Two Proof Films (a collective of a dozen or so creative friends living in and around Sterling, VA) will be entering the Washington DC 48 Hour Film Project. It's an annual contest that challenges area filmmakers to craft a short film 4-7 minutes long from scratch in the span of 48 hours. To keep everyone honest, each team is assigned a genre and required elements (character, prop and line of dialogue) at the kickoff meeting Friday night. This results in an intense, creative weekend that always manages to be as rewarding as it is draining.
2014 will mark our fourth entry into the competition. Our 2011 film was chosen by the judges to be one of 26 films (out of the 106 entries that year) shown a second time as part of their "Best of DC" screening. In 2012, a seemingly innocuous special effect we used ended up taking a lot of our post-production time that should have been used differently, though we were still proud of our final product. In 2013, our film was awarded Best Music thanks to our talented musical crew who actually scored music to a rough edit.
In the time since last April's campaign, we:
- received the "Best Music" award for our 2013 entry (and we remain committed that we will always score our 48 hour films this way);
- acquired some gear that we had to rent last year (macro lens, rail system, follow focus);
- acquired one piece of gear that we desperately wanted to rent last year but couldn't (Steadicam)
- had two team members get hitched (which allowed them to pick the brains of some professional videographers);
- practiced our craft by making videos (including a video for a Kickstarter campaign that received over $10,000 in pledges, a music video trailer, a music video for a cover song recorded by Two Proofers, a wedding highlight video, and we even returned to the scene of 2011's "Taught" to film a music video invitation of sorts for the aforementioned Two Proof newlyweds);
- developed some new strategies (like adding "comedy" to whatever genre we choose based on an analysis of past winners, requiring our writers to think independently for a bit before brainstorming as a group, and trying to adopt a "high concept" thought process); and
- practiced writing (randomly picked from this year's genres and selected elements from past 48HFP contests to simulate the writing room experience).
Our goal for this Kickstarter campaign is mostly to get our family, friends and maybe even some charitable strangers involved in this gloriously manic process. We've tried to devise rewards to make our contributors feel connected as they become a part of our team. From mentions in the credits to signed copies of the screenplay, free tickets to sit with us at our screening or even a VIP executive producer package with a bundle of associated perks. Kickstarter also allows us a secure method to keep our contributors in the know about how things are going with the contest. We fully plan on posting regular updates with pictures and videos to keep our backers connected with the process.
If we are fortunate enough to reach our funding goal, these are the bits we'd be required to pay:
- 5% goes to Kickstarter (for connecting us to you);
- 3% goes to Amazon (for securely handling the payments);
- 30% (plus or minus a percentage point or two, depending on which rewards are chosen) will pay for the creation of perks; and
- $164.19 pays our fixed admin costs (our "early bird" entry fee and the high-speed, high-capacity flash drive that we'll use to submit our film).
Whatever's left (also known as "our actual film budget") will be divided up between props, costume elements, and, perhaps most importantly, CRAFT SERVICES ... that is, "food". While the contest rules prohibit us from paying cast- and crew-members, we are allowed to feed them.
The contest will begin at 7pm on May 2nd - exactly 48 hours after this Kickstarter campaign ends. Come join us for an unforgettable, wild ride!
Risks and challenges
The fact that the weekend for making this movie has been predetermined (May 2-4) means that if a member of our cast or crew is suddenly and unexpectedly unavailable, the rest of the team has to soldier on - we can't just reschedule. Thankfully, the skills of our team members overlap sufficiently that someone can and will step up to fill any void.
Filmmaking gear can fail. We've tried to mitigate this risk by having dedicated backup devices on hand at all times - an extra A-level camera, a backup field audio recorder, extra mics, a redundant flash drive and so on. We even have two FCPX editing suites that are 10 minutes apart, in case the power goes out. Here's one where our experience serves us well.
Of course, there is always the unexpected. As we move from one location to another during production, our lead actor's car might break down. Given the experience I've had with this team in this contest, I am convinced that we are a resourceful bunch that we would be able to rewrite our way around whatever may arise.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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