Technical failures aside, the most adventurous part of any event I've attended in regards to TZM is a Q&A (Question & Answer session).
I was part of a Q&A this past week after a screening of Zeitgeist Addendum. It was well attended. The organizer found himself surprised that the room was just big enough for the crowd that attended. Which is always a great problem to have!
There were several observations on my part from listening to th questions asked, but first the phenomena that is common to all Q&A's I've seen done or attended myself.
The customary "Does anyone have any questions?" is of course humorous to me in retrospect since we're asking the audience a yes or no question at the start. But of course raised hands signify the uniquivocal YES.
Then the phenomena happens: The 'empassioned' need to express everything they know, object to, or believes at the mic
And this is part of every Q&A. I was annoyed at this outcome at first, since without any moderation it will ruin the experience for everyone. Because once open permission is given by unlimited time for the person to go on and on and on, a Q&A will devolve quickly because the free-for-all starts. And the degree to which this will happen depends on the number of agitated viewers and how strongly they were triggered by the film. So moderation of a Q&A is necessary to actually get to a question to answer. I finally stopped one person that was expressing her feelings in a constant stream of missing punctuation and interjected "What's your question?" She responded "I don't have one" and the room laughed, thank goodness! That broke the tension and was the agreement of the audience to move on.
My realization was to re-classified this phenomena as a good problem to have. And this leads me to my observations of Q&A's in general.
First: I generally hear the same questions from new viewers of Addendum everytime. It comes as no surprise that the reactions and objections follow a few main themes: Transition, "Cannot be done", Conspiracy (ie. NWO), and Ownership/Property
The theme of reactions show up in statements like the Q&A I recently attended:
- It's impossible, the people who own the means to produce will never do it for free, you're dreaming!
- I can't see how you would get there (transition) from here, so how would you do it?
- What about this (other idea I heard about that I like) are you partnered up with them? (thinks TZM is an npo)
- How can this be done?
- God will hate you if he exists.
- What's with all the bells in the movie, is he trying to hypnotise me into believing the film?
- computers will run our lives! / technology is evil
There were reactions! It would speak volumes for these films if the audience was bored and had nothing to say and went home after the credits rolled.
But there was a range of reaction in the audience at the end of Addendum. Some people related very well to the film. They felt their heads full, and that's because Addendum does pack a lot of stuff in. I could see how it would overwhelm someone with all the info contained. But they saw the merit in what Peter said.
- some people were angry or confronted
- some people think it's imposssible
- some were completely excited about the film and solutions proposed
- some agreed with the problems and solutions but couldn't see how we'd ever get to a different social structure
- some commented on artistic issues with the film itself (I love this one since it is a way of expressing that they get the film, understand the ideas and that the subject matter is so important, the film should be edited differently to reach more people)
Someone pointed out to me, after the evening was done, the value of the reactions people had. Because the reactions existed was a sign that these ideas where making people think and confronting their belief systems. I thought that was very insightful and put me in the mode of viewing objections and reactions as a positive outcome from now on.