Last weekend I wrapped my last 48 Hour Film gig. I may never do another one again. Now before you start thinking this is going to be another gripe session like when I had to sell all those damn raffle tickets at International Bear Rendezvous, let me tell you that I may have no choice in the matter. I enjoy working on these films. It’s Maurice Molyneaux –the producer/director of our submission who is the one who may have had it with the whole 48 hour film festival madness. I’m just the talent.
Let me explain to you what the 48 hour film festival is –with the assistance of Mr. Molyneaux’s blog Naked from the Neck Up. On Friday evenings the producer/directors go to a selected location to get the necessary info. The folks at the Festival determine that all entrants must use the following three elements : And for the 2010 film they were,
A Line of Dialogue: “You are not going to believe what happened.”
A Character: Gigi or Geoffrey Cook –who is a consultant
A Prop: a dinner plate
Then everyone is divided into four groups and they all select a genre out of a hat. For this bit of info I defer to Maurice from his blog about the 2008 entry, a Fable called, “ How the Bunny got the Bear.” This turned out to be a wonderful little political statement about Gay Marriage. Check it out on You Tube by searching the title. (Add my name if you have trouble finding it.)
From Maurice’s Blog
The way it works is like this:
- Teams are assigned to one of four Groups (A, B , C or D)
- Team leaders draw a genre out of a hat. Once each genre is drawn, it's out of the running for that Group. As such, each Group will have only one instance of a given genre (like Romance), but there could be four films in that genre, since there's one instance of the genre for each group.
- After the genres are all drawn, all teams are told the required Elements (see above) that must be included to prove their films were made in the 48 hours.
That’s 48 little hours to conceive, shoot and edit a seven to ten minute film. It aint easy by any stretch of the imagination. Not to mention expensive. Depending how the film is put together, a producer could sink quite a chunk of change into this competition. Luckily most of the tech and talent will volunteer for the sheer madness of it all. It’s the equipment and space that’ll really run you. I suspect Mr. Molyneaux really, really wanted to win given the kind of film he wanted to shoot this time. That’s not to say that there isn’t levity on the set. I have heard many different stories from other actors and producers who do the festival and while some films are disastrous and others are brilliant, all agree that a good time is had by all. Maurice’s gang manages to have a good time but I guarantee this is actually quite serious film making.
There are 14 genres to choose from. (Here’s what they were back in 2008. Maurice wound up with Horror at first pick. No director wants horror because of all the blood! You gotta get it right in one take and there’s not enough time to clean up and do a re-shoot. Maurice rejected Horror and pulled a Wild Card-Which was Fable –as in Aesops- and THAT’ “How the Bunny got the Bear” was born! )
- Film de Femme (strong female character)
- Historical Fiction/Period Piece
- Holiday Film
- Musical or Western
- Road Movie
- Sci Fi
Not sure what all the categories were this year, but I can tell you we got “Dark Comedy” for our genre. Cool – I had visions of telling Jokes at a Funeral , but Maurice had other ideas. Very Very elaborate OTHER ideas. He’s a planner that one! Last year -after exhaustive preparation on Maurice’s part recreating the 1930s on an honest-to-god 1930s Airplane of that era at the Oakland Air Museum-we got WESTERN as our genre! Grrrr ! But Maurice was prepared for every eventuality and you can also see that film on YOU Tube titled “Stagecoach in the Sky” We won Best Costume and it was shocking to hear that we didn’t win Best Film. ( It was really quite brilliant-ESPESCIALLY SINCE THE WHOLE DAMN THING WAS PUT TOGETHER IN 48 HOURS! I actually had an Opening Night that night of filming. The play I was doing was at New Conservatory Theater Center and it was Terrence McNally’s “Some Men” )
This year the film was going to be shot in the graphic art style of a Frank Miller film. All Black and White costumes and make up with a graphic illustrated background. Ambitious –yes,but given the coterie of talent and tech experts that Maurice had assembled, it wasn’t going to be impossible –or was it?