Doing a 48-Hour Film Project

It’s been a while since I last wrote about my adventures in screenwriting and moviemaking. This year so far, I have seen and learned some new things and there is more to come…
Well the film project I was involved in last year is still in post-production. How far along is beyond me, but I visited the set earlier this year and it looks promising. By the same group, I was asked to draft a short script for their next project. I’ll keep you up to date as to if they want me to do rewrites or if they’ll take it from there.

In June, I wrote for the 48 Hour Film Project…again. Like last year, it was a mad dash from idea conception to actually putting print to paper. This is no easy feat to do in five hours. Yes 5 hours. Most writers take that long to draft one page let alone doing five or ten pages. This time I was asked to come on-board and write on set with a production group’s selected writers.

The writers were very smart and imaginative people, and even better they were ready to work… This was my first time writing with a team. Last year was really offering input on an already written script. The team writing stuff… I like it and hate it. I like that you are able to bounce ideas around and you can get a lot of work done rather quickly, in some cases. I hate it because people can get too attached to an idea and take it personal when it won’t work in the big scheme of things. It’s like seeing the tree before the forest. Then conflict can arise which in this instance nearly killed the creative process.

The genre was fantasy, which we found out around 6:30 p.m.
The location we used was a massive house east outside of Atlanta. The house had a lot of rooms were available for scenes.

We had some good ideas around the middle of the night including some dream-type stuff (pre-“Inception”), but none that we could fit in five pages, or any idea that we could confidently explain. The production team’s patience was wearing thin and eventually came in with their story. As us writers did not have a concrete storyline to run with, we had to go in their direction for the sake of time. The production’s idea was about a homeless man who wins the lottery, only to find out that it was a dream. I wrote it out to the best of my ability, merging comedic elements into a dream scenario.

To be quite honest, my mind went into cruise control in interest of finishing the story when we were crunched for time (it’s past midnight now) and the production staff needed to get to work. They only had under a day to shoot all scenes and so forth. I just wanted to get things done for everyone’s sake and it had been a very long day. I still have not seen what the finished product.

The point is that I did the quick writing competition again, proving I can work on deadlines, with a team, and under intense pressure with almost zero preparation.

It was a fun time and a learning experience above all else. I learned that when you have to sell someone an idea, you better damn make sure you can explain it simply and with confidence or otherwise no one is going to want to run it. This is in all things, not just moviemaking. The pitch was off and I had to strike up a loss of idea. Same rules can apply in a job interview or in dating, I suppose. Have a good, confident idea to sell and you can win and move it forward.


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