VF48Hours Lockdown Forum

From: wellington
Since: May 2013
Posts: 179

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What I learned this year

Well... my second year managing/directing/producing and editing a 48hours film... I must say, despite our vehicle crapping itself just before the launch and our editor coming down with a debilitating vomiting bug on Saturday morning, it felt fairly relaxed this year!

Once again i learnt alot!:

1. Flying back from Auckland for an ETA in Wellington at 6.35pm Friday is VERY stressful! especially when you learn that the only person with keys to get into the team base has just blown up the car and is stranded on the way to picking up half the team AND the editing computer...

2. make sure you have more than one vehicle and driver available at any one time :D

3. Underwater cameras are AWESOME!

4. Don't let your cinematographer talk you into letting him not use a tripod for a single shot... Tripod = good.

5. Editing film is like riding a bike... first time back, you fall off and break your arm and from then on it is fine... It is good to know I can still do it myself if I don't have an editor :D

6. Sound off the camera (Canon 7D is INFINITELY better than off a cheap external mic (OMG the HUM!)

7. A good computer makes all the difference - whilst not perfect, Our film is way cleaner and more professional looking than last time. I could actually watch our film pre-render this year - that makes editing SO much easier! The render took 20mins instead of 3 hours :D

8. Getting up at 7am Sunday not 5am to continue editing actually ended up more productive than getting up at 5am (based on last year)

9. Experience helps! 80% of the team this year was in the team last year so I didn't have to answer endless questions about the competition!

10. Alcohol and spa pool on Friday evening makes for a very tired team come Saturday morning...

11. Facebook is a great way to organise your team... except for that one person who refuses to sign up for facebook... grrr....

We had so much fun this year :D

What did you guys learn?


From: Auckland
Since: Apr 2011
Posts: 442

in reply to R17:

I can't say I agree with number 4, if your running out of time then ditching the tripod and going handheld can be the difference between getting what you need to tell the story or going away to post production with an unfinished film.
If you are lucky you might manage some pickups on the sunday but it's not something I want to have to rely on ever again.

Team Spielberg craigbickerstaff@me.com +64212166821
The longest running non-finalist in the competition.
2020 Lockdown Read, are the tea leaves : The Unwanted Guest
2019 Burgled on High : Musical ULTRA
2018 The How, The What, The Who and The Why : The Heist Movie ULTRA
2017 Operator Part II Twin Souls : Thriller/Horror One Room ULTRA
2016 The Real Time Movie : What kind of day has it been
2015 Other Dimension Movie : Rift
2014 Race Against the Clock : EIGHT POINT FIVE
2013 Musical : Wolfgang
2012 Horror : The Unrested Soul
2011 One Room (Horror) : Operator -- Audience favourite
2010 Twin Movie : Secrets in Dowsing
2009 M Night Big Twist Film : The Unfinished
2008 Drama : Breakfast at Four
2007 War : Purple Heart
Sakura Productions
2006 Musical : Sardines
2005 Mockumentary : Smuggling for Dummies DQ'ed

From: Wellington
Since: May 2012
Posts: 7

We used ADR exclusively this time - it made it SOOO much easier to direct puppets when you could talk to them live on set.

We have a really big team, on average about 45. It's more like a 48 hour family, so we find spreading the load out between us evenly across the weekend works, but I still only ever get 4 hours sleep.

Food is also really important, we all pay into a kitty and I organise someone to feed us over the weekend.

We have quite a defined hierarchy as to who does what so each department Head can wrangle their team and liaise with the director. We have an physical Art department and a Digital digital art department as we make all of our sets and effects. Having such a big team you need to have a structure to make it work, but everyone's contribution is valuable, and we have heaps of fun!

We are really lucky that we have the run of Massey's Design school so alot of our set pieces are sourced from the skip and fabricated in the studio.

The core of our team is pretty much the same, but each year we include students and recent graduates as a way of learning about the industry. We set up the team like a mini production studio, so the roles feel real and everyone can have a taste of the film-making process.

It's interesting to see how teams form, I was curious about Moffilaide too, they make some hilarious films!
Our team members have been part of Traces of Nut in the early years, but we really cut our teeth with Masonic Pictures, hence our obsession with fabricated sets :)

2014 Dust Boot "The Host" - Director, Producer, Puppet designer
2013 Dust Boot "Sleep Shepherds" - Director, Producer, Puppet designer - (Wellington + National Art Direction Winner)
2012 Dust Boot " Not one Tear" - Producer, Puppet designer - (Wellington finalist) ( Winner Wellington Art direction + Sexiest Short)
2009 Traces of Nut "Free Range" - Art Department - (Wellington finalist)
2008 Masonic Pictures "The Heist" - Art Department - (Wellington finalist)

From: Wellington
Since: May 2013
Posts: 5

in reply to R17:

I have entered high school teams consisting of our media studies students for the last four years. The first year we had two teams, then four then eight and this year 10 teams. What I've learnt is that:

a) As long as everybody in the team gets along(ish), and is keen and enthusiastic you only really need at least ONE person in the team who has prior experience writing, shooting and editing a short film in order to actually make a film in 48 hours. As long as you have that one person, anybody can get in on the fun and be a part of a team. What I've found is that with 8 or 10 teams to manage there will usually be one team where there is absolutely zero experience and I insert myself into that team as a member. By the end of the weekend, the rest of the team have gone from abject beginners to being able shoot and edit scenes on their own while I go off and help out the other teams to finish their films. So I really see this competition as a fun, learning experience, for me as well as the students.

b) 48 hours is actually quite a decent chunk of time to make a short film. The first year we entered we included three dogs in the script who proved very difficult to direct, chose multiple locations all over Wellington, did green screen shots without a "proper" green screen (just a sheet of material tacked to the wall), but we still managed to finish the film pretty much as intended from the script written on Friday even though we had quite a lot of shooting still to do on Sunday.

c) You need to LOVE the script before you go to sleep on Friday night. This year and last year we pitched our story idea to one of the other teams, got feedback, wrote the script, got outside feedback again and made adjustments. That process ironed out any kinks in the story and introduced cool embellishments that we wouldn't have otherwise thought of.

Last year we had a tight script that I knew would work fine with audiences, but I didn't really love it - it was a bit derivative. There were some talented students on the team that year and we shot and edited pretty well and got nominated for a few awards at the Wellington final - great result for us. There were really no major technical flaws at all in that short film.

This year I knew we had a funny script because people were loving it just from the pitch! After writing it up, I loved it too. The execution of the script was a lot sloppier than the previous year, with quite a few shots I wish could be done again, lots of technical foul ups, a role that necessitated me to have to (ham) act, but none of that mattered. We shot and edited the script that people at the pitch loved and we somehow made it into the Wellington finals this year, for the first time! So, I guess they really do mean it when they say story trumps technical in the 48HOURS comp!

2014 - Clingfilmers - Gas Leak (Wellington finalist, Winner: best school team, nom: best visual effects)
2013 - Deslyxic - Cut Up (Wellington nom: best school team, use of prop, use of line, use of POV shot. Winner best use of line)
2012 - Newlands College Clingfilmers - YOLO (Wellington nom: best school team)
2011 - Newlands College Cinephiles - The Rise of Dogboy

From: Auckland
Since: Apr 2011
Posts: 291

For me what I learned this year is...

1. To relax, whatever will be will be. Have a problem, take a breath and deal with it.

2. To embrace our strengths - don't try to make a 'serious' film (last year) when you are still delivering lines in a comedic manner and deep down your fighting your best tendencies.

3. Believe that no matter what, there is always a chance the judges will enjoy what your doing. Regardless of your genre, style, gear, talent etc

4. Always make sure you are enjoying it and you're not taking yourselves too seriously.

2019 "The Drop" - Secret Identity - ULTRA SOLOish
2018 "Furry" - The Wish Movie - ULTRA DUO - Heat 3 runner up Audience Favourite
2017 "The Grove 2: Survival with a vengeance" - Survival ULTRA
2016 "A Baaaaad Habit" - Bro Movie
2015 "Barry's World" - Other Dimension - Best Animation Auckland region
2014 "Brick Impact" - Race Against the Clock - Auckland Finalist - Heat 5 runner up Audience Favourite
2013 "Frankie goes to Horrorwood" - Horror - Heat 6 - runner up Audience Favourite
2012 "Brick's Quest" - Fantasy Adventure - Heat 8 - Audience Favourite
2011 "Playin the Game" - Mystery
2010 " Syd's Garage - a study in Autoeroticism" - Musical - Heat 4 - Audience Favourite
2009 "Doggone" - Family Movie (was a doggone waste of time)
2008 "Sounds of Romance" - Romance
2007 "The Grove" - Crime - Auckland finalist, best script award

From: Christchurch
Since: May 2011
Posts: 418

The biggest thing for me this year
was that I learned that less is more in terms of brainstorming and writing.

I involved too many people (about eight in total) in the Friday night brainstorming
and there were too many competing wavelengths between us
so that we burned through an outrageous amount of good ideas and storylines
before finally settling on the one that became the film.

In the future, I am going to ensure it's only a few people
and that those chosen few are on a similar enough wavelength
to not majorly jump tracks multiple times.

Even now, the best 48HOURS film I've made
is one I did for fun over Easter weekend 2011
with a total of four people involved.
It was the most focused, most interesting, and most fun of any of the ones I've done
and we adhered to the same rules as the actual comp
to make it legit (for us).

2014 - Robocrop - "Pads of Passion" RomCom (Best Original Score - Christchurch)
2013 - Robocrop - "The Price of Pilsner" Horror
2012 - Robocrop - "Promises" Crime - DQed (Nominated Best DQed Film)
2011 - Robocrop - "Protocol" One Room (Crime) - LATE