Starting tonight at 7PM I’ll be giving a behind the scenes play-by-play on Regent’s 48/48 film competition. Stay tuned this weekend!
Day 1: Preparing
7:02 PM – All the participants are gathered in COMM 101, chatting, getting into teams, and awaiting instructions. Our team is waiting on a few more of our members. There is a count down timer on the projector screen set for the first contest: 48 minutes. (The 48 hour contest is second). “La Vie En Rose” by Louie Armstrong plays under the sound of our chatter. Whoever picked this background music has good taste.
8:26 PM – We (Team 6: Tom O’Brien, Justin Griesel, Matthew Walker, Isaac Thomas, and myself), finished the 48 min. contest. Our line of dialogue was “Does that look normal to you?” Our mystery genre was a Pirate Court Room Genre, and our mystery prop was a tiny plastic rhino. Luckily, Tom had a bunch of nifty props in his truck and I had bandannas lying by the first aid kit in my Jeep. Majority of the groups, including our group, needed extra time. Plan. Film. Edit. Upload. Email.
Note to self: Buy bananas… my legs muscles are already beginning to cramp from running between rooms.
PS: My boots have no traction.
“ARRR-enge soda” never gets old.
Props to the Musical Horror group that used a drone.
10:46 PM – We formed our new teams and received our prompt, rules, and items. Late-evening I-HOP is where the best ideas happen. (One other group had the same plan). This particular I-HOP doesn’t have free Wi-Fi so this update is a tad late and written on my phone. We’ve been checked on twice since we all finished our meals. Pre-production is great, and I couldn’t ask for a better team. Everyone is spitballing pitches across the table. Also, walking around a restaurant gathering foley noise is an awkward but enjoyable experience.
Note to self: Writing pairs well with coffee, pancakes, and friendship.
11:26 PM – This is the third time we’ve been checked on. Sadly, there’s no coffee left.
11:42 PM – We left IHOP with majority of pre-production finished. We decided to get a night’s sleep and save a possible all-nighter for tomorrow night. I’m headed to Wal-Mart for props.
12:05 (Roughly) – Alphabet Spaghetti O’s obtained.
Day 2: Filming
(A large portion of this day, we were outside in Norfolk and my phone was dead. The rough timing of events are as follows).
10:10 AM – Gathering props and wardrobe before meeting up with the team.
11:27 AM – We all meet at the director’s house to iron out the script/ our last-minute ideas. We are setting up for our first shots. Out of context quote: “Doctor, I fractured my mitochondria!!”
Noon-12:32 PM – All the props and equipment have been staged inside the house. I had an idea to add a crossword puzzle to the scene so I inform the crew and race out the door into my Jeep. Emily Bradley, our Director, informed me of a few gas stations and a CVS down the road. I head to the nearest 7-11 listed on my GPS. That was the wrong 7-11. Traffic is hectic, I had to make a few U-turns more than I wanted to. 7-11 does not own crossword puzzles, so I head to CVS. I am now where the Dir. told me to go in the first place. Tom O’Brien told me to get him “something healthy from 7-11” so I bought a puzzle book and a 6-pack of Coca-Cola (Something unhealthy from CVS).
12:42-1:23 PM – We head to the “famous” alleyway in Norfolk and park by the Japanese Pagoda Garden. We reach the alleyway, stage equipment and begin filming. Something is wrong. We forgot the un-sliced loaf of bread. It takes awhile to figure this out, and I run to my Jeep to rummage for extra props for the alleyway scenes. Upon my return I am handed $20, a cell phone, and informed that I am riding a Uber to Panera Bread to by a new loaf. As soon as I am told this, a Black Mercedes Benz with a hood ornament rolls up and I hop in. The driver has been informed of the situation and we head off. This is probably one of the nicest cars I have ever ridden in. We reach Panera, the Uber driver and I set up an Uber ride back but for some silly reason the App did not choose him a second time. I hop out of the Mercedes and a Dodge Minivan (lacking a passenger side mirror) pulls up. I explain the situation, he is more than happy to wait. I bought the bread, rushed out, and hoped in the minivan. My second driver is pleasant, we (very briefly discuss) Uber and typical Regent stuff like film and church. I get back to set with the new loaf of bread and continue watching over the equipment. At this point already, majority of the day is a blur.
1:30ish PM – Another crew shows up to set with the original un-sliced loaf of bread.
2:30ish PM – Filming is going great, we have been stopped by a couple local workers who asks about our equipment/film and a couple of photography students who are interested in our film and the alleyway. Tom and another crew member leave to get the crew coffee. I am asked to act as a thug. “Be intimidating,” we all laugh.
3:00 PM – More watching over equipment and fun banter. Various crew members start to get hungry.
3:30 PM – Ditto.
4:30 PM – We are almost done. I get to lay down in the puddled alleyway for more fun drone shots. I probably sound like I am complaining, but in all honestly these kinds of stories are part of the reason I love film-sets.
5:10 PM (Roughly) – We head back to the Pagoda Garden and leave. My phone is dead but I am lent a portable charger and given directions on how to get back onto I-264.
5:35 PM – Blessed art thou O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who brings forth corn and beans from the earth. (i.e. Thank You Lord for Chipotle).
6:10ish PM – We arrive at Regent’s COMM building and stage in one of the rooms.
7:00 PM – We are now using the boom pole to hang a flood light and a light stand to hold the boom pole. (Did I mention I love film?).
8:00 PM – Sadly, I grew tired and fall nod off almost missing two cues to record audio. Jackson, our DP notices this and asks that someone replace me so I can go lay down. Crew totally understands as majority of us are tired and becoming slightly irritably. I rearrange chairs into a makeshift bed and rest my head.
9:00 – 9:30 PM (Roughly) – I wake up, but my right leg has not. The crew is arguing about Klondike bars.
10:30 PM – Nothing much has changed, except that I am more awake. The lighting for the scene looks fantastic and talent’s performance is splendid. I send a text to a friend that we are almost done.
11:00 PM – Set continues and do some PA duties of getting talent water. A. Noah Rodriguez-Acosta, our script-supervisor, hands me a card to retrieve chocolate. The crew goes ecstatic at the sight of the candy bars.
Midnight – THAT’S A WRAP!! Everyone begins to pack up, pick up trash, and move everything back to where we found it. Note to Self: Buy wraps.
12:33 PM – Torrential Downpour. We wait till the rain dies down, finish loading, go over editing plans, and head out for the night.
Day 3: Editing
The crew gets some sleep and meets up to edit. I am not on the editing team so this gives me time to work on homework due this upcoming week. We missed one scene we had planned, but we all stay on standby in-case we decide to film it or we need to re-film something else. The film is Due tonight at 11:59 PM, but so far it looks great and I have the utmost confidence in our editors.
Overall, I personally had a blast with this film competition and am looking forward to working again with these amazing people and to more contests down the road. Shout out to Emily Bradley, Jackson Begley, Thomas O’Brien, A. Noah Rodriguez-Acosta, Buck Shockley, Daniel Glenn, Chrsie Brandel, Derek Henning, Matthew Walker. You guys are amazing! Also, Best of luck to the other teams! Thank you to the Docuministy and 45 Degrees clubs for hosting Regent’s first fully student led film competition!
H. Nathaniel Rodbell is a contributor to The Daily Runner.