Photos by Brent Turner - BLT Productions
With the production company I partnered with, 3 Grunts Productions, we survived 48 hours together and cranked out a nice little film. I will say this 48 contest has been the most relaxed set I've been on. We were only about an hour behind schedule the whole time but we took hard breaks for lunch and in between production moves. My goal was to go in with a huge collaborative mindset this time around. I had a lot of folks drop out on me but I also gained a lot of the right people.
cowriter and I sat at HQ while the two producers went to the movie theater to draw our genre. We sat at the table anxiously waiting for the call. The phone finally rang and the genre was... DRAMA. My cowriter was hoping for at least comedy. I turned to her and said, "Drama is perfect." Comedy is drama, drama is comedy. I personally think I excel at dramatic stories. Life is hard, let's capture a glimpse of that. So we tossed around a couple of ideas, nothing really stuck that was simple and compelling at the same time. My goal was a simple story, well told. After taking a step back and looking at our stable of available actors, I wanted to use them all (which we did!), coupled with the locations we were locked to, a really cool story emerged. From a directing standpoint, I wanted to try something different as it relates to style (save that for a different blog post). So we beat out the story points together and the cowriter (she should be called the head writer at this point) wrote the lion's share of the script, kudos to her. Every so often she'd grab me while I was solidifying our actors and we'd agree or disagree on the story points but eventually came to a consensus. I'd take that section and start on a shot list. (Which I got all my shots in the can on Saturday, no reshoots) There were a couple of set backs: A crucial actor dropped out and we couldn't find a replacement so there was a significant rewrite. Rather, I told the head writer, I'm pretty sure we won't get a replacement by morning so go ahead and rewrite that part now - Always looking FORWARD, always problem solving. A key prop was not available to us given the short time frame despite the hard work of our wonderful production manager. But we pressed, always be FLEXIBLE. We had a finished script by 9 pm and sent out the call sheets to the cast and crew. COMMUNICATION is crucial. Your folks need to know what's going on. They may not need to know the minutiae of every trivial detail but you need to communicate the goals, the schedule, what happens next, etc. Anyway, I think I went to bed after finishing the shot list at around 2 am.
Fast forward to 5 pm, the crew saw the final version. There were laughs, smiles and tears. So I promptly exported that sucker. We all ate a leisurely dinner and packed up the equipment. Took a nice group photo and around 6:30 pm we left to turn in the final files. At 7:05 we strolled into the movie theater and turned in 25 min before the deadline.
Below is the final film.
"Homecoming" - Three stories converge on Thanksgiving Day.