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10:50 AM - SAT 09.30.23
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At The AFMX (Albuquerque Film and Music Experience)

(Coming to you from Hotel Parq Central in Albuquerque NM...)

Well, we had our screening yesterday.

There were somewhere in the neighborhood of 50-60 people in attendance - Of course, you would always like more, but it was enough people, in a small theater, that it definitely felt like a "real" audience (And not one where the only people watching are just a couple other filmmakers and a few festival volunteers).

Initially, I was a little nervous because I wasn't hearing much response. But, eventually, I started hearing little chuckles and whatnot.

So I relaxed, and by the time the film ended, it was clear from the applause they'd picked up what we were putting down.

(And I don't think it hurts that, when the credits roll and the music goes from a slow song to something more up-tempo, we invite the audience to dance around with us - What other movie about a former foster kid with a number of mental/emotional "issues" has people dancing in the aisles afterward?)

The moderator for the Q&A, whose name I cannot recall at the moment, is an Albuquerque actor and director - and like Yours Truly, once did a bit on Better Call Saul - so he had a great sense of what to ask the two of us (My only regret was that part went really long and they didn't take any questions from the audience. I like the audience questions more than being interviewed, because that's where you get a sense of how much the film really grabs people).

There's always a really great vibe after a screening of the film - Not just that people are telling Jane how great her film is, or telling me how awesome I am, but they seem to feel more open and vulnerable themselves (Which you can tell by the tone of the questions afterward. And when people approach me directly, they often share their own stories of abuse, neglect, or mental health challenges. And that makes sense - They just watched me on film being quite open about my "issues" and living to tell the tale, so they think, "Maybe I can be open about my "thing" and live to tell the tale too...!").

A lot of people thank us for the film, seeming to, in effect, thank us for telling a bit of their story as well.

That's something that Jane understood more than me - While I worried that the story was perhaps too "particular" for people to relate to, Jane realized that, while no one has lived my life exactly, pretty much everyone has something they're dealing with, something they maybe keep under wraps - "acting like nothing is wrong" - because they're embarrassed or ashamed, afraid what people might think of them.

And as I told the audience yesterday, a big takeaway I've gotten from having done the film is discovering that, far from being rejected because of my frailties and foibles, sharing more of the truth about myself has seemed to make me a more likable person, earning more respect for being vulnerable than I've ever gotten for. well, "acting like nothing is wrong".

So now, we're basically hanging out till the awards show on Sunday - Today Jane's having a rough time with her blood sugar, so she's going to rest, while I maybe go see a film (Or more likely, a series of "Short Subjects").

But right now, I'm feeling the need to have a little rest myself...

(Till next time...)


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