So I’ve been really bad about updating this thing… but I plan to make up for it this weekend! For three reasons! One, I am procrastinating doing my homework. Two, I have been stock piling my ideas. And three, it’s 1:40 am and I’m waiting for the side effects of my antibiotics to wear off so I can sleep.
Our first topic? The 54 Hour Film Festival! (And how I seem to have gotten sick in the first place…) I am the head of “I’d Like to Buy a Vowel Productions”, at least that’s what I call it. I founded it and talked people into helping me, I think that puts me in charge. Otherwise my friends probably should stop listening to me. The festival started Friday night but the story really starts Thursday morning, when I woke up all excited about the festival starting only to realize it was actually Thursday. Yeah, I’m one smart cookie.
Thursday night I was incredibly excited, I hadn’t been able to enter a film festival in a while and I had a really good team. I was going to bed and my throat started hurting, but I figured it was no big deal, my allergies play up all the time. I proceeded to spend most of Friday cursing my allergies and counting down until I got off work.
Friday 5 pm, my friend Jacob stopped by work to say hi and I decided to hang out with him instead of bolting downtown for the inception. Mom was already there to draw for us and by the time I got there, it’d be over and I’d have to turn around and drive right back to Turkey Creek. No point. 5:18 the text messages starting coming in from mom. The other team names, how many people were there, and that if you got a genre you didn’t want, you could draw again. She asked for a list of what I would have wanted. I had to pull the list up on Jacob’s phone while I scrambled to answer. Of course she didn’t draw anything I wanted, and I sat dumbfounded looking at “Mockumentary”. I had ideas on the back-burner for just about everything they could throw at me, but not that one. Mom sent me the prop, line of dialog, and action. So somehow we had to hit somebody with a VHS tape and ask why we do that to ourselves. I then had until 6:30 to kill for my team meeting so Jacob and I went to Burger King before throwing frisbee next to Appa in the Doggone Pretty parking lot.
6:30 just about on the dot, I arrived at the Lovell Road IHOP. The hostess asked me how many. “Well, I’m not really sure. It’s going to be four or six, we’re in college so it’s kind of hard to get a consistent number, and we’re going to be here a REALLY long time.” “Okay, I’ll stick you in the third shift waitress’ section.” “Thank you!” So she sat me down and I waited for the others to arrive. I have no idea in which order but I was quickly joined by Adam, Cole and Warren. We started tossing ideas, and oddly enough the second one we landed on was what we went with. (And no, I’m not revealing what it was. Go to the screening.) But we came up with a list of several ideas just in case, while downing lots of caffeine. I was wondering why I was so oddly tired already. We realized we were going to need more cast than we had planned so the phones came out and we started texting. Most answers were the same “Busy!” “Working. :(” and “Shooting 7 am to midnight”. Turns out we weren’t the only team from Pellissippi. About the only positive response I got was from a good friend of mine and a frisbee player who was a friend of my brother’s (who I’m pretty sure thinks I’m crazy). We hammered out the details on who was scripting and departed after 9 pm. I swung by Panera to say hi to a friend and then headed down to UT. Most of my equipment has been living in my brother’s apartment since we shoot over there so frequently.
I got to Volunteer Hall and hung out with Robby for a little bit. It was very strange to not being stressed over writing a script, but I was worried over the way my throat was starting to burn and I felt hot. He thought it was nothing and he walked me back down to Appa, wishing me good luck. I drove home and packed up everything I thought we could possibly need, planning an early night so there would be no way I could get sick. I hopped on Skype with Daniel, the only other original member of the I’d Like to Buy a Vowel Team and my DP. I filled him in on our plan and we worked out a better idea of who should do what.
7:30 am I wake up with a burning throat, painful swallowing and what felt like a fever. I didn’t want to get out of bed, but what could I do? I went hunting for ThermaFlu before I re-packed everything into my mom’s car so I wouldn’t have to drive and we headed for the shoot, swinging by McDonald’s to get breakfast for everyone. We were shooting in a vacant real estate property so mom would have to be on set with us all day, and she does the anxious, over-worrying mom very well. I warned our cast I was going to be cranky since I was sick as we unloaded the cars. Everyone said it’d be fine, but I was thinking, “No, not really.” I gave out the t-shirts the festival was nice enough to give us and we began stuffing Emory into a make-shift fat suit. It took us an hour to get set up, and I was doing my best to delegate without talking too much. The one cough drop we had disappeared all too quick, that was the one thing I forgot (besides the chef’s hat). We finished the first two scenes and I wound up laying down in the corner by my mom’s desk. Cole put his jacket over me since I was freezing and I finally got fed up enough to go hunt down a blanket. I actually wound up basically sleeping through the first half of the shoot. Daniel said it was the most inactive he’d ever seen me, and the day we met, I was on crutches. Robby’s friend Nathan texted me saying he was sorry he slept too late, and I told him if he could come at all, it’d still be a big help. Krissy was supposed to get there around four.
I told Cole and Daniel we should shoot my stuff soon, in case I didn’t have the energy to later. We started working on my big scene and my phone started buzzing: Krissy, her friend Zack, and Nathan got there within ten minutes of each other but it took me a while to realize the sick person probably shouldn’t be standing in the rain looking for their cars. They both got tossed into the big ending scene, and went along with it great. Adam wanted to film more of my part, and I had to run backwards down a hallway. I was supposed to turn and go around the corner, but knowing me, like that happened. I started to run backwards, and ran smack into the wall before I turned. The second time I felt the wall, then turned just in time. For the third take, Nathan said to just turn when I saw the other room beside me. Great idea, in theory. I saw the second doorway, and whipped to turn, and actually had the split second realization “Oh crap, the wall’s there, OW!” http://youtu.be/Vdv7sEdrda4
We were filming until well after 8 o’ clock. There were several scenes that were ruined by people breaking character and laughing, people off camera laughing so hard they were crying, and just general insanity. Like that’s not typical of us at all or anything. Breaking everything down and getting it loaded took longer than I would have liked, by that point all I wanted to do was get home and pass out. We hugged good-bye and left, Adam taking the cameras and footage with him to edit.
I got home and typed up our credits list, emailing it out as best as I could remember, and crashed.
10 am the next morning my phone started buzzing with clips being sent over our iPhones. (Best trick ever, film it playing on your computer and text the files. AMAZING!) Now I was full-blown sick with a stuffy nose and headache. Adam had been up most the night editing and was nearly done already. I gave him my feedback and he got it exporting. We were really pushing the time limit and had to cut a good three minutes of awesomeness. But it’s okay, that’s what the director’s cut is for!
5 pm my mom went to meet Adam to pick up the files, and took them on downtown to the drop off site. She put it in what I assume was a mail slot with my business card and came home in time to catch the Super Bowl.
By 11 pm, mom and I were starting to get worried we hadn’t gotten an email or call saying they had our movie, so I looked up the number for the director of the festival and handed mom the phone. I didn’t think he wanted to talk to a frog. They had it, and we were the first ones to submit. It was a good feeling, and totally worth a terrible sinus infection.
Well, it will be after the screening! Saturday February 18th at Carmike Cinemas on North Peters, 4 pm! BE THERE!