Recently Platt students with a passion for Digital Video Production gathered together to accomplish the challenging task of creating a short film in only 48 hours. As the competition date approached, groups met in advance for several weeks to help prepare them for any possible outcome or challenge that may occur during the 48 hour challenge. This year two teams participated representing different divisions of the competition. Representing the College division, was Team Platt College comprised of 30 current Platt students. Representing the Amateur division, Team Epidemic Films, was a combination of current Platt students and Platt alumni. Each went for a different approach when it came to their projects, but both were able to complete the challenge within 48 hours which is no small task!
So what exactly is the 48 Hour Film Project? It’s the opportunity for people with a passion for film to join together in groups to write, edit and add a score to their own movie, and more, all within 48 hours! The 48 hours begins on a Friday night when teams are given their elements that are required to be included in the film they create, which are: a character, a prop and a line of dialogue. This year the required elements were character Gary or Gretta Greenberg as a TV news person, a cell phone prop, and the line of dialogue, “Where are we going?”. From this point on they only have 48 hours to complete their film and turn it in on Sunday evening.
Team Platt College consisted of current students from all of Platt’s areas of study including: Graphic Design, Video Production, 3D Animation and Web Design. Their film titled “Do Wop Cat” is a great example of what can be created when all these talented students work together
to create something unique. “Do Wop Cat” is a short film that combines musical segments as well as dark comedy. In talking to the students I discovered that the group consisted of many musically gifted individuals so it was clear why they chose to take a musical approach to their film. Platt student Gavin Johnston gave a lot of insight into the musical side of the whole process. Gavin helped with vocal coaching as well as writing the musical elements and even had a dance number in the film along with several other students. When asked what kind of music would be featured in the film he explained, “There isn’t a specific style of music being used. It has everything from rap to ballads and show tunes.”
While talking with Team Platt College student Dave Downes, it was clear that participating in the 48 Hour Film project is an experience he won’t soon forget, “The comradery is one of the main things taken away from this whole experience. Now everyone who participated is interested in working together on creating something else.” Many of the students who I spoke with expressed that they all felt it was a great way to meet a lot of the students at the school and work together to create something they were proud of. It was very apparent that teamwork was a very vital part of the success of creating a film for this event. Dave expressed that brainstorming was a crucial part of their process and in order to be prepared ahead of time it took a lot more than just 48 hours.
Some of Team Epidemic Films members, including Platt alum Anel Aguilar, are reunited from a previous 48 hour competition in 2011. Now with a little more experience this group of Platt students and alumni joined together again to participate in the 2012 48 hour film challenge. After the wild weekend was over, I was able to meet up with Platt Video Production student Ethan Leonard II to get some insight on how him and his fellow teammates conquered the 48 hour challenge. The genre for this years film was a dark comedy which they titled “Back to You”. The title is a clever tie into what is said by the films news anchor Gary Greenberg. This was Ethan’s fourth time participating in the 48 hour film project. Twice before he participated with students from his highschool and this year was his second year participating with a group of Platt students.
Ethan is a student who is very passionate about film and jumps at the chance to participate in projects in school as well as outside the classroom. After finishing his Associate’s degree in Graphic Design at Platt he knew instantly that he wanted to continue on to study video. Ethan is now studying his Bachelor’s in Video Production at Platt and learning more skills to help him in all his digital media design pursuits in and out of the classroom. All four times Ethan has participated in the 48 hour film project he has had the same role as the film’s cinematographer. Clearly a job he enjoys and shows a talent in. When asked about his experience working on so many films over the years for this event his response was, “Something almost always goes wrong, but you have to be prepared for that. It’s all part of the 48 Hour challenge! The atmosphere can be stressful at times but in the end everyone gives their best effort.”
The red carpet film premieres were earlier last week, with Epidemic Films premiere on Monday and the Platt College group on Tuesday night. The event was held at UltraStar Cinemas Poway Creekside, and both nights it was a packed house thanks to tickets selling out days in advance! Platt Graphic Design student Melissa Conrad was part of the Platt group and actually had part of the filming done at her home, when asked about her experience at the premiere she enthused, “I was so excited at the film premiere and I could sense everyone else’s excitement too! I was super proud of our film and hearing the audience laugh was just icing on the cake!” For many Platt students this was their first time working on a film and the opportunity to walk the red carpet before seeing their hard work on the big screen is something they will always remember. The audience’s laughter and enjoyment of the films during the premieres made all their hard work and preparation a gratifying experience.
These students gained valuable knowledge on the filmmaking process outside of the classroom and had fun while doing it!
The mission of the 48 hour film project is to advance filmmaking and promote filmmakers of all skill levels. The intense deadline of 48 hours puts all the focus on the filmmakers to encourage teamwork skills as well as creativity in all that choose to participate. Once the films are completed they are then presented to a panel of judges, which consists of film critics, producers, actors and filmmakers. The criteria they are looking for when judging the films are artistic merit, technical merit, and adherence to the assignment. If the team does not win the judges over they always have the opportunity to also win the Audience Award, which is determined by audience ballot and participation at the initial screening. The winning team is awarded a trophy, and will then have their film screened at Filmapalooza, as well as a copy of Movie Magic Screenwriter software 6 to encourage their future filmmaking endeavours!
Watch Both Films Submitted This Year:
Do Wop Cat by Team Platt College – Do Wop Cat
Back To You by Epidemic Films -Back To You
Platt Students on the 48 Hour Film Project Experience:
“Getting the sound synced for the musical elements was a fun element to learn!”
“This was a great experience to learn about the business and a great way to network.”
“It’s surreal seeing yourself on the big screen!”
- Timothy J. Espinoza
“We weren’t allowed to have a script in advance but at our meetings we did script writing exercises. This really helped guide the story building process.”
“All of it was a blast! The biggest challenge was getting the pre-recorded audio to match the final video.”
“Last year was a completely different experience for me. The projects I participated in before I had been acting. This year was a good learning experience because I was trying something new.”
“I really enjoyed working with everyone and meeting new people. I learned so many neat things and seeing myself on the BIG screen… that was the best.”
Platt Faculty Responded to a Sneak Peek of “Do Wop Cat”:
“Great job with the sound effects!”
“Comedies are hard to create. Zombie movies, horror movies, that’s easy! It’s hard to make people laugh.”
Blog Written By: Natasha Englehardt
Photography By: Natasha Englehardt
Premiere Photos taken by: EventMaster Photography