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Old July 2nd, 2004, 02:15 PM   #1
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Instant film advice

We plan to enter one of those "48 hour" film competitions at the end of the month. Anyone have any advice on how to prepare? I've never done one of these. We've already lined actors we feel we can rely on. Is there anything I should watch out for?
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Old July 2nd, 2004, 02:46 PM   #2
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I did one of these awhile ago. Lots of fun!

It's a very good idea to have actors on call, which I see you've done. Hopefully you have a good variety of them so you can get whatever you need within a phone call.

Along the same vein, knowing where you can easily film is good too. People's houses are always available, but see if you can get any stores. Our film called for a mattress store, and we actually got the green light from two of them - and from cold-calling them at 9m on Friday for shooting on Saturday, too - which was nice. But we were just lucky.

Make sure your group knows their jobs. You should establish this before you get your package or whatever you're given to start the contest. Divide the jobs up into writer, director, editor etc. so that there's no lost time arguing over it on set.

START EDITING AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE! Even though I'm no stranger to editing, I underestimated how long it would actually take for our film. We had two editors go and start at 10pm on Saturday while we were still filming. We edited all day Sunday, and were finished with 7 minutes to spare before the deadline hit after having a headache with the exporting process. That's another thing: make sure all your equipment's in good working order. You don't want to get caught in the rain with no time to spare!

Good luck and have fun! When you're done all this, you'll look back and wonder how it takes Hollywood 6 months to make something markedly worse ;)
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Old July 3rd, 2004, 12:02 PM   #3
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Sound advice from Alex.

Some of the other things I stress to Instant Films directors before the weekend:

Make sure you have the audio side covered. Shotgun/boom and/or wireless mikes are critical to getting clean sound that assures your film will be intelligible; there's not much time for ADR. And leave time for a sound mix at the end of the edit.

Plan the shoot day carefully in terms of day/night scenes. Don't leave the day exterior work until late in the day.

Try to have as many postproduction elements designed/built/located during the shoot day as possible, i.e. graphics, titles, credits, sound elements etc. This will save time in the edit.

I'm rather honored to see our festival become a generic name like Kleenex! I do feel compelled to point out that Instant Films actually has a different construction than most 48 hr festivals in that the writer, director and actors are randomly assembled (and the directors don't see the script until after the writers have finished). We're at www.instantfilms.tv if anyone is interested in seeing how our version works out.

Good luck Marco, have fun! It's exhausting but a great experience.
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Old July 4th, 2004, 12:41 PM   #4
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If you have an experienced assistant who can capture and log footage for you as you go, you'll gain valuable time. Waste tape--when a scene is done, give the tape to the assistant and start another for the next scene (scene, not shot). Have the assistant log every shot with a good description as he captures the footage and organize into separate bins with labeling you understand. That way when it's time to edit, everything except your very last scene will be there and waiting for you. If you have an experienced editor working with you, he could even do a rough stringout as you go, leaving holes for things shot out of sequene.
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Old July 4th, 2004, 01:48 PM   #5
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Yes indeed. My editor shows up in the late afternoon on shoot day and starts capturing the first tape, then we do the tape switch as Bill describes. By the time we've wrapped, he's usually got most of the first assembly done.
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Old July 5th, 2004, 07:24 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone, and especially Charles!
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