Going back to our “Team BJ” roots, Jessica and Brett entered into the Cinema 2880 film competition as a two-person team. The event took place October 9-11, 2015. 2880? Yeah, that’s the number of minutes in 48 hours. They’re similar to 48 Hour Film in that you have 48 hours to write, shoot, edit, and score a short film. If you haven’t seen it yet, here you go. We’ll talk about it after.
We decided going into this that we weren’t going to be all stressed out about the time limits, and that we wouldn’t spend a lot on props and such to make the film. The specifics we had to deal with were as follows:
- Must include the theme of a challenge only becomes an obstacle when you bow to it
- Teen drama genre
- A character who always talks in a monotone voice
- A garden rake
- A parking lot
- The line of dialogue, “Many times I’d felt alone, but until this afternoon, I’d never felt completely lonely.”
- Length must be between 5 and 6 minutes including credits
We demonstrated the theme by the contrast between the two main characters. For example, where Eddie was daunted by an open door, Roger celebrated the freedom to explore.
Teen drama genre is actually how we ended up featuring the cats. We considered several options that wouldn’t require us to try to pass ourselves off as teenagers, since we’re not, and thought trying would look ridiculous. We considered demonic possession, aliens that age differently, angels, and other ideas that I’ve since erased off the white board we use for brainstorming.
Once we decided on using the cats, we got a good night’s sleep, and started following the cats around with the camera in the morning. They cooperated with our plans well, though we had to change our ultimate story from one of escape to one of acceptance of the new kitty. By early afternoon, we had plenty of footage – at least 2 1/2 hours – to begin shaping into something. We found some music to accompany it, and put the rough cut together in short order. We even changed our traditional Chinese food “editing” meal from Sunday to Saturday!
The first rough came in at 4 minutes 44 seconds long. Rather than tighten up our scenes, we actually had to add more content. Jessica re-shot one scene, which we added instead of replacing a scene, and we cleaned up a few others. Adding titles on the front and credits on the back brought us to 5 minutes 3 seconds. Perfect!
On Sunday, we began the rendering process, which of course gave us problems. For some reason, Adobe Media Encoder was not allowing me to export. I gave up on that after a couple tries and exported directly from Premiere Pro. It worked well. A quick final watching of the rendered video and it was ready to go. I sent the video to YouTube, then emailed our submission a full hour before the deadline.
All in all, the film came together extremely well, and despite the length, we’re ecstatic with it.
After the competition weekend, I went out to YouTube to see what other submissions I could find. According to the organizers, there were originally 39 teams.
- 6 Pro teams, where at least one participant makes at least 50% of their income as a media professional
- 10 Student teams, where all participants are high school students or younger
- 23 Amateur teams, which don’t qualify as either pro or student.
We’re solidly in the amateur category. Of the 39 original teams, 26 turned in a film on time.
Here are the submissions I was able to find:
- Cita de Perra by Team Dotto
- Sweet, Sweet Love by Team . . .
- (Spy Film) by B and E Productions
- Just In Time by Premium Pairing Forever
- Now That’s What I Call Zorbleglorf by The Flim Flam Film Fans
- Wilt to Live by Deadpan LMZ
- The Silent Silver Screen by Throwback Pictures
- Feed Frankie by Team FRANKIE
- Hopeless Romantic by Team Wondertwins
- ATUE by Habitat Productions
- Can Con Survive by The Four Other Guys
- Please Save My Marriage! by Bollman Tribe
- The Princess by DAM Movies