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Posts Tagged ‘48 Hour Film Project’

Starting tonight at 7:30 River Run Productions will be working taking part in the 48 Hour Film Project. That’s were you have 48 hours to write, shoot and edit a 4-7 minute film. This will be the fifth year I will lead a team to compete in the film project. It’s an opprtunity to work on a narrative project with actors, editors, cameramen, and other production people I’ve worked on other projects in the past and also a few people I’ve never worked with before.

There are 90 cities that do this throughout the year in the US and we will be competing in Des Moines, Iowa. Each of the past four years we’ve made it to what’s called The Best of the Cities which are the top dozen or so films. This year in Des Moines there will be 49-50 teams competing. Making a film in 48 hours is not hard. Making a good film in 48 hours is very hard. And just to make things interesting we’ve actually signed up to make two films this weekend. I can’t imagine we’re the first to ever try this, but I thought it would be an interesting challenge.

In the next several days I’ll document the process concluding with posting the final films on Monday.

About the only thing you are allowed to do is pick cast, crew, locations, and secure equipment.

We have a committed cast of six people and several others on standby. We have several locations on standby as well:
1) An updated motel room that has a retro 50s feel
2) A working artist’s studio
3) An office conference room
4) A hip bar
5) An old barn

There are a few others we could use, but those are our main choices. Just like a feature film moving cast & crew to locations takes time so we hope to just use one location. Though we could shoot at one tonight and one on Saturday which wouldn’t be too much trouble.

As far as equipment we have various cameras (Panasonic HVX 200, HPX 170, Canon 7D, and a couple Nikon cameras and lens), lights, tripods, dollys, etc., we have two Final Cut Pro edit bays, and a wide selection of library music & sound effects.

So equipment, talent and crew-wise we are in good shape. So everything is dependent on the script. Isn’t that usually the situation? Hollywood films are full of talented crews, actors using top-notch equipment all dependent on a good script.

For the 48 Hour Film Project you make a blind selection of genres. Since we are two hours away from Des Moines we’ll have two people at the selection kick off event.

The main genres:

  • Buddy Film
  • Comedy
  • Drama
  • Fantasy
  • Film de Femme
  • Film Noir
  • Horror
  • Mockumentary
  • Musical or Western
  • Road Movie
  • Romance
  • Sci Fi
  • Silent Film
  • Thriller/Suspense

If you reject your first selection they give you one of the Wild Card Genres:

  • Adventure Serial
  • Dark Comedy
  • Foreign Film (only used in the United States)
  • Heist
  • Historical Fiction/Period Piece
  • Mystery
  • Surprise Ending
  • Time Travel Movie or Doppelganger Movie

So at 7:30 tonight we’ll find the direction we’ll head. I’ll kick ideas around with cast and crew and then write the script(s). In the past I have actually started shooting without a storyline to take advantage of the soft lighting between 7:30-9:00. It’s basically been raining for the past 24 hours so I’m not sure we’ll be doing any exterior shots tonight.

If this is something you’d like to do check out the article by John Hansen, How to make a film in 48 hours. Back in 2005 Hansen’s team, Team Last to Enter, not only won Best of the Cities (Des Moines) with their film Mimes of the Prairie, but won the national competition that year.

Should be interesting.

Making Two Films in 48 Hours (Part 2)

Scott W. Smith

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