August 1, 2011
Another 48 Hour Film Project is in the bag. This year, Echo teamed up with Post House to compete in the 2011 Columbus 48 Hour Film Project. The Project took place on the weekend on July 22.
On the evening of the 22nd, we appeared with the other 43 teams to select our team’s genre and to get our required parameters: prop – a deck of cards, line of dialogue – “Do what you want to do,” and the required character – Mr. or Ms. Danoff the substitute teacher. Echo’s Mike McNeese was there at the Kickoff, and he immediately txt’d the genre and the parameters to the rest of the team, who were anxiously waiting at the Post House HQ in Gahanna.
After a few hours of deliberating and discussing, the group of writers from Team Post House had a solid idea for a story. Once the story was outlined, we split up to start hammering out the locations and resources we would need for Saturday’s shoot. We had a group working on the dialogue for the script. Another group was trying to lock down some locations. And a few of us were tinkering with some technicals to prepare for the shoots. 2:00am marked the end of the night for the team.
8:00am came early on Saturday. Our first location was Gatsby’s in Gahanna. This is where the bulk of the scenes in the movie would be shot. We had a very complicated crane move, lighting set ups, audio, lots of dialogue, and only two hours to get it all done. We fudged the two hour limit a little bit, but it did get done. This was also our only indoor location for the whole day…a day in which the heat index reached 110˚.
The team split up from the Gatsby’s location. The rigging crew headed to Worthington to set up for a complicated scene while the other half of us went to the pool! At the pool we shot the underwater drowning scene. Originally, we planned for Director Tim Flaherty’s 2-yr old daughter to play the role of the drowning young lady. She denied us, though. Luckily, we had a willing participant hanging out at the pool that day who stepped in and really did a fantastic job. The underwater footage was shot with a stock GoPro Hero HD camera.
With the pool scene in the can, we moved on to meet the rest of the team up in Worthington to shoot the pedophile in the park. The pedophile role was played by David Dabney. David also volunteered his 1990’s Pontiac Sunfire to be the ped’s car of choice. Yeah, it was hot. The car was black. The asphalt was very fresh. The car ran motionless for a good 30 minutes. The car overheated after the first half of the scene was shot. Then we rigged up the car mount on the Sunfire for the scene’s opening shot, but the car wasn’t cooperating. So, we had to push it. While David worked on getting his car started up again, we shot some stuff with actress Elisabeth (Za) Hughes’ daughter, Kayleigh. Za wasn’t entirely comfortable seeing her little girl being stalked by a creepy dude, but Kayleigh did a fantastic job. Shoot was wrapped, Sunfire was running, and we headed south to train tracks.
At the tracks, Gordon Lash and the rigging crew got the crane set up while we put Steve Hamm in a costume fit for a homeless person…in January. We had a great location where the road actually dead-ended into the train tracks, so we had very little traffic to deal with. We now had to race the sun. By this time it’s approaching 8:00pm. We’re hot, tired, and sweaty. But still in great spirits! The sun went down on the shoot, and just about forced us to wrap, closing on 10:00pm.
The crew was released. Some went home for some well-deserved rest. Others headed back to Gahanna to start loading footage and editing. David and his Sunfire started the trek to Gahanna, but failed to make the last mile of the journey. David’s car gave up the ghost on I-270 just north of the Hamilton Rd exit. David opted to hitch a ride north with the tow truck to go back home. The film was to be edited by Post House’ own Justin Dabney. While Tim and Justin stayed up into the wee hours, the rest of the team was sleeping.
Sunday, the editing continued. Justin was cutting away while Tim was working on color correction and some visual effects. Team members straggled in and out of the HQ all through the day, getting glimpses of the wonderful work being done to finalize the film. The rest of us were cleaning up gear, finalizing paperwork, credits, graphics, and various other helpful items to get the film done on time. As evening approached, we were making the very final touches on the film. Final render started a bit late, though. Close to 6:45pm. We had to have the film turned in by 7:30pm in Grandview.
Apple’s Compressor wasn’t giving us the news we wanted to hear. The film had to be on a flash drive on its way to Grandview by 7:10pm. But, the render queue was suggesting it wasn’t going to finish until well after 7:30pm. Heads hung. The render just simply was not going to happen. At 7:08pm, DP Mike McNeese suggested that if we had any hope of getting the film to Grandview in time, we had to play it from Final Cut Pro, and shoot it with a camera onto DV tape. Heads raised. In a blur, we scrambled to find the HVX200. Find DV tapes. Get the darned DV tapes open. We set the HVX up a blanket, on a camera case, on a chair, pointing at the editing monitor. Justin grabbed an XLR to get a line-in audio signal from the iMac. Tape’s rolling, hit the spacebar on FCP. The movie’s being “captured” onto DV tape. Chuck Altizer goes down to get his vehicle ready to sprint Tim to Grandview. While Chuck is waiting with the car in “D” we approached the end of the “capture.” To save time, we had to scrub through the credits, but still show the 48HFP endboard. Didn’t go so smoothly, but it worked. Eject the tape, and run.
By the time the tape was out the door, it was 7:18pm. It wasn’t looking good. Those of us left at HQ finished packing gear away, silently waiting to hear that our film was to be DQ’d for being late. 7:34pm. Nothing. At 7:42pm, a text from Tim comes in “Hold your breath.”
Tim calls to tell us the story. KC, Producer for the Columbus 48HFP, saw Tim in the theatre before 7:30pm. But, the gals at the check-in desk said otherwise. KC’s voice rules. We’re in.
Our film screened in the first group, Wednesday night. And yes, what screened was a bootleg of our own film. It held up though, and the crowd really seemed to enjoy it.
There are many other stories and hilarities to be told. Much of which are inside jokes, and secrets that should never be let out in fear of incarceration. The Post House team was an incredible group of professionals who work in the Film and Video industry on a daily basis. We’re friends. The 48 was the longest hardest two days of work most of us had ever experienced. But it’s what we live for. We enjoy each other. We enjoy the creativity and the camaraderie. It was a very ambitious weekend, and we made it work. Here is our film, INEVITABLE.