The Columbus 48 Hour Film Project
What Happened During Your Weekend?
The Columbus filmmakers share stories from their wild weekend of filmmaking. (Blogging ended shortly after the filmmaking weekend.)
South 40, a job well done.
With the nudging of my brother Gil, I decided to move from being a team member to a team leader and dust off my old Production company name, Off Center films. After a few calls to some of my usual calibrators, Dino Tripodis and Phil Garrett, I signed us up. When your on the sidelines and working on someone else\\\'s film sometimes you sit there and say, “how hard can this be?” but after we pulled Fantasy, we realized quickly how had it really is.
Rewind to our original pre-pro meeting. We decided that we would find one location and no matter what we pulled, we would adapt. So after securing a farm just north of Polaris we thought we would be golden... Until we pulled Fantasy. Let me tell you, Fantasy is hard. First we made a list of clichés so we would stay away from them... so no elves or visits to middle earth... Sorry nerds. After a 3 hour story meeting Dino and I sat down and hammered out a script we hoped would be original. (which also hard and we all know) Bedtime was 4:15am... Sleep.
Call time on Saturday morning was 8am. The cast arrived and we had our first read through. After one of the cast members pointed out a similar element that was in a film in last years 48, I responded, “to late!” we hit the ground running.
The shoot went surprisingly smooth. We did shoot outside in the rain but it was OK, I call it atmosphere. Besides, overcast skies always make things easy when it come to shooting. A little wet, but its only water... The crew was under pop up tents and the actors we gamers. No complaints. After lunch, we moved inside and finished up the shoot. Wrap was called at 6:30pm. The cast and crew worked efficiently and had great attitudes. It really felt like everyone was working toward one goal, making a great film we all could be proud of. Theres a saying in the production word, “sometimes you work for the meal not the reel”. Everyone was there for the reel.
Gil Whitney, our DP. shot with his Sony F3 which allowed us to use a Samurai external drive that connects to the camera and records to the codec we wanted to use for the edit. So when the drive was given to our editor Jamie, he just dropped the footage into the project and we were editing. Fast and clean. We had picture lock at 3am sunday morning. We exported a Qtime and audio files for our sound designer and went to bed.
The next morning, I delivered the audio and picture to Robin Gulture at Magnetic Studios, watched it with him, gave him a few thoughts and returned to the edit at Dino’s house. After I got back to the edit, I used COLOR for color correction, set the export and went back to Magnetic to sit in the final Mix and to add music... Out the door at Magnetic at 3pm. I ran back to the edit and after adding the mix and credits. We exported and walked out the door at 6:45pm. Arrived at drop off at 7.... DONE.
This years 48 was one that I will not soon forget. Every emotion was experience and sleep deprivation is something I highly recommend everyone to live through at least once. Big thanks to Jon, Heather, Kristina, Dino, Gil, Phil, Jamie and the rest of the Off Center Films crew.
- John Whitney, Off Center Films
A Lot of Firsts
I received a camera for Xmas in 2012 and have been looking for ways to use it as I have absolutely no creative film-making experience. I have some experience with corporate video, convention/show production and music, bands, and music video, but nothing close to independent film.
While working as a grip, on a music video with a friend earlier this year, I learned of the 48HFP. I gathered a team of interested but inexperienced teens (my daughters and their friends) and set out into unknown territory.
We pulled Crime/Gangster from the hat and set our sights on our shooting locations at Lake Erie (Catawba Island). We wrote for 2.5 hours on the drive up and had a rough direction once we hit the island. As luck would have it, we hit a DUI Checkpoint; flashing lights everywhere. (...Crime/Gangster). We pulled over, I cleared it with the commanding officer and captured some "b-Roll"; no idea how or if we could use it but it was too good to pass up.
Woke up at 4:30 AM to howling winds and rain. Since all of our locations were outside, we went into scramble mode and shot for 16 hours all the while dodging rain, umbrellas and plastic sheeting and suffering with high winds. Fatigue set in and some poor decisions as a result.
I returned home in the early hours of Sunday, uploaded and started scrubbing through clips only to find most of the dialogue unusable due to wind noise. About noon, I made a call to my team with little hope of making something of what we had. Eating lunch, I stated to think about my options and referred back to my experience with music and music videos and decided to try to create some emotion and story with soundtrack and visuals, and eliminate all the on-site audio I could. The story line changed drastically as a result, but we feel relieved we were able to turn something in.
The last render completed and I had 65 minutes to get the drop off from Mt. Vernon, OH (44 miles away during the Ohio State Fair). Speed limits were merely suggestions at this point. The 48HFP gods shined down, made it up the steps and media was approved with only minutes to spare.
All in all we loved the experience, learned so much, and look forward to next year.
- Robb Jarrett, GODOG
Musical: A Blessing and a Curse
The Blackfoot Productions team is full of musicians, composers, and lyricists, so one might think we were hoping to get the "Musical" genre. In fact, with so many of us on the team writing and producing musical works on a regular basis, we were somewhat hoping for anything BUT this genre, maybe because we knew what we were in for!
Nevertheless, we drew the Musical genre, and our fate was sealed. Friday night was a whirlwind session of writing the dialogue, composing an original song in about an hour (yes, really!) and even recording a scratch track of the song for the next day's shoot. All the while we were rounding up everyone we knew who was willing to come sing and dance for our big dance number the next day.
Given the challenges of choreographing and shooting a musical number, as well as syncing and recording issues we had to face, it is amazing how great the result was. Our biggest technical issue was not from any of these elements at all, but in fact rendering the text for the credits, which almost made us miss the deadline!
Overall, we were all extremely happy with how our film turned out, and perhaps it was meant to be that we got the Musical genre after all.
- Steven Leigh, Blackfoot Productions
Just a few days before the 48HFP 2013, a list of filmmakers were having a discussion about the formats we accept in Columbus for the popular screenings a few days after the event. A discussion I had today got me thinking about the deeper subtext of that discussion.
6 years ago when we started the 48HFP in Columbus, these discussions weren't being held. 6 years ago in Columbus, even our best and brightest were wondering how they were going to create their art for people to see, how they were ever going to be taken seriously amongst the ranks of a busier film industry in Cleveland and surrounding states as well as a blisteringly negative local film community that was pretty hell bent on destroying itself before it could ever get any traction.
Now, the movies being created in Columbus are much more plentiful and the quality of them has grown, not just because the equipment has gotten better, but also because our knowledge has grown and our tenacity in learning how to use the equipment is continuing to evolve.
Now we're at the point where the desire and the skill has actually grown to the point where filmmakers are so passionate about making their films as perfect as they can be that they'll spend a whole day online figuring out the best ways to make it happen, discussing the idea with people they used to call rivals and coming together - united - to make sure that not only does their art get seen, but that it's showcased in the best possible way.
That's progress, and I am proud to have shared a small role in our continuing evolution. Kudos to the teams of the 2013 Columbus 48 Hour Film Project! May the screenings be just the first audience of many yet to come.
- KC Allen, City Producer
Able almost almost disabled!
We grabbed "Romance" as a category this year and we had said as a team we wanted to be focused on a simple script, which we thought we had. However after delays with rain on Saturday we were rushed to shoot the remaining exterior scenes. On Sunday morning at 4:20am I sent a text to my team telling them that the storyline was not working, we were over 10 minutes and the flow seemed very abrupt and disjointed because we tried one too many things. We had a great 2:30 at the front and an awesome 2:30 at the end. So on Sunday at 10am we went out with a revised script and reshot the middle. The results we think were amazing and we still handed in 20 minutes earlier than last year. I'm so glad our team took the gamble to retool at the 11th hour. We have great teams in town, and I knew we had to bring our A game. I have learned this year that pushing the writing to get shooting may cost too much in the end. We hope everyone enjoys Able.
- John Ondo, Ondo Media Film Team