GADZOOK FILMS Producing independent film in Seattle, Los Angeles and beyond.


Why I do 48 Hour Film Projects

Over the weekend of August 3rd I completed my 6th 48-Hour Film Project as a Team Leader and 7th overall. As usual it was a blast. I wanted to test several myths about making a better short. Most of these are things I'd never done before. I posted the video below if you wanna skip all this talk and see what we ended up with. I'm pretty happy with it!

Huge Cast & Crew

I still asked specific people whom I had worked with before to join me on this production. But I asked a lot of them. Some were people I'd worked with before, but many were friends and colleagues I'd never shared a project with. Where it worked was in the cast.

I am very lucky to have a bounty of talented friends available to work in front of the camera. In past 48-Hour shoots we've used the same 3-4 actors in lead roles because I know their work very well and my writers know them too. This time I wanted to shift things around a bit and use an almost all-new cast. A lot of people were around to help, but a lot of people were also sitting around with nothing to do. As expected. We've honed the shooting schedule of these things to an art form and adding bodies may free up one or two tasks, but it ultimately doesn't make the film any better or worse.


Multiple Locations

We always have a pre-production meeting to assess our assets. Specifically we canvass our everyone involved in the production and jot down any costumes, props, or locations each person can bring to the party. So we've always had a long list of locations. In the past, however, we've generally tried to keep our actual shooting locations minimal - maybe 2 nearby locations. This saves time as company moves can be time-consuming and someone inevitably forgets something back at the other location.

This time I wanted to throw as many outdoor locations into the mix as feasible. I wasn't gonna jeopardize the shoot by driving all day Saturday to various locations, but I did want to get a variety. We ended up shooting at about 4 distinct locations, and used one location for multiple settings. It worked out pretty well and ultimately added about an hour and a half to the overall shoot. The locations weren't like jaw-dropping, but they worked.


Fancy Equipment

This was the one thing I really wanted to test out but I'm broke and all of my friends are broke and I didn't know anyone with access to anything revolutionary. We had a nice tripod and a basic light kit and, frankly, that's more than enough. We didn't need a dolly (we actually used a furniture dolly for one shot but it was too bumpy to be usable and we cut around that footage, sadly). We didn't need a slider, or a jib. Would those have made a better movie? No, I don't think so.


So you've made it through. Here's our original cut! I hope you enjoy it. Let me know what you think in the comments below. Do you have a 48-Hour Film you'd like to share?

Posted by Dom

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  1. Hilarious! I loved it. Especially the commercial at the beginning and the cat poster. What were your required elements? I assume you drew “black comedy” as the genre. But what about line of dialog and prop?

  2. Thanks! Yep, our genre was Dark Comedy. Prop was a bottle, character was “David or Denise Stott, athletic coach”. And the line of dialogue was “Why did you do that?”

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