Posts Tagged ‘No Day At the Spa’

What do you do when your work gets overlooked? You suck it up and you move on.

Last night in Des Moines the 2010 48 Hour Film Festival/Des Moines was held at the Fleur Cinema before a sold out crowd. For the last five years I’ve headed up teams that have been fortunate to have been chosen for at least one award each year. This year there were a record 49 teams signed up which meant greater competition. Just to add to the challenge this year I decided we’d do two films in one 48 hour period. The goal was to make two good enough to make it into the top 12 films that show at the Best of the City screening.

For whatever reason the judges did not find favor with our film No Day at the Spa.* That’s the nature of the beast. I personally thought that No Day at the Spa was not only better than our other film that was selected for this year’s festival, but is the single best 48 Hour film I’ve worked on in the last five years. But it was absent at last night’s screening. Obviously, I can’t look at it objectively, but I thought the lighting, camerawork, direction, editing, acting, and writing of No Day at the Spa was solid enough to be included in The Best of the City.

So it’s time for me to suck it up and move on. And it’s not like we got shut out. We did get one film in and won an award which is more than most of the other 49 productions teams walked away with. Shut up, say thank you, and be grateful, right?  (What’s the old expression, “How much is enough? Just a little bit more.”) Sure I would have liked them to sound the trumpet and extol how one team actually made two films in one 48 period. How brilliant it was that the two films actually worked in tandem, but also separately. How does the saying go? “All disappointment comes from unmet expectations.”

We fell short of our goal, that’s all. To put it all in perspective, there are people in Ames right now dealing flooding in their homes and business that will effect them for years to come.

But the best thing about the subjective nature of film festivals and the politicking behind the scene is it gives you a taste of Hollywood.  Hollywood has long been called the biggest high school in the world, and if you remember your high school days you may recall a clique or two that controlled things like which pictures got into the yearbook.

To show just a couple of examples of how this plays out in the real world:
1) The Shawshank Redemption—It did not win a single Oscar after it was released, but can be found in more than one list as being one of the best films in the history of American cinema.

2) Amele which did not win an Oscar for cinematography was recently named in an American Cinematography poll as the best film shot between 1998-2008.

That how subjectivity works. One person likes chocolate ice cream and another like vanilla ice cream. Somebody at a studio owes a favor to somebody’s agent. The Oscars are full of those kinds of battles.

Despite our disappointment of not having two films in the top 12, it was a fun time. We got a short (very short) limo ride to the red carpet where we had our picture taken and were briefly interviewed.

And we did win an award that I can put on the crowded shelf at River Run Productions.

But prehaps the best thing on working on such a project is watching a diverse group of people come together in a short time and create something from scratch. If your big goal is to make features don’t forget to be faithful in the little opportunities that come your way.

And congrats to Paul Hickey and his team for taking home the best film award last night.

I still don’t have our recent award-winning film The Masks We Were online yet. (Long story there that I’ll cover in a later post.) But, in case you missed the earlier post, here is our film that got shut out. In retrospect, this film would have been a refreshing film for the audience to see last night because it would have been the only film to have a female ensemble cast.

* Update: Found out the problem with No Day at the Spa, was we only had one coin as the prop and the requirement was coins. So in a sense we fell a penny short. We just needed one more coin.

Scott W. Smith

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No Day at the Spa, one of two films produced last weekend by the River Run Production Team for The 48 Hour Film Program in Des Moines. (Click 720p HD settings—not 360p— at the bottom of the screen to watch best version.)

The genre that was picked at random and for which we had to make a film of was Film de Femme (a strong female character) and the elements we (and all the other filmmakers) had to have were:

—Character: Carl or Carla Ross, Plumber
—Prop: Coin
—Line of Dialogue: “Who came up with that?”

Erin (The Director)—Emily Stortz
Kathryn (The Editor)—Tory Flack
Michelle (Director of Photography)—Emily Rozniek
Amelia (Writer)—Cassandra Milbrandt
Carl “The Plumber” Ross—Nigel Brown

Executive Producer—Marc Reifenrath
Executive Producer—Adam Lewis
Executive Producer—Cory Schmidt
Producer/Director/Writer—Scott W. Smith
Director/Editor/Writer—Josh McCabe
Director of Photography—Stephen Holm
Key Grip/Lighting—Jon Van Allen
Assistant Director/Editor—Tara McCready
B Camera—Zach Everman
Production Manager—Joel Laneville
Compositor/Graphics—Calvin Johannsen
Production Assistant/Audio—Alex Welsh
Production Assistant/Audio—William Byrne
Galleria De Paco
The Blackhawk Hotel, Cedar Falls, Iowa
Dan Tindall
Cherrie Zempel
Paco Rosic
Amy Anderson
Dale Lindquist
Linda Alexandres
“Stuck On You”
Digital Juice
Stack Traxx – Positive Aspirations [Disc 2]
“Together We Can”
Digital Juice
Stack Traxx – Groovy Stacks [Disc 4]
“Decision Maker”
Digital Juice
Stack Traxx – Corporate Stacks [Disc 1]
(Note: The second film we produced in the same 48 Hour period, The Masks We Wear, will be posted at a later date.)

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