105 Ways to Give a Book

“You Pay Your Dues”

You Pay Your DuesWhew! I was going to post yesterday about our movie-making experience with the 48 Hour Film Project, but I was too tired to successfully string words together. Here’s how it went.

My husband, Bill, went to the kick-off event and drew our genre literally out of a hat. The required elements were given out to the hundred participating teams. And we were off.

Bill and I talked about our genre, “detective/cop,” and what he wanted to do with it. I wasn’t surprised when he wanted to go for a film noir feel. But I was a bit scared. We tossed around a few basic concepts, including placing some actors in the roles, and then called author and blogger Robin Brande.

Our call was the briefest of hellos — no small talk for this chick — and down to business. We told Robin our genre (she groaned) and the required elements. (The character: Roosevelt or Rosie Adams, President; The prop: A bracelet; The line: “That’s what I’m talking about.”) We talked about some things we’d been thinking in terms of style, actors, and settings. She said, basically, “Okay, I’ll call you back in an hour.”

After we hung up, Bill and I didn’t know what to do with ourselves. We’ve always had to help the writer brainstorm or actually write it ourselves. This... this... freedom was a little unnerving. We did have to make some calls, coordinate some logistics and such, but having time to do it was just... wild.

Robin checked in with the script, and she was right on track so she kept on going. We got a full script about 10:30, and we loved it. LOVED IT! Very sharp, very creative, very witty. We needed to make a couple of changes to keep with the locations we had, so she retooled that and we had an absolutely amazing script by midnight. A new record for us. Bill and I talked about the film schedule, costuming, call times, and needed props. Bill sent out an email to the team, and we went to bed.

We had the crew meet at our house at 8:00, but it was more like 9:00 when we had everyone we needed. We decided to film an office scene at my in-laws’ home. The set dressing and camera set-up took much longer than we thought, so we really didn’t start filming until 10:30. Not a stellar beginning. We were also filming some of the harder scenes, which also made it difficult.

But we’ve got great people on our team, and got through those scenes before a late lunch at 2:00. The crew took turns eating and setting up for the living room scene, which we also did at my in-laws’ house (they had taken the kids to the zoo by now). I ran the actors through their lines while the crew worked on lighting, and then Bill came in to direct that scene.

We left the house by 4:00 to do scenes closer to my home. My friend provided the front of her house when one of my locations fell through, and we did a few things there. Then we used the front of my house for a long scene involving five actors and finished just before it got dark. It was supposed to be a gardening scene, but since it was cold and lightly raining, we had to make some adjustments.

We sent home most of the team, and went inside to do voice-overs until about 10:00. It was a more leisurely session, though, involving pizza and joking. When the rest of the team went home, we sent our composer some music ideas and then went to bed.

Sunday was reserved for editing the film together, doing color and audio correction, adding the music and credits, putting in the title, and probably ten other things I don’t even know. This was mostly Bill’s show, with me there for moral support and to lend another set of eyes and ears to the film. We dumped out a backup tape at 5:30, so we’d have something, and Bill worked until 6:45. We arrived at the drop-off location a whole five minutes early, and turned in the final product.

I think you know a film is great when you’ve watched the same scene twenty times in editing, and it still cracks you up. That’s the case. The script was wonderful, we have some knock-out performances, and interesting camera work. We’re very happy with the results.

Our screening is this Thursday (Group F, 9:30 p.m.), and after that the film it will available online at our website. Let’s hope it’s a winner. The title for our film — involving a hardened detective, a sultry lady, a homeowners’ association, and self-help books — is You Pay Your Dues.


Vivian Mahoney said...

I am so impressed with everything your team accomplished over the weekend. I can't wait to see this film. Get some rest.

Jennifer Schultz said...

Sounds fantastic! Looking forward to seeing the film. Good luck!

Robin Brande said...

Mother Reader, I love reading about how things were at your end. Sounds exhausting, but also like such a blast. I wish so much I lived in your part of the world so I could have seen the whole thing unfold. Can't wait to watch the finished product!

Erin said...

That sounds like a blast!

Kelly said...

I can't wait to see it!!

Mary Lee said...

Sounds great! Can't wait to see it!

Anonymous said...

That is so cool. I loved last years'... am looking forward to this one. Wish I could have been a part of it.. my house front was available! ;)