Monday, May 3, 2010

48 Hour Film Project

I have been off the grid for a few days. The 48 Hour Film Project began last Friday and ran until Sunday (4/30 - 5/2). How crazy was the experience? I will show you my time table.


5:30 PM Show up for the kick-off event. Have 1 rum and coke. I need to stay loose but aware. Seeing that I had 2 pints in the previous bar I am quite loose.
6:30 PM I randomly (literally out of a hat) draw the genre for our short film. I get lucky (in a good way), it's Romance.
7:00 PM The following are announced: the character that needs to be in the film, Wilma or Winston Weatherby a gardener, the prop is a scale, and the line of dialogue is, "You win some, you lose some."
7:01-8 PM Run to my car and drive to where we will be filming our short.
8:00PM Arrive. I give my cell phone to my buddy (who is a PA (Production Assistant)) while I write.
8:10 PM I have set up my laptop and attempting to summon the muse. I write.
9:00PM Our actress and her border collie (both are in the film) show up. I am distracted.
9:15 PM I finish the first draft, it's four pages (each page of a movie script should be 1 minute of screen time). Our other actor shows up. The team reads through the script.
9:30 PM Our DP (Director of Photography) shows up. He looks at my script and informs me I am full of shit (not really, but something close to it).
9:45-10:15 PM Everyone sits down, there are only 7 of us and we talk about the script.
10:15 PM I politely tell people my head is about to explode (not really, but it's kinda close).
10:15-10:30PM I fix the script. Meanwhile our technical wunderkind, Brad Braufman makes some props.

Get ready for it...

11:00PM Friday-10:30AM Saturday We kick ass. We abuse the actors (Frank and Melissa) ruthlessly while the dog gets belly rubs between takes. There are several funny stories during this time, but this post is all about the time line.
10:30AM-12Noon The house is reasonably clean. Seeing that I live far away I decide to stay in the Boston area for the duration.
12Noon-1PM I drive to Brad's house do some chit chat and go to sleep.
1PM-6PM I toss and turn. How dare the neighbors throw a party on a beautiful day.
6PM  I get up. Brad seems unnaturally happy and alert (I am neither). He has had 2 hours of sleep and had been working on a logo for our group.
6:15 - 6:30PM Brad suggests we go to Paul's (our DP and editor) to pick up a rough cut of the film so our music scorer can get to work. I grunt in agreement.
6:30-7PM I drive us to Paul's. At least Paul isn't chipper. Paul informs me that Melissa needs to come over to do some voice over work. Melissa and I will be over at 8AM on Sunday.
7:15-8PM I drive the rough cut and Brad to the music scorer.
8PM-11:15PM Arrive at Stanley's house. Stanley is a doctor (a family practitioner) as well as an incredibly skilled jazz musician. Between Brad and Stanley I realize I am the least smart guy in the room, luckily I am not insecure. Stanley punches out a score. Unfortunately, Brad makes the observation that Paul could use the score...
11:15PM-12 midnight Drive to Paul's.
12AM-12:15AM Discuss the progress on the film. Wondering why I do this to myself year after year.
12:15AM-1AM Drive back to Brad's.
1AM-8AM I slept the sleep of the dead. What sucks is that I over slept.
8-8:05AM I mumble something to Brad on the way out. I meet his girlfriend, she is nice.
8:05-8:30AM I break the sound barrier and make record time to Paul's. Due to the water ban (What? I didn't mention that? Yep, most of the Boston area had no drinkable tap water) I couldn't get tea. I sucked it up and grabbed one of those prepackaged Starbuck's coffee thingys.
8:30-9:15AM I show up at Paul's and we do some voice over work with Melissa.
9:15-10AM I haul ass back home (far away).
10-10:30AM I shower and shave (I live far enough away from Boston not to be effected by the water ban).
10:30-11AM I drive to my in law's. It's my father in-law's 70th birthday. My wife had "informed" me that I needed to show up.
11-11:30AM Drive to the restaurant.
11:30-12:30AM Have brunch and pretend to be a responsible father/adult.
12:30AM-1PM I drive to a book store.
2-3PM Drive to Paul's.
3-3:15PM Look at the current edit.
3:15-4PMPM Wendy LaBron shows up. Her job is to tell us how much the short sucks. She does and Paul does a quick edit, it doesn't suck as much (I am joking. She said it was the best film yet that we did for the 48). Brad also arrives.
4PM-on to 9:45PM Wendy leaves and things go horribly wrong. At first the computer did some quirky things but it seemed like everything was going to be OK. Things did not go OK. The program that had been working on the film froze on us (this is a very, very shortened version of the story) 76% of the way through. We had to restart the computer and begin that particular stage of the edit (rendering) again. We were using a HD camera so that process takes time. The film was due at 7:30PM and we were not ready. Once we realized that the film would be late I called the cast and crew and informed them of the miserable news. We got the film to where it needed to go at 9:45PM.

Because the film is late we are not able to win any of the awards except for the audience favorite. The film will be shown at the Kendal Square movie theater tomorrow night (with the others in it's group) at 9:30PM.

Was the experience worth it? I learned a few important lessons about technology that night (more on that in another post) and I think the film is well done.

Meh, you win some, you lose some.

After all, it is Purgatory.


  1. You forgot to include our brief phone conversation on late Saturday afternoon that you have no memory of, as apparently you were actually fast asleep at the time.

  2. Andy: I must say that this sounds pretty stressful/awful -- the part about not making the deadline especially. Did/does Paul have any idea why the computer froze? For future reference, there is an option where you can down convert your project to standard def (I believe) and edit it that way. Later, you can re-capture just what you need as HD. That might have minimized the issue but I'd ask more technical folks about a best approach. I know that last year, after we made it to the final round, we were told we could submit an HD version for that.

  3. You know, it was all going fairly well up until the moment that the iceberg hit.

    That aside, I always walk into the 48 knowing I have to kick ass and I don't have a problem with that.

    I'm fairly happy with the film itself.


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