Every year we enter New Zealand's annual 48hours competition. 48hours is a crazy weekend. Teams have to write shoot edit and deliver a short film that includes a provided character, line of dialogue, prop, technical element, and genre. This year we had to incorporate Harper harrison a thoughtless character, bread, the line "oh really" and a match cut into our "shock ending" movie
Watch the movie we made here before i talk about the ins and outs of the story below.
Before the weekend started I knew there where a few things I wanted to do with this years film. Firstly I wanted to film predominantly in a single outdoor location. Last years film (here) suffered because we spent so long filming the first few minutes. Filming inside introducing all the characters individually took a really long time and this didn't leave us with much time to shoot other more important parts of the film. Secondly I wanted the script to include weighty dramatic dialogue that our actors would be able to sink their teeth into and lastly I wanted to give the film a clear definitive ending (something our film from the hear before failed to do)
Then a few weeks before the 48hours weekend I had an idea for a short film about a group of friends projecting their minds back in time to the last time they where all together so they can save their friend from dying tragically. At the time I didn't think this would be our 48hours film, I just thought it might be fun as a short film concept. But when it came time to put our film together the idea returned to me. By revealing that the subjects concerned friends where "from the future" at the end of the short film then this could work as the film's shock ending. Then the film could be filled with dramatic scenes of harpers friends and family pleading with him to change his mind about something.
Several hours later we had the film mostly locked down. Harper Harrison would be surprised by his ex wife, son and work collogue at a BBQ for an impromptu intervention. Harper would be planing to leave his home & life for a fresh start in Finland. Something that was also developed was the idea to make the time travel method supernatural and not science based.
So on the Saturday of the weekend we shot the whole thing and had a great time doing it. The actors all did amazing work with the script. They added great depth and humanity to the film. Without the quality of acting that they all brought the story would have fallen flat immediately.
On a whim I had organised to have a second camera available to us. This turned out to be hugely useful. Because half of the films scenes where dialogues between two actors we shot these with two cameras in a string of continuous takes. This would make the editing of these scenes simple and seamless. More than anything though it let the actors focus only on the scene and each other.
At the end of the day we moved locations. During the day our art department had been busy dressing the set of the final scene of the movie. The supernatural shock ending. In a few hours we had everything we needed and the film was wrapped.
The next day we pushed through post production as quickly as we could and got the film delivered with only minutes to spare.
From there the film won awards for best actor and actress, best match cut and was runner up at the regional level. All around a great success for the whole team. Because we where rushed in post production we completely remixed the sound and added some new effects to the final scene.
At the time of writing this I uploaded the film just last night. I'm not really expecting the film to find much success online, its a big screen movie for sure when something else is a single click away I can't see that many viewers will get past the first few seconds. For those viewers that do though there is a hell of an ending. I wonder how many casual viewers will understand the film.
Side note. The more stunning photos embedded in this post where taken by the films cinematographer and my friend Nick. He brought a roll of Kodak 200 colour film and took some lovely photos. The other shots are from my iPhone, just not quite the same...