My team, “Team Triumph” did extremely well. We won’t know who won until April, though. AND I have the finished movie on DVD but I can’t figure out how to upload it to any web sites as of yet. I promise I will have it here as soon as I can.
What happened, you ask? Good question, adoring fan.
Friday afternoon, I arrived at the competition headquarters at Vanderbilt. There were 9 teams total. (One team later dropped out…and they were senior year film students! The sissies!)
We drew numbers. Our numbers correlated with our genre, which was mix-matched. By that I mean, categories were: Superhero horror, British Western, Sci Fi Musical, and Romance Mystery. I got Sci Fi Musical and was NOT happy. I accepted the challenge, however, and didn’t quit like those senior wimps.
We were given our equipment and checked it out. We were handed an envelope with one line of dialogue. We had to incorporate it into the script. We also were given a prop we had to place in a scene. The prop? Bunny ears. The line of dialogue? That’s what she said. We were also told that throughout the night we would be given texts with twists along the way. And of course the final rule: Turn in our finished movie on DVD by 6pm on Saturday. Everyone was excited. Except me with my stinkin’ Sci Fi Musical.
6pm: The race began! My crew (Kristy and Ann) and I loaded up and trekked to my house. For three hours we brainstormed on how to create a Sci Fi Musical. I was at a loss. I don’t watch Sci Fi. I don’t like alien crap. Ghosts, maybe. Loved the Matrix, but you know, my special effects budget was lacking for this flick. Exasperated, Kristy and I drove to the top of an overlook to get some shots of the moon since OBVIOUSLY Sci Fi stuff would need to have that in it. Ann took a puppy (I’m giving them away, want one?) and went home to rest.
At the overlook, all was well until the police pulled up and shone a bright light in my face. Maybe he thought the camera was a weapon? Kristy and I tried to explain we were filming a movie, but we were frisked against the car anyway. Kristy enjoyed it. I was rather miffed. I had the camera in my hand! Then we were told that no one was allowed up there after dark. AGAIN I explained that I needed a shot of the moon. He told me I needed to go in five minutes. Whatever. I was gone in four.
Fifteen minutes later, the text came: “The first person to respond to this text will be able to swap genres.” I was on that like white on rice! Kristy made the call and our genre became: British Western. Okay. THIS I can do.
By 11pm the script was made, copies were given to the actors, who just happened to be my four children and Kristy’s daughter.
At midnight production stopped. We spent an hour and a half in WalMart so the girls could get their DVD of New Moon. (We won Awesome Mom awards for that one!) I snagged a few props there while I was at it.
2-4am: Viewing of New Moon while I tweaked script. Michael, my eldest, went to bed so. He did this because he knew if he wasn’t well rested 1.) I wouldn’t let him drive me ANYWHERE and 2.) He needed to be able to be in a good mood in order to maintain peace between siblings.
5am: Breakfast at Waffle House. My youngest was slow to rise, but he had known about this for awhile. He was generally excited and happy. The girls put on their outfits and we were all good to go.
6am: Carnton Plantation, Franklin, Tennessee. Cold. Got good shots of sunrise. Overcast day. Perfect lighting.
6:45am: Started filming the kids. I admit, I was a bit worried about filming my youngest. He’s 10 and has special needs. He can be whiny and difficult. However, he was so stoked about being in a movie, he was amazing. He worked so hard for me! Time after time after time! He had memorized his lines, too! All of the kids were wonderful! My boys did their own stunts.
7:15am: The boom mike quits working. We changed out batteries, nope, that wasn’t it. Fiddled with wires. Finally worked, but wasted thirty minutes.
8:00am: First camera battery dies. Swap out with another. No inverter to charge first battery. Muffled grumbling begins.
9:00am: Filming pauses so hot air balloons can float across our sky. Grumblings get a bit louder.
10:15am: Last line of dialogue taped. Camera dies. Grumblings are very vocal at this point. No way to charge batteries. We will have to make due.
10:30am: Ann departs. Kristy and her daughter come to my home to grab their things, leave. It’s up to me to edit it and make it pretty. I leave the kids with my parents and Michael and I book it to Vanderbilt.
10:50am: Get tutorial on editing station. I try my best to figure out Final Cut. It’s not my niche. Michael, however, seems to be a natural and takes over. My son, who was an actor, now becomes my editor. We edit for five hours straight.
4:30pm: Discover that the last line of dialogue was erased when the camera died. Screams fill the station. People run to see if I have had an embolism.
4:35pm: The next twist: You must film an alternate ending. Very happy about this, Michael, still wearing the same clothes, takes a seat against a wall. I film him improving an interview for our “new ending”. The old ending (the ORIGINAL ending) doesn’t work without the last line of dialogue, so it becomes an outtake ending.
5:00pm: Michael leaves to retrieve the children for the film screening. I’m left in charge of the movie and still can’t figure out stuff on Final Cut. I’m just not a techie. I enlist aid from Dean, a guy stationed at the competition to help people like me out. He helps me with credits, titles, and music. He also ensures that the editing is smooth. He was a great help. I was and am grateful. My grumbling subsides.
5:30pm: Our film, “DRAW” is burned to DVD.
5:35pm: DRAW is handed in to the powers that be. Early. I like that.
5: 50pm: Michael and the children return and are out of breath from sprinting from the parking garage. We take our seats in the theater.
5:55pm: My youngest takes a potty break.
6:00pm: Screenings begin. My mentor, Will Akers, is a judge. Didn’t even know he was coming!
All in all, the evening was fantastic. I won’t find out until April sometime if we placed. I will say that everyone laughed and LOVED our film. The kids loved seeing themselves up on a silver screen. Rave reviews from everyone who saw it. It was extremely entertaining. And so much fun to make.
Hands down. One of the best days of my life. Making my short film and being able to bond with my kiddos at the same time. Priceless! If any of you ever get a chance to make a film, oh my gosh, do it! Remember to laugh. We laughed a lot on our film. Wouldn’t change a darn thing.
Like I said, once I figure out how to upload it, I will.
On another note, TODAY I get to speak with Linda Woolverton, the screenwriter for Alice in Wonderland. I’m pumped. Most in my class didn’t like Alice, but I did. I really enjoyed it. I like things with twists…things that are done differently than expected. Weird. Maybe because I’m weird. Who knows.
I’ll post it here in a few.
Thank you for following my blog. Keep writing!
I'm so thankful there are youth that understand technology!
Michael is a superb editor!