Directorial Debut

Have you seen Subsidized Corn and Friends’ 48 Hour Film Project submission yet?  If you’re coming from facebook (and about 92% of you usually do), then you’ve probably seen it.  If not, I present it here for your review, plus some behind-the-scenes insights that only a director can provide.

Oh, I didn’t tell you that I was the Director?  Silly me.  [insert southern guilty girly laugh]  You only get your first time once!  And yes, this was my first time.  The awesome cameraman Ivan had to teach me the shoutout order: “Quiet on the set!  Roll camera.  Action!  Cut!”  We lost the formality of it as soon as I jumped in for acting, but it worked out.  We lost a lot of formalities, and that worked very well for our group that already works well together informally.  I really enjoyed blocking and working with the actors, especially since I know these actors and their capabilities so well.  Actors were all improvisers, which made my job extremely easy, and included Laura, Nick, Darnell and me (from SubCo), HiM (Just Moxie) and Xavier (The Lodge).

A couple of things before you watch.  First, the rules.  There were some 120 to 140 entries, so each team was divided into screening groups of about 12-15 teams.  On Friday at 7:00pm, we picked a genre out of a hat.  Within each screening group were 14 genres, so no genre within the same screening group was repeated.  If you pulled a genre that you did not want to use, you had to wait until the end and pull from a supplementary list.  We decided that the only one we really were not interested in exploring for our first submission was the “western/musical” category.

We pulled “Thriller/suspense.”  Luckily, you are allowed to combine genres as long as the original one is represented.  As funny as we think we are, we were prepared to make anything we did a comedy.  Of course.

So each group had a unique genre, but all groups were assigned three components that must be represented (or face disqualification).  For this event, we needed to include a teacher named Riley Tompkins, a pencil and this line of dialog, “I’m taking it one day at a time.”  The film had to be between 4-7 minutes long.

Friday night as soon as we received that information, our writers got to writing.  We had a crack writing team of Laura (our team leader, writer, actor and editor extraordinaire), Mike (aka HiM) and Laura’s friend Kristen.  They only needed 1.5 hours to develop an awesome concept and another 2 hours to work out a script.  I am convinced that without this great script, the weekend would not have gone so smoothly.  Meanwhile, all the non-writers gathered at my place to start finding locations, props, costumes, etc. that would be needed based on the concept.  This is where the writers created magic because we only needed one location to film (instead of running all over town) and each of the actors could wear costumes and make up they already had.  Brilliant.  I stayed up late that night working over and over the script to compose each scene in my head and what type of direction each character would need.  I enjoyed that part and should probably look over my notes now that the film is completed – how close did I come to my Saturday 2:00 am vision?

Saturday morning at a more reasonable hour we gathered at Nick and Lylie’s house, which became our studio for the day.  It was not only the perfect location for filming, but also an easy location for having meetings, eating lunch, and relaxing if you weren’t in the scene.  The filming went smoothly, and we wrapped up by 5:00.  That’s when Laura and Ivan worked their magic… there were a few hours of technical difficulties that they worked through, which is why putting together a film in 48 hours is both magic and tough.  Laura edited through the night, while the rest of us relaxed and enjoyed a nice night out even though we were spent.

Mid afternoon Sunday, I met up with Laura to help her stay awake to finish the movie.  Poor girl!  She edited and I mostly watched and helped her keep tabs of things that you forget about when working on a few hours of sleep.  She dropped in the music which was composed specifically for this film by two of her friends.  They each got a copy of the script on Saturday morning and wrote pieces just for this film.  How cool is it that our film has a sound track?  In the last hour, through the power of Google, Laura and I learned to make rolling credits using Adobe Premiere CS4, if that means anything to anyone.  Yes, we had about one hour to make credits, render, then save/burn to a disk.  At that point, it looked something like this.

We hustled, and Laura’s boyfriend Brian helped us Mac deficient folks finish up stuff.  “Go!” he kept yelling as I was hustling to make the 7:00 deadline.  The drop off was in my neighborhood, so I knew what was up.  I got there a few minutes before 7:00 and no one seemed to be rushed or panicked.  That’s not the film community I know!  Oh, right, the films were due at 7:30.  Well, well, look at us with 30 minutes to spare!

I am extremely proud of this team and our effort.  Our two goals for this project were 1. produce a film that we were proud of and 2. have fun.  We definitely did both of those!  I really hope you enjoy it because we put our little hearts and souls into this baby!

So with that, I present to you:  On the Move

Up next, Laura and I want to continue the fun and do a bloopers reel and a director’s cut.  Probably stuff that only we would find funny or interesting, but another fun project with extra film footage and some editing time!


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