48 Hour Film Project Theory

This year a slew of people asked me if I was doing a 48 hour film project. After a lot of thinking I’ve come to the conclusion that 48 hour film projects just aren’t my bag, baby. Here is why…

I believe that there are 2 types of people who do 48.

  • those who need the accountability to finish a project
  • those who love the creative challenge

For those who need accountability, 48 hour film project is great because at 7pm on Friday you get your genre, character, prop and line and you have until 7pm Sunday to cast, film and edit your 7-10 minute movie. Now you do have to pay $150 for this contest and so you’re going to want to show something for your money. This accountability is great for students (who are already used to deadlines) and filmmakers who need a kick in the pants to start and finish something.

Now with this crowd (and not all of them) there is an insane number of meetings to prep for 48 hours. Some find their locations before 48, some cast their actors, and some brainstorm basic story lines. It’s a lot of meeting for something that you don’t know your genre, main character and story. Which makes me think, shouldn’t it just be 48 hours of work and not 4-8 weeks?

But then there are those who already know the story they want to tell and want to use 48 hour to be accountable to finish it. They just really pray to the movie goddess Pilicua that they get a genre that can fit what they already want to do. The rest fits in with a little creative flair.

Then there are those who see 48 hour film project as a creative challenge. These are people who have the skill sets to make just about any movie but 48 allows the filmmakers to take a weekend and push themselves to work within the confines given. They work with their friends and really just try to have a good time with it.

So why isn’t 48 my bag? Because I really like pre-production, which in 48, is like 2 hours. I also can keep myself accountable. I’m to the point where I won’t even decide on a new project unless I’m sure I can see it through to completion. Also I’d rather have the $150 go into production and not into someone else pocket. I met a guy at Gen Con who made a feature for $150. That money goes a long way in the indie filmmaking world. Also every project I do pushes me creatively. There isn’t a a project that I’ve worked on that worked out as initionally scripted. Locations drop out – rewrite. Actors don’t show – rewrite. Budget get shortened – rewrite. Weather is screwing over a scene – rewrite. I’m always writing and directing within multiple constraints.

And lastly, I feel like “First They Came for…” was my 48 hour-like project. (from prep to post it was 9 months to complete) but we shot 90% of the movie in one very long day. That was very draining on me. There was a lot I felt I could have done better if we would have had more time, but there was rain scheduled for day 2 of our all-exterior film. After wrap, I was also in therapy because it was too much for me.

Even though 48 is not my bag, baby. I’ve been in the audience for the past 2 years, rooting for the filmmakers who gave it their all for 48 hours. I’ve seen some amazing films come out of 48 and some that make you ask WTF for a full 7 minutes. It’s art, it’s fun, it’s a competition and it’s not for everyone to participate in but it is for everyone to enjoy and learn from.

Here is a small selection of the Indianapolis films that screened Aug 7 at the Toby theater for the 48 hour film project.

UNLEASHED on facebook http://www.facebook.com/#!/video/video.php?v=482653691109&ref=mf

BUDDY on facebook http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1374316523493&ref=mf

MAIL ORDER BRIDE on facebook http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=10100266117714829

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