reactions. My mom laughed now and then, but she is generally favorable of anything I do and often she does not seem to get my sense of humor (I couldn’t tell whether or not they were courtesy laughs). My dad, on the other hand, who I expected would be guffawing throughout, was noticeably quiet. There’s nothing worse than silence when you are screening a comedy, and though I’m sure it would be terrible in a crowded theater full of audience members shifting in their seats and checking their watches, the silence of your own family would probably rank a close second. Maybe I should have got them drunk first.

After the movie was over, my mom told me the movie “looked great and was very well edited,” while my dad said, “Pretty good, Amyn. Pretty good.” I didn’t know how to take that. He was being positive, but not in a way I was used to. “Let’s watch it again,” my mom said. Knowing that I couldn’t take that silence again, I put the DVD in and left the room, wishing they had seen it with an audience full of people laughing rather than in the same old living room with the dishwasher humming around the corner. Maybe it wouldn’t have mattered. Who knows?

Aside from the tepid but supportive response from my parents, the reactions from other people has been quite strong, so I can’t help but feel good about that. I have no idea whether the festivals will embrace it, but for now I’ll settle for the notion that we made something entertaining. Oh, and I almost forgot: in my last blog I mentioned that the one and only Burt Reynolds would be watching the movie. Reports from my friend who screened it for Burt reported several laugh out loud moments and his “compliments to the director.” I’ll take that compliment and thank you for your time, Mr. Reynolds.

Maybe I should have brought my parents over to his house.