The Script Machine

What an incredible weekend it’s been, and it’s only going to get more exciting as the days and months go on!

For those that don’t know us – for the past three years we have entered into the 48 Hour Film Project competition in Melbourne. We absolutely love it – because it forces you to “bash out” a film over a weekend, with no excuses. You can’t delay things, you can’t reschedule, you just need to make it happen – which is what we’re really all about.

The incredible Mr. Thom Holt originally introduced us to the competition, wanting to team up to create what would become, Handle With Care. Thom’s team actually won the International Competition the year before, so although we didn’t quite match their track record, we were still fortunate enough to win Best Script and Best Character at the Melbourne awards. It was an amazingly fun weekend. Thom, Nick and the cast wrote up a script on the Friday night, then we shot it on Saturday and edited on Saturday night and Sunday morning. Although the pressure was intense (we were exporting in the car on the way to the Federation Square drop-off point!) – it was such an enjoyable experience, and we certainly learnt a lot from the whole process. We had a small crew, shot on a HVX, and just made the most of what we had. I’m incredibly proud of our little film – but we all knew we could create something even more magical if we put more prep work in.

The next year, we decided to step it up a notch, and enlisted a much bigger cast and crew of people we’ve worked with lots of times before. When we received the genre of thriller/suspense, Nick and Thom made a judgement call to shoot at my parents property in the Dandenong Ranges at night, because we could make it look dark and scary, and they would come up with a script on the one hour car ride there. Luckily for us, they came up with some really good ideas, and when they arrived at Olinda, they pitched their ideas to the cast, and let them start thinking about dialogue and blocking. Like the previous year, it was very much run and gun, and “make it up as you go along” – but this time we had a much bigger crew, and more gear to throw at problems. We shot all night Friday night, all day Saturday, and then started post production on Saturday night. This time we shot on a Canon 1D MK4 with beautiful Compact prime lenses. All the hard work certainly paid off, as we won Best Directing, Best Sound Design, Best Musical Score and Best Overall Film, which allowed us to head over to Miami for the International competition.

Going to Miami was an absolute highlight – as not only did we get to watch our film up there on the big screen, but we got to really experience what a big International Film Festival has to offer. Although we didn’t come close to winning the International Competition – we discovered just how good the competition was.

And so, this year, we decided to throw everything we had at the comp! We called up everyone we normally work with, and told them that we were going to shoot something bold and almost impossible. We rounded up car rigs, underwater cameras, dolly’s, jib’s, smoke machines – everything we could get our hands on (even a Muppet). Instead of shooting on a Digital SLR, we decided to shoot on a RED ONE MX. Although you can’t write a script before the weekend of craziness – we did as much prep work as we possibly could. We went location scouting, and tried to find as many different options as possible, so that regardless of what genre we were given, or what the character was – we would have options. We even organised a old car, that we were planning to blow up (which unfortunately we never were able to – as we just didn’t have the time to do it safely).

The shoot was epic to say the least. Multiple locations, lots of actors, a huge amount of complex setups, special effects make-up, underwater rigs, car mounts – even a horse (which as you can guess, decided it didn’t really want to be filmed, and got quite upset when we pointed a camera at his direction).

Post Production was equally insane – as we had massive 4K files to process, and a handful of visual effects shots that needed to be completed.

However – we made it, and although the film is absolutely insane – the judges must have been on our wavelength, as we picked up an unprecedented amount of awards – Best Script, Best Director, Best Sound Design, Best Editing and Best Overall Film. To be completely honest – we never expected this to happen. We knew we were doing something big, something to push all boundaries – but we never though the concept was good enough to push us across the line. You can throw as many tricks at a film – but without a good story, it’s nothing. Luckily for us – it seems the judges though our script wasn’t too shabby after all.

Although there have been some amazing films over the last two years in the competition – this year was a certain standout. The top twelve films were all fantastic. Although there were one or two I didn’t like – I can’t argue that they didn’t have been fixed to the big screen. Each and every film DEMANDED your attention. Personally, “Gore Street” and “Like Me” (the two films that opened the awards night) were my favourites, and it’s such an honor to be up against such tough competition.

And now.. we need to start planning to head to New Mexico for the International Competition, which is very exciting!

However, that’s not all that’s happening. As you would have noticed, we have just re-vamped our website. This is our first major overhaul since we set up the site many years ago – and we still have a lot to do on it, but by putting the blog and main site on the one easy to navigate place, we think you’ll find it a lot better.

And… in a few hours I need to head across to the opening night of the SPAA Conference. I was lucky enough to obtain a “Emerging Producers” grant to attend the festival, which is very exciting.

So, as usual – it’s all happening at LateNite HQ! Now that we have restructured the layout of the website, we will be in a much better position to post more detailed blogs and news – so definitely stay tuned for updates.

Onwards & Upwards!

Best Regards, Chris!

2 Responses

  1. Emily
    Dec 07, 2011 - 10:36 PM

    Awesome result!! Congratulations!! Where can we see the film?

    • Chris Hocking
      Dec 07, 2011 - 10:47 PM

      The Script Machine will be competing in the International Competition in New Mexico next March. If it gets into the top ten, then it will go to Cannes which is pretty exciting.

      Unfortunately we cannot publicly release the film until after these competitions.


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