Sunday, June 12, 2011

Films in 10 hours

Yesterday myself and 8 friends divided ourselves up into two teams and made our own films in 10 hours based on the theme "Oh God... What Have I Done?"  For those of you that actually go to my school and are reading this (first off why are you reading this), the teams were decided after several hours of debate over the IRC:

Team 1: Me (head editor), Adam (head actor), Louis (scriptwriter/actor), Eugene (actor)
Team 2: Drew (head editor/director), Brandon (actor), Arthur (actor), Jack (actor), Justin (actor)

The contest started at 1 PM and ended at 11 PM; the full 10 hours.

Final product:

Our start was slow.  Adam suggested an idea, but being total control freaks we all ended up distorting it via debate for an hour.  Meanwhile the other team came into our room and proclaimed that they were ready to begin filming after only 20 minutes, and two of their members haven't even arrived yet.  Panic ensued.  Although their team had a distinct lack of acting ability, Drew's prodígé at post-processing and directing (as well as professional experience in the industry) easily makes up for any disadvantages they might have had; not to mention they had one extra person.  And with a mere 10 hours, it was largely a race to whoever could film all their scenes first.  So being behind in the race before even the first half hour passed was sort of really kind of not good at all.

Louis eventually suggested an idea that stemmed from our collective debate, in which a scientist creates a Frankenstein-esque virus that causes its hosts to kill people while sleepwalking.  A generic idea, but Adam and I pitched in to create a twist; the "oh god, what have I done" arises from not the scientist appalled at his creation but the policeman that kills him before he can circulate a cure.  The simple twist turned everything around for our team-- everything snapped together, and enthusiasm skyrocketed.  Louis became our storywriter for the remainder of the time.

The second hour was devoted largely to costume design and acting roles.  We easily decided that Adam should be the wacko scientist because of his curly, Jewfro-ish hair (that looked a lot messier than our own).  The problem was between Louis and Eugene, as to who should be the chief investigator and who should be his assistant.  While Louis had the personality of a chief, Eugene had the height of one.  They were both fine with either role so we just picked whoever looked more badass in a suit.  Eugene filled in that role.

By the third hour, we were ready to film the first scene.  The other team had already moved to Drew's house to film, taking the majority of the prop guns with them (rule-breaking, because we had previously agreed to share props; however it so happened that we found another one somewhere, so no damage done).  We filmed next to a lake nearby, empty except for a bush to hide a dead body in and two kids fishing.[1]  I acted out my part as the dead body, brilliantly executing my wordless lines and my motionless stance (man I'm like the best actor ever).  Adam deserves some credit here; his acting was top-notch.  We finished the scene in about an hour, one of four that we needed to film before dark.

[1] If by "a bush to hide a dead body in" you thought we were referring to the fishing kids, you're a sick bastard.

We all took a break after that, drinking a ton of water (it's Floridian summer and everyone was wearing suits; I was carrying a tripod and the other equipment).  Turns out the other team was stopping too: Brandon told us that enthusiasm for their video broke down, with actors reluctant to act and their storyline being too ambitious to do in 10 hours.  But then they came back an hour later and said they were finished aside from editing.

Nothing interesting happened for a while.  We easily beat the daylight and filmed all of our daytime scenes before dark.  There was one where Eugene acted as a dead body lying halfway out the front door.  Someone drove by, reversed to make sure he wasn't dead, and then drove ahead again.  It was pretty awesome.

We finished filming two hours before the deadline, where my part as editor came into play.  I was editing throughout the day as we filmed, so I had enough time to put some interesting effects in, but by the end it was really just about finishing and making the voiceovers not sound crappy.  I failed on that front; without background music, the narration sounded amateurish and awful.  Everything else paired out fine, though.  The other team had finished theirs by then.  Ended up rendering at 11 PM on the dot.

A lot of people left by then, not wanting to wait for the render.  Adam, Justin, and I ended up going to Drew's house (with Drew, of course) to wait out the compile time.  We then watched both videos (ours first, to their insistence).  Theirs was comedy gold: after their original idea fell apart, they realized they couldn't go back empty-handed, so they intentionally set out to make the worst film they possibly could.  The first scene was of various actors putting on and taking off a winter coat in various speeds, fast forwarded, reversed, slowmo.  This went on for three minutes.  The rest was of Brandon talking in a weird accent in a merchant costume while Arthur and Jack carried pizza boxes behind him.  Another three minutes.  The end.

All in all it was a pretty friendly competition; surprisingly casual considering the harsh time limit.  We're planning on doing a collaborative project over the summer, all nine of us working on one movie as opposed to a two-team race.  Will keep you posted.

(Lastly, who is the guy in my stats that searched "go suck a real one" and found my blog?  You rock.)

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