Embers Within – 48 Hour Film Project

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Embers Within

A poet lost in his work, oblivious to the world outside.

The move out to Denver has brought about many new experiences for me. I have to say, of them all, this was one of the most fun! My friend Matt and I signed up for the 48 Hour Film Project here in Denver. I didn’t really know what to expect when we signed up, but he had done it before and said it was a blast. We talked about it for weeks at work sharing ideas and resources, and when the time came we pulled the trigger and signed up.

Here’s how it works…

On the night of the opening ceremony, each team pulls two genres out of a hat. We pulled “Suspense” and “Fish Out Of Water” (think Eddie Murphy ‘Coming To America’ or ‘Pleasantville’). We chose Suspense. THE MOMENT YOU PULL YOUR GENRE YOUR 48 HOURS STARTS!! Then they give the global rules that everyone must follow.

RULES: Your film must include…

  1. A character named Ruby Starr
  2. An overstuffed wallet
  3. One line of dialogue – “Stop copying me”.

Write, cast, shoot, edit, color, score, and complete your film. That’s the goal. Oh yeah, and make it great. Better than the competing 62 teams.

To say it was a rush would be a major understatement. We hardly slept, but had some of our grandest moments in those delusional hours. I consumed more coffee in those 48 hours than I may have all year (I normally don’t drink it). The first day was all shooting with our cast at 3 different locations. It was a race to get our indoor shots done in time before the sun set. We wrapped our first location after lunch time and were headed to our outdoor locations when it started raining. NO! We made good use of the time and fueled up on tacos while the rain passed over. When it did, we got right back to work shooting the rest of our film outdoor. We hit golden hour when the sun was setting perfectly and lighting our actors faces with a gentle, soft afternoon light. Lovely. Matt let me call the “Martini Shot” and it was a wrap!

Not for us though… Next we went back to my place and started compiling all of the footage. We made sure that it was all in order and did a rough cut of the film before calling it a very late night. Sleep was beyond needed at that point and our brains had stopped producing anything of substance.

The next morning we each woke up at our separate places and got to work with post production. Matt’s role was to color grade, and edit the film. While he was doing that, I was putting together all of the audio and coming up with a composition for the film score. When Matt arrived that afternoon with the picture lock, I was busy doing ADR (automated dialogue replacement) with our main actor for the monologue/narration that drives the film. Shoutout Jackson Maloney for the beautiful poem that was written on the spot that day. So talented!

After the ADR was finished, I was rushing to get all of the audio in place. This was the last step to getting our film together (besides the final bounce). If you ever want to test your audio skills, give yourself 2/3 hours to edit and score a film! It really challenged me to only use what was necessary, and to not be a perfectionist. I laid down the piano and music bed in a couple of takes, just watching the film as I played. It turned out surprisingly nice!

We were running out of time and still had to bounce the final version, package it, and drive it to the meeting spot. We turned it in with all of our paperwork completed about 40 minutes early. Booyah!

A week later we had a premier where we got to watch it on the big screen. Super cool experience, and it was interesting to see some of the other films.

I learned a lot from this project that I could write about, but one thing seems to resonate most right now. It’s so important to challenge yourself. This was an uncomfortable experience for us on many levels. It forced us to play many positions, and take risks, and most importantly to make educated decisions – and stick with them! No second guessing, just do it.

Anyway… Here’s the film. Enjoy!



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