Here is the short film we entered into the 2017 48 Hour Film Project competition in Denver:
The competition took place from August 4-6, 2017. With lasagna on the stove, pens and paper at the ready, and gorgeous weather, we were ready for kickoff on Friday and for the creativity to flow. Our specifics were:
Character: Truman or Tessa Duda
Line of Dialogue: “Hey, what’s that over there?” or “Hey, what is that over there?”
Prop: Record (music)
Genre: Drama OR Fable
After an hour of brainstorming, Jess and Brett took a first cut at the script. Eight pages. Too long. We made a bunch of changes. Seven pages. Still too long. We read it through with the team and hit six pages. Good enough!
Next up, script printing, get props, prep cameras, scout a location, wake up Curly, and load up the trucks. Are we forgetting anything? Oh, yeah, sleep!
We shot this just enough in the middle of nowhere to get the scenery we wanted, but not quite enough to avoid cars driving through our location all day long. Of course we didn’t realize this until later in the day and didn’t want to move locations.
We worked through the morning setting up the dolly and the shot. “Car!” (pause) “Game on!” Two hours later, the dolly was too rough on the road surface, so we switched to “Nicolas,” the camera’s cage mount. Hand held it is! Then the filter fell off the lens. Then the batteries ran out. “Car!” (pause) “Game on!” Swap memory card with the editor. “Why is the reflector in the shot?”
Then, the lens was right. The angle was good. The actors got into the emotions. Riley (the dog) sat still in the truck. Audio was clear. Things hummed along from take to take. We were rolling!
But shortly after that, the afternoon storm kicked up. We went from bright sun to dark clouds to rain, to winds strong enough to pretzel the frame to our easy-up shade. Hot and sweaty became cold and shivering. We even added a line to our film about how fast the storm came up.
By the time we broke for dinner, the sun was setting. After a run to Wendy’s, night shots were done near where the day shots happened. We wrapped by 11:30 PM, and everyone was home by 12:30 AM.
Brett pressed on the edit until about 4 AM. What was he forgetting? Oh, yeah, sleep! Three hours it is.
On Sunday we pulled together credits, sound effects, music, and our traditional Chinese food. Jess, Brett, and Gary cycled through watching the rough and making changes until time grew short. Done enough. The computer guessed the render would take 15 minutes. When it hit 20 minutes with 15 to go, we white-knuckled the rest of the way. Two copies later, we drove to the Skylark Lounge drop-off, making it with five minutes to spare! “Excellent. Let’s drink!”
For the premiere, we were in section C with nine other teams. Here’s a shot of the ballot:
For our group, a lot of teams leaned toward comedy, regardless of the genre drawn. One team filmed a musical where their genre was slapstick because their team was stacked with musical folks, and they knew going into the weekend that they would be doing musical.
Though Broken Down had some lighthearted moments in it that did get a laugh from the audience, from the opening shot, it was a Drama. The main character in particular had an emotional journey throughout the film that we’ve come to call her “origin story.” We want to see what happens next! At one point during the screening, someone behind us let out an, “oh, shit” when something happened that he didn’t see coming. That was awesome to hear!
All in all, it was pretty well received. We wanted to make a contender, and we’re proud of what we created together.