I was recently on the Tango Productions team for the 48 Hour Film Project in Providence RI. The 48 is a competition where teams of film makers craft a short film within two days. This is our movie Into the Day.
If you've seen my other films you will notice that this is different - very different. On this project I was working mainly as writer (though I helped out in a myriad of other ways) and when you do work as a writer on another person's film the job is to capture the story idea on paper and make it "sing".
I am not going to lie to you, dear readers, the job sounds easy but it isn't.
There were several things I found out about myself during the making of this film. I came out of this project as a better writer.
- When I've do the 48 in the past I emit an smell of desperation. This desperation has to with the time constraint inherent in the competition. See? Even my wording describes how I see the 48 primarily as a competition. The good thing is that when I'm running my own group I get to set the tempo. As a writer, the job is to work at the tempo of the team leader. Our team leader, Brad Braufman, is very phlegmatic (I learned that word when I studied for the GREs back in the day). I had a real problem shifting gears to Bonnie Cohen's (the other writer) and his speed and I didn't work up to my potential because of it. This was my fault.
- A script doesn't need to be a script. Having written several full length pieces and many, many shorts I am married to the script format. I love it - it's like writing haiku (click here and here to read some of mine). We shot from two pages of scene descriptions/action in non-script format and it all worked out.
- I typically work with my regular crew of people and that's not always good. The folks I normally work with are GREAT, but that feeds into my inherent conservatism. Now, the last word most of you would use to describe me is conservative but hear me out. The process that I use to make sense of the world and make decisions is conservative. It takes time for me to observe, hypothesize, and come up with conclusions. The conclusions themselves may be anything but conservative. The process, however, is. Working with new people forces me to be flexible.
What? You want to me to talk about the making of the film itself and not just my self involved self indulgent analysis of me, me, me?
We shot the movie in a warehouse/office building that was being renovated. We could shoot as long as we wanted. The bed/make out scene was filmed in one of the crazy open areas. The windows that lined one side of this room allowed that cool shot of Kathy (woman in red) to walk towards us out of the light. The room where the girls kiss was designed to be used as a chemical hazard room. It was boiling hot in a small area - I don't know how folks dealt with it. Which leads me to our actors Marshall and Kathey Brenson, the Dude and Woman in red, and our temptress Corina Bucur. They all did well and went along with whatever crazy stuff our director asked of them. I was really impressed with our DP (camera guy) Anton Shevchenko and David Fisher, the director. Stanley Sagov did the music for my last short Puppy Love and did another terrific job here.
But, you may ask me, "Do you like the film Andy? It is very different from what are used to doing."
I heard an interview with James Levine (director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra) and he said (from what I recall) that when a person is exposed to a new/different piece of art then it takes three views to really form an opinion of it. It takes that long to process through the novelty and appreciate the piece (or realize it's crap). The first time I saw Into the Day I knew it was visually gorgeous which is an accomplishment in and of itself, however, a film needs to be more than just pretty. Upon seeing a second and third time I can say that yes I do like it. It is bold, it is ballsy, it makes demands on the viewer.
Here are some pics I took during the project.