We just got this email from Kristen Nolan with some great advice. Have a look!

Hello No Zombies–

Here are some time-tested tips for making a better 48HFP film. This is the good stuff! Please read them, and forward them to your team.

1. Plan well. Set a schedule and stick to it as best you can. Remember: 15% of all teams do not make the deadline. Output the video from your computer–whatever shape it’s in–at 3pm on Sunday. This will be your backup. You can always send a teammate with your media to arrive before the deadline. Give yourself plenty of time for outputting the final video and getting the film to the drop-off location. Last minute glitches have caused teams to be late. And, one second late is still late.

REMEMBER: Check the audio and video on the tape to make sure that you’ve got both.

2. Test your equipment ahead of time. Make sure everything works. Prior to the official film weekend, output a “sample” film to one of the accepted forms of media in your city to make sure that your process is seamless.

3. Prepare your final tape. Make sure you have the correct media, and enough for a backup copy (a blank DVD or a USB drive). The first thing your editor should do is lay down:
– 5 seconds of black
– a title card with: team name, title, genre, city, date
– the animation found at http://www.48hourfilm.com/slate
a title card with:
“This film was made for the 48 Hour Film Project 2015.
– 2 seconds black…and then…

4. AVOID GUNS. Most importantly, we want you to live through the weekend. In two of our cities, the 48HFP almost turned into a tragedy, when teams with cast members carrying guns were surrounded by police officers with their guns drawn. No 48HFP film, or any film for that matter, is worth risking life and limb. We recommend not using guns at all in your shoots. If you do use guns, you should follow all safety precautions and get the proper permits for having guns in your shoot.

5. Sound problems are the most common technical problem. Here’s our advice:
a. Find someone who knows how to do sound.
b. Test your sound gear with your camera and editing system in advance.
c. Make sure you have good audio levels on your final tape.
We get 1-2 tapes in each city with NO SOUND!
Test your tapes before you turn them in!

6. Do as much as you can ahead of time–but this only includes securing equipment, team members, and locations. Also buy and prep any food for your cast and crew. (Some teams have been able to get restaurants to donate a meal.)

7. Make sure you have the required prop, character, and the line of dialogue in your film. The line must be verbatim. Teams have been disqualified for missing a word. Appoint a script supervisor–someone to make sure you get all the shots and lines you need. When you shoot out of order and under pressure, it’s easy to drop things!

8. Keep your film as short and simple as possible. Save yourself some time and complications by limiting the number of locations. Some of our best films have been shot in only 1 or 2 locations. Also, keep it short! Most teams err by using the entire 7 minutes when they could have told their story in less time.

9. Begin editing early during the film weekend. While you shoot, have a runner take completed tapes to the editor, who can start digitizing and putting together a rough cut.

10. Have fun, but be safe. We’re big advocates of safe everything, especially safe filmmaking. The 48 Hour Film Project is an exciting, fun competition. However, it’s not worth risking life, injury, or property. As team leader, you must ensure the safety of each person on your team–whether on the set or on the drive to the Dropoff. It’s better to be late but safe than to have an accident on the way to dropping off your film.

11. Spread the word about the screenings. This is the chance for your colleagues, friends, and family to see your film on the big screen. (We’ll have your screening groups to you soon.)


Kristin Nolan
Denver Producer
48 Hour Film Project