It was the world premiere of Who Killed Nelson Nutmeg? last Saturday. It was absolutely fantastic. Here’s how my day went down, in classic Top 10 fashion:
Make sure you’ve got everything you need the night before. In my case, trying out the costume for Nelson Nutmeg (which hadn’t been worn since the shoot) to ensure nothing is missing.
2. Get There Early
Even though the BFI are organising the event, there’s still bits and pieces for us to do. It’s like the build up to a wedding where anticipation is high as you gather and meet, sort things out, and eagerly wait for a six-foot squirrel to show up. That happens at weddings, right?
3. Take Your Time
Just like a wedding, you want to enjoy the moment and soak up the day as much as possible. Pre-premiere, I’m feeling good and enjoying the moment. As soon as the press interviews start, the day immediately goes by in a blur. People start arriving. It’s a total scrum at the box office. We’re suddenly wrangled for photos, and zip, before you know it, we’re standing on stage in front of the audience introducing the film.
4. Enjoy The Film
Don’t sit there with your head in your hands, praying that people won’t hate your debut feature. Instead, sit back and relax. There’s nothing you can do now. The film’s up there on the big screen for all to see. Let them enjoy it. It’s a world premiere at the London Film Festival; it’s already got a world-class stamp of quality (relax? As if. You will WORRY ALL THE WAY THROUGH.)
Any ironic jokes you make at the Q&A might fall flat. The first question I get asked is what did you think of the film on the big screen? ‘Awful’, is my reply. ‘Awesome, you mean’, says Jan Caston our amazing producer. YES, YES I DO MEAN AWESOME.
6. Friends & Family, Cast & Crew
Soak up all the praise and congratulations from friends and family. This is a real highlight, and will charge you through the day with ease. Some people are there I didn’t expect to see at all, and people have travelled from well outside London to attend. Sam Morgan Moore, our ace DOP, has turned up. As we pose for an official photo, I burst into tears of laughter when I see Sam taking snaps with his cameraphone right next to the Getty photographer. ‘Sam will still have the better photo!’ Tim says. Afterwards Sam’s grinning like a kid: “it’s a movie!” he cries, and crushes me with a hug. This is high praise indeed.
7. Don’t Drink
At the after-party, avoid alcohol. Your adrenaline is still pumping. You’ll forget conversations with people half an hour after you’ve had the chat. This is also because you’re worried that everyone’s OK, like a host at a party. In my case, I’m worried that the food we’ve pre-ordered hasn’t come out yet. Plus, Tim’s bringing the kids for more press interviews at the Mayfair Hotel. My mind’s all over the place thinking about food, interviews and who I haven’t spoken to yet, and has anyone seen my wife?
8. Eat, Hydrate
As you worry about everyone else getting food, make sure you eat something as well, and stay hydrated. It’s been seven hours since breakfast but I’m not hungry at all and I make the mistake of not eating, thinking I’m fine. My energy’s dipping, my voice is straining. I’d kill for a pint of lager, to be honest.
In this instant social media age, our first reviews from the world premiere hit the net. And they’re stonking, rightly highlighting the kids as the stars of the show but it’s a film that all the family can enjoy. Three and four star reviews flood my Google alerts. Even a two star review is very positive, saying the film is great for kids. The thing with the more critical film reviews is that they’re unlikely going to tell us any flaws that we’re not already aware of. Yes, we’re microbudget, yes, a longer shoot would have helped, yes, the plot logic is a bit screwy, yes, it’s meant for a younger audience. AND THE TARGET AUDIENCE LOVE IT!
10. What Just Happened?
The day’s gone already. It’s all coming to an end. The gang’s all here but people are beginning to say goodbye. For some (kids), it’s their first time in London so they’re heading out to do some sightseeing and staying over. It’s only now I start to fully relax, and my hunger comes back with a vengeance. But the premiere’s been an absolute blast, and you realise what those long days of pre and post production are all about: getting to this moment where you can share your film with your friends, family, and the rest of the world! Time to get cracking with the next film! Let me just get out of this costume first…