Saturday, October 10, 2009

But what I really want to do is direct.

Filmmaking is something that's run in my family for the better part of fifty years now. I have an Academy Award-winning cousin, a B-movie schlock-master uncle, and a supremely talented cinematographer step-brother. I, too, have dabbled in the industry from a screenwriting perspective, though with far less success than the aforementioned relatives. But while my talents may be best suited for sitting behind a keyboard, it's the overall miracle of movie magic which has always enthralled me. Making a movie, no matter how brilliant or awful the final product, is sort of like making a baby. It may be ugly, both the process and the end result, but you're gonna love that kid no matter what. This is why I enjoy watching the DVD extras for bad movies. Even though the movie may have been awful, seeing the enthusiasm of the people behind the scenes, and seeing their talents---however misused---reminds me that even ugly babies need love, too.

From time to time I've had the pleasure of adding my hand to a few, very small film projects. Easily the most enjoyable of these film ventures were the two years I partnered with Brian P. as entrants in the annual 24-Hour Video Race of Dallas. It looks like they've dramatically changed up the rules this year, but back in 2004 and 2005, the two years in which we competed, the rules were simple: Each team has 24 hours to write, shoot, edit and deliver a short movie to the finish line. To ensure spontaneity, at the stroke of midnight---when the race begins---a series of key elements are revealed to the competitors, all of which must be included in the script. There are also a few different categories for the entrants, all based around the number of people on your crew. Brian and I were entered under the "guerrilla" category, which meant that no more than five people could be on the crew---not counting the actors.

The video below was our 2004 entry. The surprise elements we needed to include were as follows:

Location: playground
Prop: ladder
Theme: easy money
Dialogue: (actually, I can't recall...even after watching this again; Brian?)

Although we managed to turn our tape in at 11:58pm, just a minute before the deadline, due to a technical glitch, the tape was time-coded...but BLANK. We were disqualified. They still allowed our movie to screen with the other competitors at The Angelika in Dallas, however, and it was clear our film was the best of the lot. Sadly, we'd have to wait until 2005 to try and seek revenge. This version of the movie is more smoothly edited than the one we finished at 11:58pm that night, but its integrity remains in tact. This is what we 24 hours.


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