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Monday, 11 June 2012 10:28

48 Hour Film Project 2012: A captain's log featuring team Thank You Ma'am Productions

48 Hour Film Project 2012: A captain's log featuring team Thank You Ma'am Productions Thank You Ma'am Productions
Written by Amy Williams
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My best friend, Mary Davis and I produced a 48 Hour Film Project this year. We have a group of 14 people who helped us.

Friends have let us borrow their equipment from cameras, to lights, to audio pre-mixer, and props. We work in television. Mary is a video editor and I am a digital content coordinator. We love our jobs. We also love movies, television and theater. Mary grew up in the city always wanting to work in television. I grew up in the country always wanting to be in the movies. So this is a dream come true for both of us. Let's see how this weekend unfolds.

Friday, June 1

4:41 p.m. Getting ready for the start of the 48 Hour Film Project. You think I'd be doing something really filmish but really I'm vacuuming, cleaning my make-up brushes, making sure there is enough toilet paper, setting up our writing area and getting a load of laundry ready to wash. I'm reminiscing about the nesting women do right before they start their labor. I think we're birthing something really cool.

5:12 p.m. Heading to Webster University to pick up our assignment. We're feeling okay; anxious. My heart is still beating; that's good. So many ideas are running through my head. So glad I'm not driving! Got the team leader agreement -- check. Double check.

5:25 p.m. Holy crap! There's a detour to get from Murdoch to Big Bend. Thank God the GPS knows where to take us and we've left plenty of margin for traffic jams, etc.

5:37 p.m. And there's an Art Fair going on and we couldn't find the parking lot. We parked at the Episcopal Church - Lord help us. Where exactly are we going? We see some other people that look like film people so we're following them to the correct building.

5:45 p.m. We have seen part of the competition. They all look young and hip and full of energy and probably have plenty of Red Bull available. We're feeling mighty geriatric at this moment.

5:58 p.m. We're sitting here looking around at all the young people. There are a few our age but few. We're sitting waiting hearing all the chatter in the Hall while the young man in front of me flexes his muscles. He's got great muscles but all I can think is he'd make a great grip. I'm in the zone. 

5:58 p.m. My Facebook status update reads: Prayer would be much appreciated as we embark on this weekend of making a film for the first time. Our focus is to have fun and make something entertaining and creative. I will be journaling on our way throughout this journey. If my status updates don't make sense that's from lack of sleep I'm sure:) Thanks for all your support!

6:04 p.m. I'm sitting here remembering why I'm here. It's not to compete against anybody else. I already have a job in TV. I'm here to have fun. Focus on fun. Lots of people filling up the Hall. I'm telling myself to look around and be present in the moment. I think I might be the only blonde person here. And so many men.

6:20 p.m. We got Horror! We're so happy!

7:35 p.m. The team is assembled at the production house. Well really it's Mary's house:) Now let's get to work creating a movie.

8:12 p.m. Okay so the time is flying by and we need to stop talking and get to writing.

11:02 p.m. Time keeps on going. Costume designing. Prop list. Writing. Writing. Writing. Blocking. Talking. Talking. Talking - too much talking. Makeup and hairstyles. So much going on all at once. We need more food!

11:44 p.m. Writing, blocking, costume designing...never in a million years did I ever think I'd be doing this for real - making a movie. I'd do death scenes on my back deck growing up pretending to be Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra and now I get to do a death scene in the film.

12:52 p.m. Script is written. Getting some sleep before shooting tomorrow.

Saturday, June 2

1:20 a.m. Script is written and the writers are leaving. I'm printing off the scripts fro the actors. I'm going to go to sleep for a few hours. A past 48HFP participant gave me advice that we should build sleep into the production schedule otherwise we'll be wiped out when we get to the editing stage - a most critical stage. We're taking his advice. Goodnight.

5:30 a.m. Alarm blaring, "five more minutes mom." No, it's time to get up and start gathering everything to get to the first location. The crew will be over at 7:30am to start loading equipment. I might be too tired to be nervous. Someone mentioned last night, "What if we're short of the 4 minute requirement?" Is that possible? I hope not. Usually you can figure 1 minute of film per page and we only have 2 1/2 pages.  Oh I hope we have enough. Our goal is to make the film a little over 4 minutes since it's recommended to make it short so the audience doesn't get bored. Editing will be so important. We need to start with a healthy breakfast! I'm going to go pick up props. I'm feeling tired and a little crabby. I need some caffeine.

6:12 a.m. Up and at 'em to shoot our script for the 48 Hour Film Project. Let's go make a film! A Horror film!

12:06 p.m. Waiting, waiting, waiting...patiently of course. 

12:26 p.m. Doing close ups and we're having people coming and looking at what we're doing. And we're doing a lot of waiting around for something to happen which is so frustrating. A helicopter is flying back and forth over head. That's great for the audio -- NOT! Quiet on the set -- I've always wanted to say that. Time for sounds recording.

1:03 p.m. We are filming at the first location which is a park. Don't step in dog poop. Don't step in dog poop. Oh no! I stepped in dog poop and it's fresh. Sorry to all my actors who are shooting down wind of me.

5:58 p.m. Took a filming break to call and wish my grandma happy 90+ birthday. The conversation went like this. (Amy) "Happy birthday grandma. It's Amy." (Grandma) "Oh, Amy thank you. (Amy) "I only have a minute to talk grandma. I'm making a movie." (Grandma) "You're moving?" (Amy) "No, grandma. I'm making a movie, like John Wayne stuff." (Grandma) "Oh a movie. Have fun. I love you."  (Amy) "I love you too grandma. Bye."

6:01 p.m. We're at the 2nd location and the 4th scene set up. We're still having fun! We're at the most important part of the movie. Checking the assignment requirements. We have character - check. We have occupation - check. We have prop - check (book:). We have the required dialogue - check. Oh and by the way WE ARE MAKING A MOVIE!!!!!

6:56 p.m. My mom texted me to say, "break a leg" or something like that."

6:57 p.m. Let the blood flow! Just not on my carpet, my couch, or my chair! Yikes -- the horror! The horror!

7:05 p.m. The crew is now dwindling down to just a remaining few to soon just two to edit. All night edit - thank God Mary Davis is here!!! She's got this!!!

8:07 p.m. It's a wrap! Two locations and 5 different sets. Now comes the hard part -- editing. We're sending the editor off with all the footage to start the edit. I'm staying at the location to continue to break down the set. Breaking down is the hardest part. We're making sure each location is returned exactly to it's previous state. We're packing all the equipment and making sure it is all put back the way we got it from the people who lent it to us. I couldn't do this without our grips! Muscle is so needed!

8:40 p.m. I'm organizing everything that was given to us to use since we are waiting for the footage to load to our computer. Now who gave us what? I should have kept better records. My brain is on over load but all in all I'm doing good. Feeding the team was the biggest expense, more than I anticipated but food motivates! Thankfully somebody on the team donated money to pay for everyone's lunch.

9:10 p.m. I'm dropping off props at various places. I'm driving around tonight and was reminded that today my attention was on any large gathering and I would look and see if they had camera equipment with them. I was on high alert for any fellow 48HFP teams. Wondering, as I drove by an ambulance and firetruck, wow, "Did some team get them to be in their movie?" 72 teams out there right now doing the same thing we are -- creating! Amazing!

10 p.m. Everything has been loaded into the computer storage device and the sequence has been laid out with the opening. Phone calls are happening to get technical advice on areas that we have questions about. Having technical support has been vital, thank you Bryce Bagwill and Jon Michael Ryan. We absolutely love having a personal human Siri. Right now the editor feels the burden of the whole project. Prayer helps. We felt like we should lay out the story line first then go back and finesse it depending on time constraints. 

Sunday, June 3

12 a.m. Midnight! 2 minutes into the edit. We're cooking now! I'm writing up the credits making sure every name is there and correct. I'm so thankful to all my family and friends who helped us on this project.

1:45 a.m. I'm going to get some z's for a while. I can't think anymore. My editor is going to get some z's too. Fuzzy brain leads to fuzzy editing.

6:40 a.m. Up and at it! Yay! Today is the due date and we're going to deliver. Before doing this project we spoke to past participant and one of them said to build in time to sleep into your production schedule (I think I mentioned this before but I can't remember.)  He said, you can't stay awake the whole weekend straight because you'll really need to be able to think clearly as you do your editing. He also said to allow two hours in your schedule to process your final output. So we shall see how his advice pays off. We're 3 minutes into the edit. 

8:33 a.m. Breakfast and caffeine has been consumed. Editing has resumed. Now onto scene 3 -- the final part. Periodically make sure your editor is still breathing but not snoring.

9 a.m. Doing laundry while watching the editing process. I just can't sit still right now. I'm trying to come up with a hand out for marketing our movie Tuesday night at the Tivoli.

11:48 a.m. Finishing up credits. Mary, our editor, has the beginning of an ear infection. Aspirin and Benadryl and a hot compress. I'm here to serve. Credits are 53 seconds.

12:30 p.m. Reading the rules again to make sure I have everything we need to finish correctly.

12:52 p.m. Eating pizza and finessing the audio and edits.

2:02 p.m. Audio is a monster! Wish we knew more about it.

4 p.m. Rendering out. Our friend who is a massage therapist is over giving us myself and our editor an massage while our film is "cooking". How great is that?!?! I'm getting all the paperwork together and getting the label ready for our flash drive. This has been an unforgettable weekend. I've been stretched so much and loved it. We had fun! Isn't that what making movies is all about? Gotta hop in the shower to get ready to drive to Schlafly's Tap Room.

4:52 p.m. We have a movie!!! TRT 6:23

6 p.m. Leaving for the Tap Room. All paper work gathered together and properly marked. I feel like I'm back at school with all the forms needed. I'm so thankful for my organizational skills.

6:38 p.m. We arrive at Schlafly's Tap Room. I walk in calmly with my ACTRESS t-shirt on (just for fun) and immediately get pointed in the direction of the 48 Hour Film Project drop off room. We have some of our team with us which is great. We check in with Kat and hand over our film. WHEW! Amazing! Relieved! Deep sigh. We did it!!! We cheer in celebration. I have never done anything like this before. I've seen it done by my co-workers. I've watched and learned and now had a chance that into action. I have an even greater appreciation and respect for all the producers, editors and crew that I work with at my job in Broadcast at Joyce Meyer Ministries. They do this every day and make it look effortless. This is HARD work!!! I'm exhausted!

6:45 p.m. We sit down at the patio tables at Schlafly's for a drop off dinner celebration. We clink our glasses and we toast our completion and reminisce about our weekend. The good, the bad, the ugly. Overwhelmingly our team walked away from this having fun which was the goal.

We weren't competing against anyone. That wasn't the point showing if we have what it takes to make a film or not. The point was to get a group of people together to collaborate on creating something we can be proud of and most importantly to have a fun time doing it because in the end "we're doers, we get things done."

-- Amy Williams, Producer for team Thank You Ma'am Productions

All photos by Thank You Ma'am Productions

The 48 Hour Film Project 2012 Best of Screenings take place June 14 at the Tivoli.