Dehydration, a rash and 48 hours later….

Well, it was that time of the year again. The time of the year when people throw rhyme and reason out the window and succumb to chaos. The annual 48 Hour Film Festival had descended upon Greensboro this weekend and for the fourth year in a row, I was involved in it. Unlike the previous years, I decided to go ambitious and do something I had yet to do — direct a large cast and crew. Now fourteen people hardly seems like a large crew, but when you’re previous number is three, it can be a bit daunting.

This was a year of firsts for me: first time with a large crew, first time not directing my own script, first time not editing my own footage, first time feeling the pressure and becoming a little unraveled on a set. I wish I could say it was the first time I ever got a rash but unfortunately……

The air was hot that day, my friends, like coffee from a McDonald’s drive through. We shot seven hours in a factory warehouse with no air conditioning and no ventilation. I don’t know what dumb director thought that was a good idea, but it was not. Not only was it hot, but it was dirty. It seemed like every time I did anything I was covered in soot. Not a good thing when everyone is dressed in business attire. I’m actually happy the prop was a bandanna – I had something to mop my sweaty forehead. I was planning on being done with that set by noon, but nothing seemed to go as planned (which is par for the course during this festival), so we didn’t wrap that set until 3:00 pm. I’m actually surprised the cast and crew didn’t mutiny. I would have.

Thank goodness the second location had air conditioning. It was like going from hell to heaven. It seemed to uplift everyone’s spirits and got us moving along much faster. We were wrapped up at that set within three hours and I had plenty of time to get to my friend’s Gilligan’s Island theme party and drink myself to amnesia.

I stumbled out of bed on Sunday at around 10:00 am and checked my phone to see if I hadn’t missed the need for re-shoots call. I, to my amazement, had not. I headed down to High Point University to see how the editing was going and things weren’t going so well. Our four minute film was going to be short — by two minutes. But Brad (the editor), came up with a very creative solution that I think improved what we had and we were able to come in on time — by one second. I let Brad go to work while I headed down to Hooters to have lunch and enjoy the….wings.

I came back to High Point University at 5:00 to have a look at the footage, fill out the wrap up form (too many damn freaking forms!), and write out the credits. Things seemed to be going fine, but the film still wasn’t finished with a lot left to do. I started to get nervous. And then at around 6:30 things went from bad to worse. Final Cut Pro was only rendering half of the SD version. It appeared to render fine, but only two minutes was rendered out. We double checked the out point on the time-line and rendered again — same thing! So we were forced to render out to HD first and then to SD at 6:45 and I was at least a half hour away from the drop off point in Greensboro. This time if the render didn’t work it wasn’t going to be in on time. I promised Brad that if he could have that done and on a flash drive by 7:10, I could be at the drop off by 7:30. Brad told me to get in my car and have the engine ready. Tick tock, tick tock.

I waited in my car for what seemed like an eternity. Brad jumped out the door, down the steps and handed me the flash drive at 7:08. Breaking every driving law imaginable, I shot towards Greensboro like a cannon. My engine screamed and I said, “shut up and let me drive.” Through red lights, slow drivers and oncoming traffic, I made my way towards Greensboro with only one thing on my mind: I’m glad this weekend is done. I parked my car and ran down the street in my achingly painful flip-flops towards the Broach’s entrance. Hurdling pedestrians, I jumped through the door at……..7:28! Wow, room to spare. I guess I didn’t need to run that last red light.

Well, it’s another year in the books. To quote Peterman: “congratulations on a job…done.” I want to thank my cast and crew for being troopers and helping me along the way. I couldn’t have done it without them. I had a great time and looking forward to doing it again next year — for some odd reason.

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