Saturday, August 27, 2011

48 Hours of Pain, Tears, and Joy.

Every year around this time comes the San Jose 48 Hour Film Festival, and each year I vow not to partake due to the stress of last year. Well once again, I got roped into working on another film. It's not that I don't enjoy making films in the least, it's just the stress of delivering a final product in 48 hours...

From writing, to production, to editing, to sound mixing, to exporting, there is so much that needs to happen in such a short time frame. The group I was working with are a great group of people that I love collaborating with. We all motivate each and always seem to be on the same page in terms of ides and visuals.

As with all 48 Hour Film Projects, we were given a few required elements to include within our film

Mandatory Elements:
+Inclusion of a chair (we had fun with this one)
+Line of dialogue: "Give me some kind of sign"
+Inclusion of a "recycling expert" character
+Someone with the name "Ian Jeffers" or "Eileen Jeffers"

PRODUCTION (8/12-8/14)

Luckily we drew the genre "horror" for our film. We knew we were going to go way overboard with this genre, but that was sort of the point. So after agreeing that we would use the super awesome abandoned naval base of Fort Ord as our location, we wrote our script. We finished our script by 11pm-ish friday night before heading home to get some props and few hours of precious rest.

The next morning we were off. As we drove into the town of Marina, CA, we were all giddy with excitement. The fog that had crept over the town in the middle of the night was perfect and looked straight out of a... well... horror film. We spent all day shooting at various locations throughout the fort. This place is a haven for people like me. This will be the third project I've shot here, and I still get excited every time. I highly recommend checking this place out if you find yourself ever down this way.

We shot until the last speckle of day disappeared behind the horizon. We drove home to begin the arduous task of post production. I was exhausted, but I knew we needed to have a rough edit done before the morning. I stayed up until 3-4am completing this task. When my eyes would stay open no lon ger, I trudged off to bed. I woke up around 8am the next morning knowing how much work we all still had to do.

A few members of our group recorded foley while Ben Southward and I worked on mixing the sound and adding in the music. We began our final export close to two hours before the due time. This was just to make sure we weren't down to the line like last year. Sure enough the film exported in about 45 minutes and we were in the clear. I wish we had time for some color correction, but honestly I don't think we could have made it.

A half an hour left to go, and we headed over to the meetup location at a bar and billiard room in downtown San Jose. We made sure we had all the necessary documentation before turning in our film and packet. That was it. We had finished. We all took a sigh of relief and smiled as we realized we had just completed our second film created in 48 hours.


After having caught up on sleep somewhat, my team and I were all excited to see our hard work displayed up on the big screen. Camera 12 Cinemas in downtown San Jose was the place to be Thursday night. The theater was packed and our group had to split up because of this, which was unfortunate.

Overall, the films were very well done. Some of the works made you question if the filmmakers didn't have some sort of head start based on their production value and sound work. EIther way, the films were extremely enjoyable.

When our name "Surfin' Kitty Productions" popped up on the screen our team and friends screamed with excitement. The film was awesome on the big screen. There were definitely a number of minor problems with the film, but nothing too drastic to take the viewer out of the film. We got a few laughs, which was awesome too, considering we mad a horror film...

As for now, I don't plan on doing anymore 48 Hour Film Festivals anytime soon, but I wouldn't mind making the San Jose 48 Hour Film Festival into a yearly tradition! Looking back on the whole situation, I had a blast and learned a lot. I'm not a huge fan of the sleep deprivation that comes with the film festival, but that's sort of the challenge. It feels almost like a marathon for filmmakers!

Here is our final film as it was presented to the audience at the screening. Since then, I've only done some minor color correction work. Enjoy!

I just received word that our film was nominated for 4 awards (best screenplay, best makeup, best cinematography, and DUN DUN DUNNNN, BEST PICTURE!). Fingers crossed!

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