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 challenging.
2016 will mark our sixth 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 2013, our film was awarded Best Music thanks to our talented musical crew who actually scored music to a rough edit. In 2015, our film was also chosen to be re-screened as part of the "Best of DC" screening.
- In prior years, we didn't sleep Friday night until we had a fully realized screenplay, which led to some sleep-deprived crew members. Last year, we were blessed to have talented improv actors who were able to take a story concept and create dialogue. This taught us that we should focus more on the broader story concept than the fine details of the dialogue and allow more creativity to happen on Saturday.
- We now have a hand-held 3-axis gimbal that will make it much easier to get stabilized shots.
- We now have a wireless follow focus unit that will allow us to make precise rack focus moves and pull focus while stabilized.
- We've upgraded our primary editing computer in a number of ways (adding super-fast drives, USB3, VRAM, RAM) to make it faster and more responsive.
- We've been active in the time between contests, practicing the craft of creating by making two music videos (here and here), an ad for a music festival (here), a 90-second teaser for an album release (here) and a live performance video (here) among other projects.
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 an IMDB credit and 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
- $156.97 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, makeup materials 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 April 29th - 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 (April 29 - May 1) 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, spare bulbs, extra mics, redundant storage media and so on. We'll be recording each scene simultaneously to two types of media (in case we encounter a malfunction with one of them). 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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