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Eric Idle Supports Iterative Design and Testing

I’m watching The Life of Brian DVD, and on the commentary track, Eric Idle just went on about how he loves testing films in front of audiences, because it allows you to shape the film in response to an audience, in the way that live theater will shape their production over a series of performances. He says,

“We would always have previews of our movies, a lot more than they do here, in Hollywood… Previews tell you a lot… when you first do a cut, you do what you think is funny. And then when you show it to an audience, they tell you what’s funny. The more you listen to what an audiences is telling you, the more you can cut it to how it would be if you were performing it live… The intelligent process is to show it to smaller groups of people more frequently, rather than to one or two large groups of people in a valley who then fill in forms… [In America] they don’t give it enough time to move towards its audience, and to listen to what its audience is telling it back, because of the economic pressure of getting it in and out…”