(To read about my favourite 48hfp experience & tips, please see my other post) However, continue reading for another flavor to how these contests can go…)
It’s the last week of July 2011. The 48 hour is upon us again. We managed to continue with pretty much same team and same cast with a few new additions. That anxious moment of waiting to draw genre. I had a feeling this year we might draw horror, for whatever reasons. I even had a dream about how it’d go. Everyone had their guesses, but to all our amazement, we drew Dark Comedy! Not so strange as to toss back into the unknowns of the Wild Card opportunity, we decided to roll with it.
The required elements we used was a guy named Jonathan Taylor, profession lawyer, prop was an orange, and dialogue was “I’d prefer not to!”I certainly admit I had a wee bit of yipes, trepidation going into this genre. I just love comedy, but dark comedy has a certain element that you either hit or miss. The gears started turning in my head as we all drove back to start the brainstorming session. This time, because we had several locations for shooting, we decided to shoot at one of our team members house. This is also where other activities took place, like brainstorming, setup, editing, everything but the sound and refinement. There was certain pros and cons to making campus our headquarters last year, so it was interesting to see how it would go @ someone’s house instead.
The brainstorming process was difficult. There’s no lies there. Dark comedy really gave us a bit of trouble as far as narrowing down a path to head towards. No point in discussing that part further, the great point is eventually we picked a direction and went running towards it. It was hectic getting such a dialogue-driven story scripted, but I think we were all excited to attempt it. I think this was the most dialogue heavy piece we’d ever done. Now you might be thinking, is the 48hfp a place to be trying out new methods like this?
Well, sure! Why not? I wouldn’t say to jump too too far outside your comfort zone, but it is as great of time as any to experiment and try something new. I just wouldn’t go doing that too much with new equipment or software being that you’re in a real time crunch, and any troubleshooting type errors or failures with them could really put you behind or late. I would definitely discuss with your team what you plan to shoot/edit on, make sure everyone is on board and comfortable with that format, whether you do tapeless, etc. and STICK TO IT. Sometimes, on the eve of ‘battle’ before the production, people may get inspired by a great rush and think, oh, let’s go ahead and use tapeless (when they’ve no experience with it) This is probably a bad idea, just saying…
So we’ve got the script, it’s the next day and time for production. Production is always one of the scariest moments. And of course, let us not forget the huge “hurry up and wait” that is inevitable. Everyone arrived on time, seemed ready to go, and got a surprise of their life. We didn’t reveal much about the script to our poor cast. Sarah had come in hair fixed, and we had to reveal guess what! You are all very sick people in a support group all trying to trump one another with your symptoms. Time to smear on makeup for dark circles! Thankfully, we are quite lucky to have the cast we did. They set straight away to getting ‘disheveled’ for the cam, and we went over any last minute things, as well as getting info to someone making a song for our film (how cool is that! wish we could have used more of it le sigh -__-) Our cast blew my mind.
Production actually went about how we thought it might. We had a decent idea of how to go about it, and everyone made it happen without too many hitches (for instance, the light kits blowing out a fuse momentarily, LOL) and a few other expected snags. Spirits seemed high, swelled low, then back up again, and there was an energetic buzz going on at several moments which made up for any low spots. I couldn’t believe how well our cast was pulling off these heinous characters, probably something they may not have had to explore before, so kudos for that! As soon as possible, capturing started. There was a few problems getting going on that, but it seemed to hit a calm point again.
EDITORS! Consider this. I think unless you want to be present for the whole production, take a word of advice. You do not necessarily need to be present the entire production time. (aka: the times everybody is standing around willing themselves to stay awake when nothing is happening) lol. In fact, I suggest you take out time to get in a bit of extra sleep during the pre to initial stages of production. I think in hindsight, I would have slept a bit later, then rolled on in after coffee and food so I had fresh eyes and mind. (This may not always be the case, but I found out in this particular setup, it would have went much better, but we were also on a strict sudden schedule with the edit unfortunately) When you have a team, you don’t really need to be there standing around and getting ansy waiting on the first capture before it can happen. That’s all I’ll say about that.
Editing was…insane. I don’t really want to get into this part too much. Essentially, we found out the day OF that we needed to get the edit done by a certain time in order to have sound working on things. CRAP!! This wasn’t good. While I thought in the back of my mind, “No way this will happen”, I just nodded my head and blazed off to the edit “suite” where I proceeded to want to bash my head into the nearest wall.
Nevertheless, you cannot pretend these moments don’t happen, and the sooner you realize plans can and WILL change, just go with it – do your best, that’s all you can do, right? I have never felt such pressure in my entire life until this point. Production didn’t wrap until 6pm, and I was to try to have the cut finished by 9pm. Yeahhh. no. That didn’t happen. I did however manage to squeak by around midnight, you know thinking on it, I could be wrong…I really don’t even know anymore what time it was! By the time I was done, I was abso-fricken-lutely exhausted, dead, beaten, tired, and low. I think I aged another 5 years in that night. I learned an awful lot about myself. If I could change anything about the intensity and crap that was a bit unnecessary, I would – but I can’t, so that is the lesson of life. It happens how it does, and then you move on. 🙂
The next day Josh and Kylee (read about her experiences) had to get the rest of color corrections under way and also export to deliver. It was insane there as well. This year, for whatever reasons, was giving us hardly any mercy. Though, you must admit, for 48 hours, we managed a great film with good humour and very tongue-in-cheek pokes at life. I think what we set out to accomplish was exactly that – no, it was not a winner because it definitely wasn’t about zombies which seems to KEEP BEING A RECURRING THEME. Seriously!?! Zombies are cool and all, but GAH. Phew…anyway, where was I? Oh. Yes. It wasn’t as …happy go lucky as last year’s. I’m still proud of it. I think we put ourselves out there, outside the box, learned some stuff, made a film, what’s not to like?
Here you can see a short trailer I slapped together literally in an afternoon to hurry and get at least one trailer ready for the upcoming weekend. It had to be at least 48 seconds long or less, which I thought was funny. At a suggestion, I mimicked the typical green preview MPAA screen and totally transformed every little bit of it to our film. I crafted it together right in Premiere as a title. That was quite a fun lil project I must admit. I loved being able to customize everything. Here is a still of the title also. I wish I’d thought to add a bit of sound clip at that point to sort of sneak in, but overall, I like it. I sort of let the song be the narrative instead.
Without further adieu, you can watch Support Group right now! Here’s our trailer first and submission right under that.
PS: that still on our video cracks me up! XD
Oh double PS: At some point, a news guy came by to take a few words and pictures with our crew as part of the 48hfp coverage. That was cool. Here’s a few hilarious stills that were in the paper that weekend.