The 48 Hour Film Project

I had a chance to hook up with a cool group of people involved in this year’s 48 Hour Film Project this weekend and had a blast, a blast I say! This is an annual nationwide (or actually worldwide) project and Chicago’s weekend was this weekend (to see when it’s coming to a city near you, check out the link above).

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, here are the basics: You get a team of people together and all meet together on Friday night. At 6:55 pm you are assigned a genre of film you must make. Also, everyone is give a prop, character, and line of dialogue that must be somewhere in the film (these elements are all the same for every film, only the genre is different). Then at 7 the countdown begins and you have until Sunday at 7:30pm to write, film, edit, and turn in your 4-7 minute fully-produced film.

I saw an ad online for a group of people looking for others who’d like to help with their film and got in touch with Keith and the rest of the group from Hexxed Productions. I was there Friday to witness the drawing of the genre and the announcement of the elements and it was exciting. We figured there were about 20 different teams who signed up (one of them from Ft Wayne IN!).

The elements this year were as follows:

Character: J. Giordano, Detective
Prop: Measuring Tape
Line: “Take it back”

Also, since this year was the first year of the Project being in Chicago we also had to include somewhere in the film evidence that we shot in Chicago (anything from a landmark in the background to a Chicago phone book lying on a table). The genre category we drew was “Action/Adventure.”

We were off to Keith’s place where our small band gathered to work through the night (there were eight of us that comprised the entire cast and crew if I remember correctly). They had gotten together the night before to brainstorm possible ideas in every possible genre, so we had a good place to start from with our genre. We batted around ideas for a while and went with a story about a famous actress being chased by the paparazzi. After coming up with a basic plotline, we then had to write the script and storyboard the shots. Because our film included a character watching herself on TV, the first thing we had to do was film that show-within-a-show. We shot that and then finished writing the rest of the film.

By 6am Saturday morning we were ready to go. We shot all through the day and that evening we were off to edit, record ADR, and plan out any pick-up shots we still might need. I was even given the opportunity to direct a quick pick-up scene and was really pleased with what we got! I was there until about 1:30am until all that remained was the editing and we left Keith (and John) to do their magic.

It’s such a weird feeling to be there during the whole shooting process and yet not know what the final puzzle will look like when all the pieces are together. You have an idea, but not much more without seeing it all cut together with music, etc.

I talked to Keith yesterday after he turned in our film and he sounded very excited about it. He seems to be pleased with the final product and I am stoked to see it. Some of them gathered ysterday to watch it, but I want to wait and see it for the first time on the big screen, which is also a little nerve-wracking (please, God, don’t let me suck!).

For those of you in the Chicago area, there will be two screenings of the film this week on the silver screen. They split all of the entries into two groups; we are in Group A. The screenings are taking place at Landmark Centruy Centre Cinema, 282 N Clark St. Group A films are being shown at 7:00 on Tuesday night and 9:15 on Wednesday night (Group B is the opposite, at 9:15 and then at 7). Tickets are 8 bucks apiece (more info here), so come on out if you can!

By the end of the weekend, yes, I was worn out and tired but I was also inspired to do more. I came home and watched a bunch of things I had produced in the past and wished I had something new to edit.

Ya know, if you do something non-stop and it wears you out and by the end of the weekend you want to do more, then that’s a pretty good sign you’re doing what you love to do.

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