Monday, May 10, 2010

Puppy Love and the 48 Hour Film Project - Boston

Well, there it is our team's entry to the 48 Hour Film Project in Boston. I just saw it again and it's grown on me. Our genre (randomly assigned) was Romance, the prop was a scale, the character was Wilma Weatherby, a gardener, and the line of dialogue was, "You win some, you lose some."

Here's what some of the cast/crew think of the film.

Paul Falcone (DP and Editor): I was very pleased with the picture and sound I got with the 5D but the format was also probably responsible for jamming up my computer. More ram is needed I think. I had a good, if exhausting time.

Melissa McCue (actress): First, the cons:

The more I think about it, the more I think that going the route we did - trying to make a believable twist in the middle of a 4 minute short- is just simply, really hard to do. I've only seen a couple where they got it right (there was one with a suicidal clown a few years ago that did it incredibly well). The other thing is that I think laughter is a good gauge for the film-makers to see if they still had the audience, and it was a good way for the audience to release some tension, even in the most dramatic film. In the really good plot-twisty shorts I've seen that were above par, they all had at least one or two moments where the audience could laugh.

We didn't have any tension release, and I think even with our effort with voice-overs, people still may have been a little lost.

Frank and I could have connected a bit better in some of the romantic scenes. I think I was more worried about showing her conflicted nature, and that she had been in similar situations before. But I don't think that came across as well as I intended, and I should have been more wrapped up in "romance" and saved "conflicted" for a bit later in the film. My focus was in the wrong place. It was working in my head, but that doesn't cut the mustard.

Now the pros:
However, I really love that we drew 'romance', and didn't do the typical romantic short. I really like that we pushed the boundaries, had some interesting shots. Technically, I think we did a superior job.

The editing was spot on. The fight scene was believable.

The basement scene was scary (the intended emotion), and the fridge.....DAY-UM!

The dog worked. Sadie was an interesting and unique "weapon" that I think was used effectively, but I think if we had a bit more time, we could have had her do some other things that showed off her talents in a more impressive, meaningful way that may have drew people in better instead of forcing some of the more awkward moving/staging for her. Had I gone outside with her and played Frisbee in a field, or made it look like a romantic scene with a boyfriend - but the twist is that it's the dog, that may have painted a better "romantic" picture, and would have shown off her talents a bit better.

All things being said, I think we did a good job with the parameters we set for ourselves. I think in hindsight, it was a bit complex for a 48, but if we had more time to flesh it out, the story could be a fantastic piece. I think it was one of our better pieces overall, and we did some really technically impressive things that really worked well.

Brad Braufman (coproducer): I showed it to family this week. My mom thought it was the best thing I've done!

Stanley Sagov  (scorer): I enjoyed the face to face immediate feedback when adding the music to the rough cuts with Andrew and Brad on Sat night.

So here's what I learned from this year's experience.
  • Write in private. While I was writing the first draft the set was in the midst of getting prepared. I was very distracted.
  • Send a runner to get the genre, prop, etc. I like being in the pub (no surprise) and picking the team's genre. However, that sucked up a lot of my time (I had to get to the set afterwards and that was an hour drive).
  • Sit down with the tech guys beforehand and have them explain to me what can go wrong and set up a tech checklist to minimize the risks for catastrophe. I tell jokes that's what I do best. I know diddly-squat about the technology. This is a problem. I think the tech checklist will manage the inherent risk of shooting and editing a film in 48 hours. 
  • Place the character assigned to us as a cornerstone of the piece. Yes, Wilma was important but her role as a gardener wasn't.

What did I do right?
  • That effect with the freezer kicked ass. I still dream about it.
  • Having Wendy come in towards the end of the editing and give her opinion of the film was a wise choice.
  • Having nudity amped the emotional impact.
  • Sadie (the dog) really added to the film.
  • I like the idea of using one location (the house) and got a lot of use out of it. 
NOTE: For all of you who view this piece please comment on it. What you like. What you don't like. This is an educational experience for me as well as the crew. Thanks!

Other posts related to this subject.

48 Hour Film Project
48 Hour Project Update
48 Hour Film Project Plans and Black Hole
48 Hour Film Project - Silent Night


  1. The circular saw! The circular saw! OMG, the circular saw!

  2. Yeah, that was no ordinary circular saw either, it is at least 30 years old.


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