We Made a Film in 48 Hours

  • Categories:

    Video Production

  • Date:

    August 12, 2015

We Made a Film in 48 Hours



Video Production

After honing her craft in New York City as a writer and producer for MTV, Katie Moore joined Wray Ward as a writer in 2015. She is a Charlotte native and a College of Charleston graduate.

This past weekend, six Wray Ward staffers stayed up for almost 48 hours straight. On purpose.

Hour 49 didn’t promise a cash prize, limited edition sneakers or tickets to opening night of the next “Star Wars” saga. We stayed up because of the unshakable need to create something we were collectively passionate about.

As participants in The 48 Hour Film Project, we had the rare opportunity to bring together our unique artistic sensibilities with one single and clear objective: make something we love. The 48 Hour Film Project (48HFP) encourages filmmakers from cities around the world to flex their creativity in a nearly impossible amount of time, all while boosting their local film communities.

After drawing a genre, prop, character name and line of dialogue, Charlotte teams were given from 7 p.m. Friday until 7 p.m. Sunday to write, shoot, edit and score a 4 to 7-minute short film.

Inspired by the chance to step out of our comfort zones and hopeful at the chance to make a little noise, we landed on the team name Outside Voices. A week before kick-off, we reviewed the genres we might draw and assigned team roles:

  • Aaron Putnam would be our leader and direct.
  • Devon Chandler would be producer and keep our merry band of troublemakers on track.
  • Griffin Glaze would bring her bag of assorted tricks to her role as editor, graphics and grip.
  • Justin Smith’s incomparable eye would create a unique visual world, so we made him director of photography.
  • Lewis Dameron’s ability to capture organic moments would guide camera and audio, while his carabineer sidekick would act as lead grip…
  • …and I would write the script.

Friday night

7 p.m. Friday marked game time. Aaron and Lewis anxiously awaited the fate of our film at The Light Factory, while Griffin, Devon, Justin and I sat at my apartment, reviewing potential concepts and sampling the latest A$AP Rocky album to keep energy high. Aaron and Lewis called with each piece of news so we could hit the ground running once they arrived at my place. They’d drawn “Fish Out of Water” as our genre plus a garden hose prop, the name Scarlet O’Farrell and the line “I have a funny feeling about this.”

Three pizzas, several beers and two and a half hours later, we’d landed on a concept and rough storyline. Aaron immediately locked down our actors—one from the 48HFP casting call and one through personal connections. The team left to get a couple hours of sleep while I wrote and fought off a small panic attack. By 2:30 a.m., I’d sent the first draft of the script to the team. By 4 a.m., we’d locked it down. Aaron and Justin headed straight to the office to break out shot lists.

shooting ParachuteSaturday morning and afternoon

At 6 a.m. Saturday, the whole team including our lead actor met at Wray Ward to get started. We called in favors to family and friends to lock down locations and secondary characters, and we utilized public spaces to keep it simple. Wardrobe and props represented a hodgepodge of our actors’ and the team’s belongings. Our second lead actor met us at the first location a couple of hours later (rising stars have the most demanding schedules).

Saturday night and Sunday morning

By 8 p.m., we’d wrapped shooting. Aaron and Griffin’s laser-focus brought our story to life in the wee hours of the morning, while the rest of the team attempted to get some shut-eye.

By 2 a.m. Sunday, we had a rough cut in place.

At 6 a.m. Sunday, the team reconvened at Wray Ward to review the rough. We spent all of Sunday perfecting color, music and timing to accurately capture the energy of our “Fish Out of Water” genre and the story and characters we’d become so attached to.

Sunday afternoon

As 5 p.m. approached, tensions were running high, and exports were running slowly. We devised a plan that would send Aaron to The Light Factory with our mandatory labeled USB drives, while Justin, Griffin and I watched it one last time to correct any major snafus.

By 6:30 p.m., Justin was driving Griffin and me down Central Avenue like a bat out of hell. I clutched the newly revised cut in my hands like the precious brain-child, my heart pumping louder than our blaring music.

Sunday night

We swapped USBs with Aaron at The Light Factory and submitted the final cut to the 48HFP team along with a mountain of paperwork including cast and crew, location, music and materials releases. After we clarified a false failed reading on the USBs and realized we were officially finished, we all stopped sweating for the first time in, well, 48 hours.

I went to bed Sunday night in a haze of exhaustion, weightless in the sur-reality of what we’d just accomplished. I think each of us on the team would agree that crossing that finish line is one of the most rewarding things we’ve done in our vastly different and storied careers so far. While we love the finished product, perhaps even more than we anticipated, we relish the energizing feeling of creating something not to please others, pay the bills or gun for a promotion, but simply because we love the process. We created something that is uniquely ours, made from and inspired by our combined voices and gifts. Something we hope our audiences will love and relate to. More importantly, we made something we want to share.

On that note, we hope everyone will cheer us on at the premiere of our film, “Parachute,” set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, August 20 at the McGlohon Theatre.

If you can’t make it, you’ll just have to wait until next year’s screening. Right, team?