Tips and Tricks

Posted: December 6, 2011 in Uncategorized

The competition is just a few days away and I am getting really excited to see all the chatter about the 48 Film Challenge.  If you have ever entered a 48 Hour Film Competition then you know how exhilarating it is to get your list of required elements and begin shooting a movie with your team. But before you get carried away and burn yourself out in the first day, let me give you some real practical tips and tricks that I do when I am under high pressure filming situations like this. I have participated in both 24, 48, and 100 hour film challenges and if this is your first time in a challenge like this, this advice may come in handy.

Once you get your list of 3 elements that you need to include in your movie, you should talk them over with your teammates and brainstorm for a while.  Stay relaxed, maybe talk it over a dinner or food, something to keep the energy up.  Creating and preserving energy throughout the competition period is very important and will probably affect your success.  So eat lots of food and stay hydrated. Some of this advice may seem very unimportant, but trust me, it’s crucial to maintaining a healthy team. Healthy team = strong team. Strong team = better movie (usually).

I suggest that you take several hours to write, plan and storyboard your video. Even if you already have a general story idea formed, you should still take time and develop creative ways to incorporate the assigned camera angle, prop, and article of clothing.  The videos that usually win these competitions are creative and out “out of the box” with the way they incorporate their elements.  If the article of clothing is a hat, think of all the ways a hat can be used in the video, other than being worn on your actors head (because everyone else will do that). Being different will help your video stand apart from the rest.

As far as staying awake during the competition – DON’T DO IT!

“What??? But I only have 2 days to make a movie, I can’t afford to sleep?”

It’s better to stay alert, rested, and creative than tired and frustrated. The reason teams are awesome is because you can plan out shifts for people to be working, some during the morning, afternoon, or evening. But everyone should be able to get some sleep during the challenge period.

I do not reccamend taking 5 Hour Energy or any supplement to force yourself to stay awake. I do at least 3 all nighters a week to keep up with my school and film projects (it’s kind of a bad habit now) but I would consider myself an “all nighter expert”. One of the best things to do if you need to stay up all night is drink lots of water and snack on something. I usually bring a few apples or a box of cereal to munch on during the late hours of the night.

[Actually i have been up for the last 38 hours and all the sudden I just got extremely tired so I’m gonna hit the hay for a few hours before my night classes.]

I will write a blog entry everyday until the competition begins this week cuz I’ve got a few more tips and tricks related to the filmmaking process.

Peace out!

Zach King

  1. I completely agree with him on all aspects of the post. I did a 48 hour film fest last year and from 7pm to 12pm the next day, I was editing and had 3 cans of Monster and 12 Twinkie. NOT RECOMMENDED!!!!! After it was turned in, I slept for 17 hours. This time since the film time limit is a lot shorter, his will not be an issue. Going to have fun and not stress out about it. The film I made wasn’t the greatest, but it was Finland different and I would do it again. Looking forward to the challenge.

  2. Megan Ger says:

    Thanks for the advice! I’ve been trying to look up places of how to prepare for a 48 hour film challenge. We have a story template set but I’ll definitely take this into account by the time this weekend starts. Good luck to everyone and I look forward to this experience! 🙂

  3. Solomon says:

    I am so excited for this short film compition, and your info in the blog above is very usefull because if you do not sleep, you will be on edge and less alert, and more mistakes will get passed you.

  4. I’m going to make an action short. And i was wondering if that is a bad idê now, because it is not so much “out of the box” so do you have any tips or tricks on how to make a cool action short?? 😀

  5. Erick Lopez says:

    I have a quick question , will the props be things that are easily accessible or are they strange things that we need to go buy somewhere? Thanks!

  6. I would consider myself an all-nighter expert. I pull them all the time to finish an edit.

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