A typical “artist” could make something meaningful in a couple hours. A sketch, watercolor, or painting can all take less than a day and still depict a complex message. For video? In a day you can make a vine or a video podcast. But a nuanced narrative piece is a much harder. I’ve done a lot of art school (high school and college), there were tons of exercises and lessons that challenged you to produce spontaneously. Anyone that’s been in a drawing class will know the 30s/1/5/10 minute pose structure.
Originally, I was going to go into furniture design. Every time I say this, it surprises someone. I really like planning and plotting. My favorite thing is sitting down, listing all the elements of a project, and then executing them piece by piece. I switched to video/animation because my wood shop technician in high school lost four fingers, and I realized I didn’t want a job that had that possibility.
I founded They’re Using Tools! from my 48 Hour Film Project team, and then participated in over fourteen timed video contests in eight years. The energy and excitment was infectious, and I wanted to infuse all my work with that feeling. It captured the excitement and inventiveness of other mediums, while also letting me share a complex process with a variety of people.
Because I’m a nerd for numbers, I now run the 48HFP for all of Providence. That means I went from sharing this experience with 60 teams and over 800 filmmakers. It’s wonderful, and I’m so excited by how many great filmmakers I get to meet.
Problem: I don’t get to do it. I don’t get to take part in the adrenaline-fueled rush of making a film in 48 hours. I get to sit on the sideline and be the “mom” or cheerleader. 48HFP HQ rules say I can’t compete for three years–in any city–after being a city producer. It’s great experience, but it’s not the experience I initially fell in love with.
One day, I was sitting around with friends and I pondered “Can I just do a film in 48 hours? Like, would you guys be down with that?” No formal contest. No prizes. No theater screening. Just us and a loose set of rules and a weekend. From there, I emailed seventeen past teammates and asked if they’d like to make a film in 48 hours for no money, no prizes, and with no script.
The answer: 100% yes.
There’s one that can’t show up because they’re going to college. AND THEY’RE SAD THEY CAN’T DO THIS INSTEAD. I have a couple “there might be a conflict that weekend, but I really want to do this.” In less than a week everyone has responded positively.
Not just positively, but I’ve been offered actors, editors, writers, and all sorts of awesome things. Someone suggested we still pull a prop/line/character like the traditional 48HFP to make it the same. Someone else suggested we use Cards Against Humanity to find our elements (with some editing of the deck). Also, yes. Let’s do it all. This is so great.
I’ll try to blog the experience of putting together my own rule-less decathlon. The “go” weekend is August 7-9th. At the end of the weekend, we’ll watch the final film and I’ll throw it up online for everyone else to enjoy. Wish me luck!