With the second cut of “Saying Goodbye” burned to a DVD, it was time to put it in front of a real audience. That’s right, the dreaded focus group.

We entered the room with butterflies in our stomachs and nervous smiles plastered across our faces. After a quick prayer to the film gods that the audience would not become an unruly “Saying Goodbye” hating mob, we pushed the play button.

Things were going great until about five minutes in when the film pixilated and froze cold. After many failed attempts to get past the digital hang-up, we decided to bust out Cliff’s laptop and play the movie directly from the edited file… luckily it worked! We hope that will be our first and last screening glitch – better now than at Sundance, right?

When the movie was over, an eerie silence filled the room… no clapping, no excited chatter, not even a sob or a sniffle! Where was the standing ovation, the throwing of flowers, the request for an encore?

…And then applause. Phew!

The open and honest discussion that followed was extremely helpful, and it solidified our concerns about some of the rough patches we’d already identified. All in all, the focus group really liked the movie, and they had some great suggestions for making it better. We really appreciate the feedback and thank everyone who participated.