Wednesday, January 23, 2008

RSA

We had a screening of the film at the Royal Society for the Arts a couple of nights ago. It was lovely. And nerve racking.

I'm not used to watching myself. And I'm definitely not used to watching other people watching me either. Normally when there's an audience involved I'm on stage and locked in the moment. That means things come out slightly differently each night as you adapt the words and timing to suit the mood. Or not as the case may be.

As a performer there's a strange powerlessness to the idea that an audience is watching something that can't be changed. Once someone's pressed the play-button the film will just start rolling and it will be the same regardless of whether they're liking it or not. (I know it happens all the time but I'm not normally there to witness it. I'm not in the habit of going round to a stranger's house to listen to Genius with them (no matter how many times he e-mails) so it doesn't affect me in the same way.)

Luckily it went down well and the Q&A session at the end was interesting and fun in equal measure as were the bar-conversations that followed. If you came along - thanks for helping to make it such an engaging night.

I spoke to a couple of people in the bar afterwards who registered their surprise at the film. They weren't surprised by a particular part of it (or at least, not that they told me) but they were surprised by it as an entity because, in their words, "It's not what we thought you'd do..."

I asked them what they'd expected from me and they didn't really know. Which is where this slightest of anecdotes becomes slighter still. Sorry. I'd love to give it more definition but it just wasn't there. Either they didn't know what to expect or they were too embarrassed to explain.

It brought back echoes of a thought process I was having nearly a year ago when the release of the Are You Dave Gorman DVD made me consider what might have been had I set off on a path of doing-what-people-expected-me-to back in 2001.

I don't know how different things would have been if I'd taken the shilling and pretended to be the namesake-obsessed goon that the pound signs were telling me to be... but I know it wouldn't have led to the same place I'm in right now. My guess is that it would have run out of steam a few years ago. That's a guess. I can say with certainty that it wouldn't have made me happy. I can't imagine More4 giving him the opportunity to make a bit of proper grown-up telly for instance. I'd much rather be me than him.

So... anyway, the film goes out on More4 on the evening of February 5th and is released on DVD on February 11. It isn't what two people were expecting it to be.


PS: It does have some bad language in it. Either that or I was wearing my 15 certificate shirt on the day of the photoshoot.

33 comments:

spugmeistress said...

wow, it looks good. looking forward to watching it - ignore the expectations, people only want what they know because they already know it'll be good (or at least they think they do) but much rather the surprise of seeing something different, and liking something different to what you have already experienced. not sure if that makes sense, but nevermind.

don't suppose you know if it'll be available online (a la 4OD) at all for those of us without more4?

Ad Ferris said...

I've been waiting for this post for a long time. Now I can't wait to see the film, Dave.

laura said...

I was at the screening and (at the risk of sounding like a sycophant) I thought the film was stunning. I won't give anything away, but it's rare for a film to simultaneously be so enlightening, touching and utterly charming - this was easily all of those and much more. Dave, you should be very proud!

George said...

ohh exciting! consider me tuned in. All I expect from Dave Gorman is quality as that's what he always delivers :D

Jen said...

Fantastic, will look forward to watching this.

Out of curiosity, how do you describe what you do Dave?

Anonymous said...

Will the DVD be compatible with American DVD players? What format is it being released in?

Dan said...

That shirt should be an 18. ;-]

Darren said...

Looking forward to giving this a watch. You should wear your PG branded shirt to all your photoshoots from now on. That'll teach the sensors.

Simmo said...

Looking forward to seeing this Dave.

I think you're on to something with these BBFC certificate logo t-shirts though...seriously.

I'd buy one for each rating.

Dave Gorman said...

@laura: thanks for that. I am exceedingly proud of the film. Strangely I'm still unable to watch it without it making me all tearful. I don't expect it to affect anyone else in the same way, mimd, it's just it takes me straight back.

@jen: I try not to describe what I do.

@anonymous: It is (I think) going to be a Region 2 release only. I probably shouldn't say this but I don't really understand why anyone would have anything other than a multi-region player if it's available so here goes: most DVD players (apart from Sony, I'm told) are easily hacked to make them multi-region. No screw driver is required, you just need to find the right codes and instructions for your remote. Which can normally be found online.

baris said...

I was there too, and wanted to ask a question that I think was left unanswered - how is Stef's back now?!

rsa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rsa said...

Oops - this is the RSA blog - take a look!

http://mtblog.typepad.com/

rsa said...

You can download an MP3 of the Q&A from the RSA screening at

http://www.thersa.org/audio/rsascreens210108.mp3

Ado said...

Yup same here Dave, been waiting to here when it was going to air, can't wait now I know.

Plus feeling smug as a friend of mine will sadly miss it as they'll be on holiday at the time, but ahh the wonders of Sky+, and of course all other generic digital recording systems.

Murray said...

I just got home thinking, Great, America Unchained is on tonight. Can't see it in the listings... Doh! It's on next week! What's wrong with me...?

Anonymous said...

RSS isn't working on your blog dave...

Dave Gorman said...

I've just tested it and it appears to be working for me.

http://gormano.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default

Anonymous said...

Documentary sounds v interesting. It is worth pointing out that most of the corporate America that Dave refers to is still run by 'Mom and Pop' businesses through franchisees. Most of the McDonalds, Holiday Inn's etc are still run by small families but they get the help from the big companies and that invariably leads to them making more money so the lack of family run businessesis not as bad as it may look as the big brands are mainly still run by smalll family businesses.....The family business owns the buildings and employs the staff and the big business provides the advertising....

Anonymous said...

Although Im dying to see it I think I'll give it a miss, stick it on keep on the old sky plus and wait until Ive read the book first.

Thanks for the info though Dave and hope it all gets well received.

Steve (Wirral)

Dave Gorman said...

Regarding the franchises... you're absolutely right. But it's not just about economics and where the money goes it's about what it does to the landscape.

When the best way for a family run hotel to survive is to join a franchise they have to meet certain requirements. They end up turning their hotel into a carbon copy of every other hotel and the world gets a bit less interesting as a result.

A lot of MacDonalds might be owned by individuals... but they're making every high street look the same which to my mind diminishes the character of a place.

Nez said...

Saw a TV ad for it last night, and looking forward to watching. :o)

Kirsty said...

Just listening to you on Jenny Eclair's "show" on LBC (the only reason for the quotes around show is because on radio it isn't really 'shown') - the programme sounds wonderful. But its on More4. Flip. I just need to mae sure I'm hooked to digital television to see it.

joellybaby said...

You're right about how important independent shops and businesses are to giving character to an area, and it's not just in the US. Too many of Britain's high streets are getting pretty similar to a mall, and you can hardly tell if you're in Carlisle or Canterbury with nowt but branches of Carphone Warehouse and Next to navigate by.

I've made you an honorary participant of my blog's shop local challenge, since clearly you've done your bit.

Look forward to watching the film tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

I'm a bookseller and I was sent a sampler of the book which I read over the weekend. I really enjoyed it (but I wish I had the whole book!) and am very excited that the film will be shown on tuesday. Interested to know though, why the book and film/dvd aren't being released closer together?

Dave Gorman said...

@anonymous bookseller:
Thanks. Although when you see the final book you'll see it's very different to the sampler you got sent. I tore it up (sort of) and started again at one point because I knew I could do it better. (It needed some distance to get my head round this one.)

The book and the film were very different arrangements. I was going to do the journey alone with half a mind on the idea that it might make for a book and then I got persuaded to make the film also. So they were always separate entities.

TV companies decide their schedules nearer the date than publishers can so the only way they'd have emerged at the same time would have been by coincidence.

I don't think I'd have really wanted them to come out at exactly the same time. I think people assume that broadcast is king and that books are somehow secondary when in truth they're entirely separate things. I've already seen one website refer to the book as "the inevitable spin off book" which annoys me because I think it devalues it. Nobody would ever describe it as a spin-off film...

The book would have existed with or without the film. It's not the book of the film... it's the book of the journey. I think releasing them at the same time would make them feel like companion pieces.

When Are You Dave Gorman? was published (some time after the TV series and again, not a spin-off) some people wanted to put "As seen on TV" on the cover. I didn't want to do that for the same reason. I think instead of advertising the book it tells people that unless they saw it on the box, this book isn't for them. Which is nonsense.

I'm really proud of the film and the book. But they're separate and I wouldn't want people to think that in order to understand one they have to be familiar with the other.

Rachel Taylor said...

What a lovely idea, Dave. I look forward to watching.

Anonymous said...

Good answer....
I think you are quite right that having the book as a tv-tie in devalues it.
Can't wait to read the finished book. Good luck with it!
Julie
(anonymous bookseller)

redhousevincent said...

Hi,
Just watched the film on tv, It was fab. The thing that made an impact on me was all the great people you met and how enthusiastic they all were about what they do.
You do know you are going to have to go back in 30 years and see if you can still do it? lol

Gazb said...

Hi Dave
watched this film last night,it was the usual brilliant, witty and thoughtful piece of work what a fantastic idea, the yanks aint as bad as you might think, its just the american business and politics that gives them a bad rep. I'm willing to bet that you couldn't do the same in a 1970 morris 1100, in this country, maybe do a dave gorman version of "coast". Good luck with whatever you do in the future, I'll look forward to it.

Anonymous said...

Hey Dave, America unchained rocked!I did a similar road trip 25 years ago. I think the trick is to stay off the Inter-states and use the old US highways, they mostly go through the towns not round them. America is great place to see on the road. May be you need to promote a "Mom & Pop" website for all family roadside businesses in the US, for like minded travellers.

James Saunders said...

I am sure this has been asked a million times.... but I cant find the answer in any forum or FAQ.

Are there any plans to realease the Astroligical Experiment on DVD?

I would go out and buy one instantly if it were relesed!

Jim

Patrick said...

I saw (and enjoyed!) the film last night at an Austin Film Festival showing at the Alamo Drafhouse.

I've written a bit more at my website.