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From: Wellington
Since: Mar 2011
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General 48hr Tips [from April 8 2005]

[thread transferred from old forum]

Mark Easton:
Just wondering if any of you 48hrs vets would be willing to impart your wisdom on us newbies as to any tips or tricks you have learned from previous comps. Not general filmmaking advice but rather aspects specific to the situation e.g. How did you break down your time into the different aspects etc


white dog:
figure out how long it will take to cut your film and output it onto the correct format (including time for sound mix). work backwards from there to give yourself rough deadlines for each stage.
Don't leave yourself short of time at the end. It's better to deliver a less than perfect result on time than miss the deadline for the sake of an extra effect or a bit more cutting.
Try and get full script and storyboard, no matter how rough, done on Friday night.
Never never forget to have fun.

Have it finished and handed in 5 hours before the deadline.
You won't, of course, but aiming for it helps.
Try to have someone editing your first footage while you're still filming other stuff.
Good sound quality makes all the difference.
Don't try any motorcycle stunts, especially around ridiculously expensive cameras you don't own.

Have plenty of caffeine at the ready.

Also, and others may disagree, but I think it's more worthwhile getting five hours sleep a night than trying to go the whole thing without sleep. Doesn't matter how long you're awake if you're unable to function, and your ability to spot glaring mistakes seizes up long before your ability to make them does.

Yeah, I'd disagree on that one... So long as there are a couple of people who are thinking straight are present, you should be fine. I managed on about three hours sleep in about the first 30 hours; I drank a hell of a lot of cola though.

From last years experience the adrenalin kept me awake and going for the entire thing, I couldnt sleep if I tried!

One tip which may seem obvious but I shall devulge anyway, is to have your final 'hand in' tape pre-labelled before you even stick it in the edit suite. The amount of people that were waiting in line last year without tape labels for their tapes or even pens to write on them was pretty amazing. One team was turned away because of this and if they had turned up at one minute to 7 then they would have missed out, all because they hadnt labelled their tape.

Also delegate someone to be responsible for the paperwork/release forms etc....and have all the paperwork done by Sunday morning at the latest. You dont want to miss out because someone hasnt signed on the dotted line.

cheers and good luck



Set the clock in the edit suite forward two hours and don't tell anyone.

Worked for me

Don't have any important crew people doubling as stunt performers. The waiting time in A&E really eats away at your production time.

Editing is crucial, do not skimp on editing time. At all. To get everything you want in the cut, looking nice you need to make sure you have the time in the edit suite. Rushed editing really shows. So, with that in mind, try to start your editing session before you finish filming, so that you have all the material in the edit suite, and rough cuts under way before the stress builds up.

Script it. Writing just an outline and adlibbing the rest generally leads to trouble. It's good to be flexible with the script, but if you do make a change, then change the script, as if you are shooting out of order in different locations, it can be pretty hard to keep track of what has been said, and to know what takes will be used.

//Writing just an outline and adlibbing the rest generally leads to trouble.

worked ok for us - i think that depends on your actors - if they are good at improv, then take advantage of that - big time saver

I do adlibbed stuff all the time, it works a treat....but agreed you've got to have actors who can do it properly.

Our timetable over the last 2 years has been:
Write entire script, plan all locations and shooting order. Then hopefully it's not too late and everyone can go home and get a few hours sleep with crew call at 6am at first location. (Both years we have shot the vast majority in and around my house, helps not driving around all day to locations)

Shoot all day. Always shoot what's been scripted as well as any ad lib's just in case that important line is missed. Hopefully you wrap shooting by 10pm (Or earlier if not too ambitious) Go straight into editing. Have 2 people who can edit so you can go through the night and both get sleep to maintain sanity (This helps when assessing final cut.) Best if someone assembles a rough cut while director sleeps so they have fresh eyes for final cut.

Editing all day. Do regular saves and hourly backups to another computer/harddrive if possible. Aim to hand in film at 6pm at latest. This gives you an hours grace for traffic, breakdowns, trouble outputting, etc. Remember you can send someone in with a roughish copy at 6pm and continue editing to cut it close for your best cut. Then if you miss you've still got something.

Record clear sound. This is probably more important than shooting on a 3ccd camera. I'm sure at least 2 of our jokes we're missed by the majority of the audience last year because of poor off camera sound.

Have one Director or Producer who can just make a decision. I know a team which destructed because of differences between the editor and Director which lead to the director walking out. The final product didn't make sense and would have been so good if they had a clear leader. Even if your decision making process is voting, establish this before Friday 7pm.

Build a team of your friends. Like minded people who you can trust are what you need most this weekend.

white dog:
Probably the most important aspect.

Well, yeah, we did it too, but rather than adlibbing, be basically let the actors rewrite their bits on the fly.

The issue is when they may be adlibbing different lines on different takes, and then when it comes to editing, you find that things start to not make sense because a line has been delivered differently in the take you've used or whatever.

white dog:
that's why you have a script. Let actors adlib, but always make sure they do at least one good take of the SCRIPTED scene.

I think the important part of the script is to outline what must be achieved by each scene. In Sceptre last year, the actors knew what had to be communicated to the audience in each scene, regardless of how it was done.

The point I was trying to make, is that it's damn hard to edit if every take has a different line. You can be forced into using certain takes because of delivery, but the line might not be great, or the other way round.

What we tried to do with Sceptre, was do our improvising before the camera rolled, so that we got the same lines each take. They may not be exactly what we originally scripted, but they were consistant which was very important in the edit.

depends how youre filming it - im a fan of the single shot scene... but in saying that, we did exactly what you described last year... thats why its important to have capable actors, so they can remember what they jammed out...and repeat the dialogue for each take. all i had to work off was a list of scenes - each scene went like this : block out scene with dop and discuss camera angles etc, then go find where the actors have been banished to and jam out the dialogue for the scene... then bring them onto the set and reblock and quick tweaks... worked a treat - altho you can never be too prepared... as long as you're willing to let it all go if its not working

some great advice here! i'm a student at south seas and this is my first attempt at directing a short film.

I think it's important to set aside a creative writing team - maybe 3/4 - don't allow the whole crew to be in on the initial brain storm.

A team i knew from last year finished their script at 4am sat morning, woke their crew and spent the day shooting and spent sat night/sun editing.

QUESTION: I've just sent in my cheque - if they don't get it by may 1st does that mean i'm out?


Gregg Buchanan
& also,leave the Writer alone to get on with doing the script,unless he/she comes out & asks for your help on the Friday night..No script,no film!..You can do certain things on the 'fly,but not everything!

When your doing your rehearsals or takes,make sure everyone knows what the f they're doing & have a good continuity person on hand,& a good idea beside working off a continuity form,is having a good camera to take shots after each take is filmed..Your production assistant/s need to know how to make good coffee too,the first time!..That's my five cents worth for now, more later.

danny destruction:
here's a good one. don't let the stupidest member of the team hold the tape when you are on your way to the drop off point, as they are likely to get a carpark confused with the hotel next door, and no amount of telling them otherwise will work, nor will ignoring them, as you think that any normal person would surely realise it is a carpark. the member will then proceed to somehow confuse the shit out of everyone by disappearing fuck knows where inside, and giving everyone else anxiety attacks. but will somehow end up outside after you've gone in to find them.
furthermore, don't let this happen when you're cutting close to the deadline.

I sense somebody is speaking from personal experience.

white dog:
remember this is supposed to be fun! If people feel excluded they may not be fully committed when you're still shooting at 2 a.m.!!

Gregg Buchanan:
Yeah I know white dog,but when your wearing three hats like me on our team,it's wee bit different,also I like to think our team can compete for the great prizes Ant & co have got this year,& kudos for having these prizes in the first place Ant,makes for good 'incentive' within my team,so cheers..I don't want to make a peanuts movie white dog,if you get my drift..Sure we'll still have fun,but there's still the 'basic housekeeping rules' you need to stick too still when doing any production,whether a little mince cheese or the big cheese,& that was why I wrote what I did before..Re 2am shoots,film them 'much' earlier in the night,infact,do them first..& don't f around too much when setting up cameras & lights,keep it tight,but yet flexible,shoot rough if you have too..Good sound is more important.

- "I told ya Mikey,it's all in the details,the details"!

Ant Timpson:
looks like there maybe one more juicy big prize for each centre too to help feed the crew.

white dog:
with all due respect shoot all you can and take care on everything, and have fun. All possible if you're not out to "prove" something!

Gregg Buchanan:
That's cool white dog,but am not out to prove anything,just want to make something that has a 'decent' channce of getting one of the prizes up for grabs,that's all..Yes,have fun too as well,as I 'already' have mentioned before.

warwick 2b8:
there seems to be some moral highground to 'having fun in the 48 hour', you're both right, making a film IS fun, but being organised and pragmatic makes it even better

Having fun and not taking things too seriously seems to help the end product in this type of production.

You're working on a very different kind of timeframe to normal, it's best to take things easy, because stress and panic eats away at the time better than anything else.

killer puppy:
write friday

(Even if it is start-middle-finish,with ruff dialogue) make sure there is a story there going into saturday!!

shoot saturday

(only capture the good takes,use a clapper board!!,make sure you get coverage,get the close ups, get the wides.dont stress if you dont have THAT CRANE SHOT because the audience wont care. if you cant hear an actor or its out of focus thats what twill lose the crowd and as always STORY COMES FIRST!!

edit sunday

(if you are still shooting sunday,you got problems,leave your self plenty of time to cut your epic,because you want to be able to re vist the cuts after careful reflection,do not edit with a room full of crew,just the director and editor!!!!!!

Make a comedy!!

Gregg Buchanan:
killer puppy,that might be you,but I'm making sure the audience will hear everything my actors say,sound is important dude,I can't stress that enough..I've got three types of sound for this shoot,so there's no excuse,well for me anyway.

Peace & good luck there.

Well... that's why he went back up and fixed it. You know, in that post he sent under the one you're referring to.

High 5 for sound! Don't leave me hanging.

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From: Dunedin, Otago
Since: Apr 2011
Posts: 1115

Sound Effects, on CD people!


2009-2015 48 Hours Otago/Southland Manager, all-round filmy geek.
2008 - 'Oh! My Gucci Boots!' - Cats of a Feather - Director -*Best Costuming
2007 - 'ARC' - Schrodghers Cat - D.O.P.
2006 - 'Scarred-The Directors Cut' - Strange Attractor - Audience Favourite

From: Otaki
Since: Apr 2011
Posts: 1123

in reply to treefrog:

the bottom two bring back memories i had them on LP's way back when

YouTube has my stuff


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(because Aunty Hira said so, and she should know)

From: Christchurch
Since: Apr 2011
Posts: 346

yes I do this every year...

2019 - Maximum of 30 characters - The Holiday Movie:
Cabin Fever
2018 - Silence of the LAMZ - The Last day on Earth Movie: An Appointment with a Poo
2017 - (Guardian for two school teams)
-- Fart Chicken Productions - Musical (Transformation): TRANSformation
-- Kitty Aye Aye Films - Survival (Fate): Best Day Ever
2016 - (Guardian for two school teams)
-- Fart Chicken Productions - Horror: Glitchers
-- Kitty Aye Aye Films -Time Travel: One More Time(s)
2015 - (Guardian for two school teams)
-- Fart Chicken Productions - Musical: Find a Way
-- Kitty Aye Aye Films - Mad Science: Kitty-Matic 2000
2014 - Slept through this whole year...
2013 - [boo hoo - didn't participate]
2012 - The Juxtaposition - Action Movie: INFUSION
2011 - Princess Zoe Films - Fad Movie: Contra-fable-gooble 'ness
2010 - Princess Zoe Films (Rubber Tears) - Road Movie: 'Whole Wide World'
2009 - Team 'Rubber Tears' - Parallel World: 'Smoke and Mirrors'
2008 - Team 'Rubber Tears' - Juvenile Delinquent: 'Lipstick Karma'
2007 - Team 'Rubber Tears' - Grindhouse: 'Grindhouse Day Presents'
2006 - Team 'Rubber Tears' - War/Western: 'An Unruly Patch of Land'
2005 - Team 'Imagic Mushrooms' - Pretentious Art: 'Erar Muidem'

From: Auckland
Since: Apr 2011
Posts: 655

Digging up the deep cuts.

Wow, nimlin!

Frauleins, oh frauleins
2019 | Frank & Beans | Buddy Movie | ULTRA48 | DQ :) | Auckland Winner: Best Disqualified Film
2018 | MUST LOVE BOTS | Anti-RomCom | ULTRA48 | Heat 4 Audience Fav, Auckland Short List, Auckland Finalist: Best Script
2017 | I am ball 2 | Survival | ULTRA48
2016 | The Littlest Punk | Punk | Auckland finalist: Best Original Song
2015 | Crumbs | RomCom, Animated | DQ & Very bad!
2014 | I am ball | Musical, Animated | Auckland finalist: Best Use of Prop
2013 | Crybaby | Race Against Time | Boring!
2012 | S.U.L.A. | Urban Legend | Puppets
2011 | Kill Therapist | Revenge | Writer, Director, Actor | Notorious
2010 | Action Manu | Biopic | Writer, Director | Boring

Fractured Radius
2009 | All's Fair | Musical/Dance | Co-Writer
2008 | The End | Drama | Co-Writer | Auckland winner
2003 | F.I.T. | Cop/Crime | Peripheral

From: Wlg/Chc
Since: Apr 2011
Posts: 96

48Hour gold.

Section59 Films

2007 - Death Nurse (Grindhouse)
2008 - The Orphan and the Inn (Fairy Tale)
2009 - Larger Than Life (Realtime)
2010 - We took a holiday :)
2011 - Crime of the Centuries (Crime)
2012 - Pronoia (Crime) - Christchurch team: Intelligent Design
2012 - S.H.A.R.P. (Superhero) - Wellington team: Random Acts
2013 - Breath of the Gods (Techno Thriller) - Christchurch team: Intelligent Design
2013 - Scooter Girl (Obsessive Relationship) - Wellington team: Random Acts
2014 - Repute (Film Within A Film) - Christchurch team: Intelligent Design
2014 - The Talented Mr Chancey (Mistaken Identity) - Wellington team: Random Acts
2015 - In Bread, Love. (Romantic Comedy) - Christchurch team: Intelligent Design
2015 - Stealing Thoughts (Other Dimension) - Wellington team: Random Acts

From: Wellington
Since: Apr 2011
Posts: 1356

Nimlin and Treefrog were icons of the original forums that rarely haunt them these days.

Nitro is the last one standing.

2019 Depart'ners Buddy
2018 Thanks to the Academy Heist Ultra
2017 Forelsket Nutbar Films Buddy Sacrifice
2016 Con Troll Alt Delete Nutbar Films Horror Fan Favourite. City Finalist for Make-Up
2015 Hide and Seek Nutbar Films Mystery
2014 Confessions Nutbar, with a taste of Nimlin Film, within a film
2013 Made Maid Nutbar Films City Finalist for POV Shot Robot/Cyborg/Android
2012 I Still Dream in Colour Nutbar Films Action
2011 Raptured Golden Carrot Films Mystery
2010 Fraternal Fabrication Golden Carrot Films Twin
2009 I love you this much Golden Carrot Films Romance
2008 Luke Walker and the Golden Carrot William Shatner's Pants Animal

Captain Woodrow .F Call
From: Lonesome Dove
Since: Apr 2014
Posts: 30

Don't forget Shifty!


From: Wellington
Since: Apr 2011
Posts: 1356

in reply to Captain Woodrow .F Call:

So true.

2019 Depart'ners Buddy
2018 Thanks to the Academy Heist Ultra
2017 Forelsket Nutbar Films Buddy Sacrifice
2016 Con Troll Alt Delete Nutbar Films Horror Fan Favourite. City Finalist for Make-Up
2015 Hide and Seek Nutbar Films Mystery
2014 Confessions Nutbar, with a taste of Nimlin Film, within a film
2013 Made Maid Nutbar Films City Finalist for POV Shot Robot/Cyborg/Android
2012 I Still Dream in Colour Nutbar Films Action
2011 Raptured Golden Carrot Films Mystery
2010 Fraternal Fabrication Golden Carrot Films Twin
2009 I love you this much Golden Carrot Films Romance
2008 Luke Walker and the Golden Carrot William Shatner's Pants Animal