Quick note before we get started: “Crossed Wires” is the name of our latest short film. It has nothing to do with missed connections, unintentional arguments, or getting lost.

Over the weekend, team No Zombies Productions finished the first 48 Hour Film practice of 2017. It was one of our most ambitious projects to date.

Eight non-zombies took part. Familiar faces included Jess and Brett, of course. Gary and Stephanie also joined in. Reuniting on-screen were Heather and Ron. And for this practice we added Chase and Rafael.

This was Chase’s first time as DoP and he did a fantastic job, working well with director Jess from the moment the script was ready to go all the way through Saturday night.

Rafael stepped into the role of “marketing hologram” in the film as well as android guard. With a strong performance and good ideas including the title of the film, he was a welcome addition to the team.

The specifics we got this time around were:

  • Name: Devon or Dottie Isenberg
  • Profession: Home Economics Teacher
  • Prop: A wastebasket
  • Line of dialogue: “I have a poll you can take.”
  • Genre(s): Sci Fi OR Detective/Cop

We threw around a wide variety of ideas in the brainstorming, but ultimately settled on a combination of given both genres. This was not a stretch, though – the story fit well with both. Before going too far, though, here is the film:

We used a new communication tool this time: Marco Polo. This is a video group-chat walkie-talkie app that I think we will be using for each of our future projects. It’s not the be-all-end-all communication app, but what it does, it does very well, and in a fun way.

“Can anyone pick up hair gel?”

“I’m at the store. I got it”

Boom. Done.

“This is what the view looks like from where the camera will be.” Shared with everyone, just like that.

We pulled the specifics Friday at 7:00, as usual. At 8:01, we had a plan for where we were going to meet on Saturday to begin filming. The rough script was shared out at 9:30. Semi-final script was done at 10:56, when Jess and Chase began working on the shot list and handing out who was in which role. The final script was done, everyone sent home, and we were in bed at 1:30 Saturday morning.

On Saturday, we gathered in the office building between 8:00 and 9:35. We had some organization challenges, some burritos, and started filming about 10:10 with the overhead angles.

Between then and about 5:00, we had one or two units filming various scenes and coverage. It worked well having multiple cameras, and being able to split off a group to get coverage of things from other areas. Then at 5:00, Brett and Gary headed out to begin editing the footage gathered to that point. The rest of the group kept going until about 8:45, when they loaded up and headed out.

On Sunday, the initial rough was done around 10:30, but with a lot more to do since we were trying to tackle some visual effects. Then came the challenge of what the title should be: “Inhumane” “Upgrade Interrupted” “Robot Interrupted” “Interrupt” “I Gattaca” “You’ve Got Male Robot Stalking You” “Crossed Wires” “Exposed Wires” “Exposed” “The Knitting Game” “Runaway Human” Obviously we went with Crossed Wires, though as an afterthought it might have been a more Shakespearean “Star Crossed Wires.”

Editing collaboration increased as the day wore on until all three editors were side-by-side at 5:30. Time grew shorter and shorter. We completed the final integration of all the sequences and effects, did a final review pass, and began rendering at 7:10 PM. If this were a competition, that would obviously be too late to get the film in on time. Optimally we would want this underway no later than 6:30 to have enough time to render, copy, and drive in to the drop-off location. The render finished and the video uploaded to YouTube at 7:45 – 15 minutes past the deadline.


This was an ambitious project, as well as our first practice of the year. It’s the first time we included After Effects comps and some other new tricks we learned along the way. All three editors, at some point during the day, sat watching tutorials on how to do some kind of edit or effect. We worked together well as a team, and have continued to improve.