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Monday, May 29, 2006

[48 Hours] Computers Provide Tension

UPDATES GALORE:29/05/06 19.25pm
All photos by K. Sahai - www.karimsahai.com
48hour logo from 48hours.co.nz

"Coupled": Screened Tusday 30 May, 5.45pm, Regent Cinema, Wellington

Me, looking suave. This is not a current photo.
photo by K. Sahai - www.karimsahai.com
10.03am the Monday after the 48hour film challenge. Three coffees in.

I. Am. Knackered.

In the last 72 hours I had, roughly, 18 hours sleep. And I still got more than the Director. This all seems familiar, somehow.

Before anything else, here is the (alphabetical) credit list of a cast and crew that worked their butts off to create 7mins of cinematic brilliance:

Tom Beard - Actor

J Bills - Editor

Paul Campion - Director/Camera Operator

Amy Galvin - Script Supervisor / Continuity

Hadyn Green - Writer

Paul McInnes - Lighting / Set

Vince Morder - Actor (Supporting)

Siobhan Murray - Actor (Supporting)

George Oliver - Sound (links updated)

Dean Packwood - PA/Runner/Computer Guru/Editting

Mike Roseingrave - Writer

Karim Sahai - On set photographer

Jennifer Scheer - Producer

Jessica Smith - Actress (updated)

Roxanne Sutherland-Valentine - Production, Actor (Supporting)

Che Tibby - Music Superviser/PA/Runner

Every single one of these people are brilliant. We all kept spirits high, at no point did anyone crack.

From left: George, Jess (in shower), Tom
photo by K. Sahai - www.karimsahai.com
Four coffees in.

Just a quick note: I've got a nice playlist going through my iPod, but I'm gonna have to change it because Fiona Apple's going to lull me to sleep and then I'll get fired....hmmm....ahh, Linkin Park, that'll do it!

Five coffees, one orange juice, one steak & cheese pie.

So what were you doing at 4.30am Saturday morning? I was walking home (in the rain) after having just finished writing a script. It's amazing the dialogue that you can come up with at that time of the morning. Last year it was:
"Is that dog wearing a bra?"

This year it was
"What kind of man are you?"
"Well I do own a lot of kitchen utensils"

From these script excerpts you can probably guess that last year we wrote a musical and that this year our assigned genre was "Based on a True Story".

Paul "fearless leader" Campion answered the phone at 7.11pm on Friday night. Our producer, Jenn "fearless leader" Scheer (people are allowed the same nickname), had just left the Embassy theatre and was calling through with the information on what had to be in our film. We had already recieved the elements through a live start on Campbell:Live (thanks Jackie Brown)
Character: Robin/Robyn Slade - an eternal optimist
Line of dialogue: That's what I'm talking about
Object: a mirror
All three of which were better than last year's.

Last year we sat around for what seemed like a lifetime before actually starting. This year Mike and I both had laptops (I borrowed mine from Paul) and after an hour we blasted into it. Jenn was wonderfully keeping people away from us when we needed to get our heads down and letting people through when we needed inspiration. Paul would read our drafts and rip them to pieces (which sounds horrible but is exactly what you need) and we would make the necessary changes.

We had a first draft by about 2am (Saturday) and then it was sweating the details. Piffling little things like, the ending. The best part though was having the script blocked out by 10pm (Friday), the outline done by about 11pm and then it was just dialogue, baby!

Saturday was going pretty well. We were losing the light but it didn't end up being too big a deal in the end. The script also required our actors to be handcuffed together and for them to walk down Cuba St. This was fine until the keys went missing. This is ironic (or perhaps apt) because our genre was "Based on a True Story". Life imitating art imitating life.

From left: Jess, Tom, unknown passersby [note the halo matches the cuffs]
photo by K. Sahai - www.karimsahai.com
Six coffees etc etc.

Sunday offered the greatest drama. Everyone was around at J's house. His dog Charlie was entertaining us, as only a small dog with ADD can. It was 5pm and Rox showed up to take our first cut down to the Embassy as a back-up incase something went wrong later.

We were cruising.

Jenn went in to tell the editors to output the tape. She came back and said "there's a problem". The movie wasn't rendering. From what I understand of it (which isn't much), rendering is turning the seperate pieces of footage and sound, that you have editted together, into one smooth movie which can be put onto a tape.

UPDATE: Paul has been in touch with a better explanation:
Rendering to tape - basically getting the film from the computer onto the tape that we hand in. The whole weekends work rests on this seemingly very simple process. Get it from the computer, onto the tape. That's it. And itwasn't working. At all.
The intensity in the room suddenly got cranked to 11.

Mike and I hid behind the couch where we would be out of everybody's way. With every second the mood got darker and darker. Jenn was banned from the editting suite at one point. Then Mike and Che were sent to Paul's house to get the manual for our hired camera. When they returned Che went into the suite to hand over the manual. As he opened the door he was shouted at "GET OUT!" He dropped the book and ran.

Then, like magic, the mood lightened and Paul emerged and handed a tape to Rox who zoomed off with Che in her giant 4WD. The time was 6pm. The guys in the edit suite now had half an hour to finish the last smoothing out, add voice-dubbing and letterbox the sucker. The only thing they didn't get to do was the voice dubbing. It didn't matter.

The second tape left at 6.45 with George and Paul in George's (very fast, vroom vroom) Mitsubishi GTO. Following were Mike, Jess and Karim who wanted to get there before the others in order to document the hand over.

From left: Jenn, Paul (looking frantic as seconds tick by)
photo by K. Sahai - www.karimsahai.com

UPDATE: I got a few things wrong in this story and Jenn snapped me.
  1. Jenn handed the tape off to Rox and sent her off
  2. Paul, Jenn, and Karim hit the road..George and Jess followed in pursuit .. as the backup car if we broke down. Jenn jumped out at the embassy (see photo above) with Karim and took the tape/paperwork in .. got in line .. then Paul and Jenn handed in our team's film together ..
We who were left behind sat and waited. We made popcorn and chilled champagne for our team's triumphant return.

At 7.09pm Sunday evening Amy recieved a text message. "Tape in. Seven minutes to spare". SEVEN MINUTES!!! do you know how much editting J could've done in seven minutes!!!

Its all over!
From left: Che, Rox, (an obscured person who could be Paul), George, Mike (on floor)
photo by K. Sahai - www.karimsahai.com

When the couriers returned we popped the bubbly and sat in J's screening room and watched our finished product. It looks good. We are very very happy with it. And in the end we were all still friends and were all still laughing (credit to Jenn). This to me is the sign of a well-made successful 48hour film.

Coffee consuption halted for health reasons (so much caffiene I can see through time!) 3.15pm, Monday.

Finally, ours may be one of the more blogged films in this year's comp. As noted above, Che Tibby of Public Address was our Music supervisor, Gopher, Gaffer, Clapper, PA, Caterer. His original role was going to be Pantyhose Monster so I think he was just happy about that. Tom from WellUrban was our leading man and me and Mike were obviously there as well.

Here are some other 48hour blogs (from this thread on the forums):
Happy Face Films
Fractured Radius & here

Over the next couple of days I'll probably add to this a little with other posts as my brain slowly regains its focus. Though I feel like I'm coming down with a cold now. Inhaling all of that smoke machine "smoke" didn't help though. Oh, yeah I forgot, we had a smoke machine too!


i8bozo said...

viva the 'hand porn' !!
well done everyone. looking forward to the next one.

jbills said...

amen, brother!

one of the funnest 48 hour periods I've ever had, fo' sho'.

mike said...

I've done three now, and that was the best yet! Thanks everyone for such a fantastic weekend. And, yeah George, looking forward to the next one!! Woo-hoo!

Dean Packwood said...

Yeah it was a blast!
Thanks for having me on the team, I learned a lot. Can't wait for the next one ;)

Tom said...

Oh, you had to post a photo of that scene, didn't you!?! Stooping to toilet humour again, Hadyn: that's you all over.

(very in joke)

Jenn said...

You all Rule!

That was the best time. Thanks to everyone for making it such a great experience ..

Till next year .. !!!