Saturday, October 25, 2008

Live, From the Red Eye Film Festival!

It is now the 22nd hour of the Red Eye Film Festival, and the accumulation of caffeine highs and lows has finally led to a process of obsolescence, in which the strength slowly drains from my body.

Every year here at Bethany Lutheran College, teams of students sign up for the Red Eye Film Festival, during which they get 30 hours to create a short film. Six of us worked on this thing, our previous formal training being myself and another guy having half a semester of an A/V basics course.

We got our prompt (a haiku with a 5-5-4 syllabic count that was apparently a proper haiku in Japanese) on Thursday at noon, but it wasn't until Friday afternoon that we got together to hammer out ideas. I made us start with what we had--easily reachable locations, props we owned, etc.--and come up with a story based on that, a good way to start as opposed to vice versa. The story we came up with worked well enough, which has basically been our motto this weekend-- "It's good enough." The haiku involved a crow, which obviously made us think of Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven..." Yeah. It was interesting.

One thing that struck me about the idea process was that it goes in more of a circular motion rather than a planar one--there were a few cases where ideas suggested by one person at one time were shot down, only to be resurrected in a slightly different form later by someone else. Since this happened to pretty much everyone, it was good training in the suppression of egos for the good of the group (this is how communism could work--we could all just make movies together).

Once we had the story down, Aaron and I pounded out a script in about half an hour. We broke for supper, shot a couple scenes, then broke until morning. We woke at 6:30, had the rest of the scenes shot by 1, and now we are in the general tedium of editing. I think we'll get it done on time. It won't be the most brilliant piece of cinema history. It may get last place in the contest Sunday. But you know what? I don't care. It's been enormously fun.

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