47:59 Hour Film Project delivered

We finished! I am amazed. With 13 minutes left before the deadline, the disk finally finished burning. Jeremy — who is from LA — drove my ’92 Tercel like a stock car racer while Danielle called out directions from the back seat and I sat in the front with a laptop checking the disk. We hit endless red lights and got stuck behind proverbial Sunday drivers. We became more determined, Jeremy pushed it harder, and we whooped and screamed. One block away, my watch flipped over to 7:30. As we approached the corner, Danielle repeated “It’s still 7:30. It is still 7:30!” over and over. Jeremy turned the corner and slowed down. I couldn’t wait. I unhooked my seatbelt and jumped out of the moving car, waving the disk in the air as I raced toward the door where the competition producer, JD, stood with a watch and a clipboard. I raised my watch hand and called out “IT IS STILL 7:30!!!” JD smiled and pointed to his wrist as I threw myself across the threshold, saying “It’s 7:29 on my watch…”

We made it, with only one minute to spare. Oh sure, as hyper competitors, we had already submitted our film at 6:15, but that version did not have our completed sound design. We did not want to settle for low production values. This was the real film, the one that had to get in. Now it’s up to the judges.

In 63 hours, I had taken two 1/2 hour naps. We had written and tossed out 3 scripts, finally settling on the concept late on Saturday morning. We left for filming at 1 p.m. with a couple of pages in hand while the screenwriter shut himself up in the bedroom cranking away to complete the script before he left for his job waiting tables at 4 p.m. We shot until 6 a.m., running the footage back to the editor starting at 6 p.m. In the course of filming we had run out of battery, used up the gas in the generator, went hungry when a homeless man made off with the crew’s pizza, and stood freezing in the bathroom-free alley that was our location while people searched for the key for the car which was our main set so we could move it to light the next sequence. Our HD footage proved difficult to transfer to disk for delivery and repeatedly came out squeezed or unplayable. We had trouble contacting our composer in the final hours. I almost fell off my chair mid-sentence talking with the editor. The file transfers to our sound editor pushed deadlines beyond imagining, making us only more desperate.

I guess it was a real 48HFP experience.

I still want to do it again.


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