Every year, the LateNite Films team competes in the 48 Hour Film Project. As a documentary filmmaker, if I’m in the country, I’ve always helped out in whatever way I can, as an editor, AD or simply carrying heavy boxes up stairs.
I LOVE the experience of it all. It’s basically one intense shitstorm of creativity and problem solving that brings together some of my all time favourite people in Melbourne. The concept, (as I presume most people reading this are already aware of) is that you have 48 hours to make a film.
The way it works is pretty simple: On the Friday night, you are assigned a character, a prop, a line of dialogue and a genre, that must be included in the movie. 48 hours later, you must submit your 4-7minute length film.
All writing, shooting, editing and scoring must be completed in just 48 hours – although how much time you allocate to each activity is totally up to you. Some people shoot the entire film on the Friday night, and spend all weekend in post. Others shoot right up until the deadline, with the poor editor manicly throwing things together in a race against the clock.
It’s a HUGE festival, and this year over 120 cities participated with more than 60,000 people. That’s a WHOLE lot of crazy filmmakers. That community is what gets me so inspired. A reminder that it’s not JUST us that are crazy – there are plenty of others out there that are willing to give up their “weekend” for a torturous challenge.
So, as you can imagine, when I left Melbourne to be based in Singapore, I was devastated when the reality struck that I probably wouldn’t be taking part in the big event as often. When LateNite made their film Wrong Way Right this year – I was affected by massive FOMO. (Fear of Missing out).
Singapore has an amazing filmmaking culture – and has also been one of the cities taking part in the competition since 2008. Not only that, there are many other competitions like the Cathay Motion Picture Awards trying to promote the same community and concept.
Since being based here doing Documentaries, I have met a fair share of indie filmmakers. One of which, Abi (co-founder of The Film Guys) worked with me to start the #FilmBeers community. Abi and I both love indie film – and we wanted to see more filmmakers in Singapore unite.
We had played with the idea of doing the 48HFP but didn’t really know who else would be crazy enough to join us. Everyone is SUPER busy, and the best filmmakers I knew were off travelling the world or busy on feature films. Obviously, I still hadn’t met my true “indie filmmaking family” yet.
That was until I met Ed.
Ed Cryer is one of those unique people you meet once and get super excited about working with. He has a similar production style – generally shooting solo with a small kit and editing in crazy turn arounds. The bonus is, he loves making videos so much he spends most of his spare time doing so.
Now. Ed, Abi and I are all ridiculously busy at the moment. We had so many deadlines last week, that we decided that we would be unable to do the 48HFP and instead meet up over dinner to catch up. Well, that plan backfired and dinner turned into a “HELL YES CAN’T WAIT FOR THE 48HFP!”
And that’s how it happened.
With Abi, Ed and I locked in – we made a call out to willing volunteers. Great friend of mine Richard Korff (from Creative Mornings) was the first to put his hand up and together we went to the Friday Night briefing and announcement.
Abi made it up on stage to collect our Genre: Film De Femme.
…and then the prop, character and line of dialogue (“I did not come here to do this”) was announced.
We began the brain storming right away. As our Genre was Film De Femme – so I started by trying to build a strong female character idea…
…and slowly the storyline starting coming together. Film De Femme + Simone Star (Spy) + Cabbage. Essentially: we wanted to create a story about a strong female “spy” character – who is kick-ass in her daily job, however, is held back in the domestic home (using cabbage as a tool i.e. “coming home to chop the cabbage” so to speak).
With that idea – things went a little crazy when Ed threw in the idea – What if she was PREGNANT !?
We all jumped on this – what a contrast!? A kicks spy movie.. about a women who just found out she was pregnant! Interesting concept. And, to add some comic humour, what if is she was pregnant with her male side-kick from a one night stand… ??? And so the brainstorming continued…
…with only a minor distraction when the new Star Wars trailer was released.
By about 3am we split up to prepare – I went home and began the casting call, locking in the most powerful “film de femme” character I could find – Yasmine Khater. She was the star in my first Tour De Timor Documentary – so I figured any women who can accomplish the Tour De Timor could definitely pull this off! Then I roped in two more friends who I thought would make great Cast, Kimble & Mary, who started helping us to refine the dialog.
By Saturday morning, we began location scouting for some epic “Film De Femme” scenes…
…while Ed and the cast continued refining the script.
By Saturday afternoon – roughly 3pm – we began filming. I was getting super nervous, as I knew I would be cutting it together, and I wouldn’t have much time. At all.
But luckily – the shoot was pretty smooth. And by smooth, I mean completely improvised and manic.
We had been shooting mostly in my apartment carpark and then rooftop – which was going smoothly, until we started to loose daylight and the security guards were getting almighty suspicious with our miraculously realistic water pistols.
By midnight on Saturday – we needed to make a decision. We need a new location – somewhere with no restrictions. We needed the HUB.
We shifted our gear, set up the editing desk, and started shooting. This is when things got totally chaotic, and tiredness set in, and the scenes started to become ridiculously entertaining to create.
By about 5 am we had finally finished filming, and I could begin editing. Due to audio issues in the carpark – we actually did a lot of dialog as ADR also. All this post would need to be completed in less than 12 hours! And daylight was creeping in!
I edited everyone on FCPX – which is now the only NLE I use. I absolutely love the workflow and for the 48HFP I couldn’t imagine using anything else. It was super smooth to bring in all the footage from the Canon C100 and 5DMIII – and I did a generic grade and audio analaysis automatically to kickstart.
It was such a ridiculous film to cut together – a lot of stupid fun and laughs. I actually ended up editing the whole night through, pulling in hundreds of sounds and music bites from the Envato library.
Richard stayed up with me practically the whole night, helping me come up with awesome ideas and solving problems with the story. His choice of elevator music was especially gold. One of the key problems we had though, was due to the fact we ran out of time – and so the story escalated VERY quickly. Which made us laugh.
And so – we decided instead of trying to “fix” it – we’d run with it. And hence came up with the title of our little film:
Everything after that was hilarious – we went “all out” on ridiculous sound effects to maximise laughs and entertainment value. We picked out funny songs and sounds and put nice long awkward pauses in the middle.
Then – we hit “SHARE” and made our way to the finish line.
Thank you so much to all our friends who were crazy enough to join us on the ride. I think what I love most about this competition, is the same thing that I love about filmmaking in general – the film family you find along the way. I’m so happy that I finally feel like I have found my like-minded indie-filmmaking friends here and can’t wait to see what we create in the future together.
Bring on 2015.