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. DC is just one of 140+ cities worldwide that are a part of this annual contest that challenges 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.
2017 will mark our seventh 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. Our 2015 entry AND our 2016 entry were both chosen to be re-screened as part of the "Best of DC" screenings those years - and the latter actually won "Best Song".
- We now have a new A-level camera that is an absolute low-light monster - it can basically see in the dark. While we aren't planning on shooting that way, it definitely opens up options for available-light and late-night scenes.
- We've upgraded our primary editing computer with faster processors that have more cores.
- We've added a drone to our arsenal which can help with all manner of dynamic shots (like overheads, dollies and cranes), not just the traditional aerials.
- We have a wireless monitor system so that our focus puller no longer needs to look over the shoulder of the camera operator.
- We have upgraded our outboard recorders to be 4K-capable, which offers framing flexibility in post.
- We've added a super-wide lens to allow us to shoot in even tighter quarters than before.
- We've added some compact battery-powered lights that can be easily colored, allowing us some easy creative options.
- We are going to be assisted in our writing process by a friend who went to film school, spent 6 years in LA working in post-production on some big shows like "Law & Order" and "Trading Spaces" and also worked as a judge for the 48 Hour Film Project in Greensboro, NC.
- We have a new "bachelor pad" apartment location for shooting that is only about 15 minutes from the multi-purpose office space where we've shot our last three films and hope to shoot this year.
- In the time since the last contest, Kickstarter has added a new "collaborators" feature that will allow plural members of our team to post updates, giving you an all-access look into how things are going.
- We've been active in the time between contests, practicing the craft of creating by making a promo video for a music festival, a capabilities video submission, a highlight video for a lip sync battle, a live music highlight video and a comedic short 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 and delivery of perks; and
- $133.49 pays our fixed admin costs (our "mega 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 June 23rd - 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 (June 23-25) 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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