Don't Say The "Z" Word.

Posted Tuesday, July 21, 2009, 11:56 PM


It's fun to work on short films. I've managed to involve myself in all sorts of different sides to making a film, in pre-production, actual production, and post-production. I like to write, and draw storyboards; I have been a general dogsbody crew member, and even a co-director; and I have edited, and created visual effects.

But these things can take a lot of time and effort, sometimes to the point where you just don't want to do it anymore. Then you get over that feeling, and keep doing it anyway, like you've broken through the wall of exhaustion and doubt.

But one good solution to that exhaustion is to film, edit, and deliver the film all within a one day time limit.

15/15 is a short film festival that we entered last weekend. We had to put together a film in just fifteen hours. Rob came up with a simple story idea ten days before, and I wrote it up into a script. We tracked down one of our regular actors, and he liked the script. We got a few props together, and a location. The usual crew all agreed to take part. Then, in one single day, after being given the inherent limitation of the competition (a line of dialogue and an object that must be included), we filmed something called Fifteen Days.

The plot was simple, as it had to be to get everything done in time: A young guy puts together a video blog, and describes a few events that are going on in his neighbourhood, that turn out to be an infestation of the Undead. He is trapped inside his home, and rapidly the situation devolves.

The actor, James, was brilliant. He took my dialogue and added some of his own humour to it to make it his own, and it just made the whole thing so much better. Dave, our DoP (camera man) did his usual wonderful job at framing and taking care of the camera. This time we had a lot less discomfort for him to endure. And Dags managed to edit the sound effects in the allotted time with great skill, which made the film zing. And actually, enhance the frightening nature of our little horror story.

It was a lot of fun to see something come together so quickly, and very satisfying to see such a rushed assembly work as well as it did. We managed to submit the film within the time limit (with literally ten minutes to spare) and now we just have to wait and see if they liked it and if it will become a finalist.

But that doesn't really matter. We did it to see if we could (and we could) and to have another film under our belt (and it's a good one, too). We learned that when we knuckle down and put our shoulders to the wheel, our ear to the ground, our nose to the grindstone, and our feet on the floor... well, we'd be circus contortionists, I suppose. But we also can put together a wonderful piece of entertainment.

Hopefully it will motivate us to make more.

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