Click here to see all of the Scalawag Pictures 48 Hour Film Festival entries.
Real Pros Do It in 2 Days.
Shooting Richard is a 48 Hour Film Project veteran. For the past nine years, the 48 HFP has been coming to Richmond, Virginia, and Shooting Richard has been the team leader for Scalawag Pictures for seven of those years (was away on productions for the other two years).
The 48HFP is a film challenge that travels from city to city across the globe. In every city, team leaders build production teams and anticipate the kickoff. On a Friday night, each team leader is given a genre for their film, and must include a given character, prop, and line of dialogue. The teams then have 48 hours – and we mean, to the minute – to write, cast, rehearse, shoot, edit, animate, and finish a 7-minute short film. The winner in each city is sent to the finals.
But winning the “Best Film” in your city award isn’t the only prize. Every year about a dozen awards are given to those who’ve earned them. These awards are for things such as “Best Writing”, “Best Acting,” or “Best Editing”. Shooting Richard’s team, Scalawag Pictures, has won over 20 awards in the past several years.
But awards and street cred aren’t the only reasons Scalawag Pictures produces films for the 48HFP. Over the years, it’s been a blast. Richard has had the chance to work with crews as small as 2 and as large as 50, he’s gotten to produce and direct some of the most ridiculous, talented people in Virginia, and has finished horrors, dramas, romances, and even a musical.
Each year, Scalawag Pictures tries to use the 48HFP not just as a chance to make a short film in a hurry, but as a chance to try different techniques that challenge the team. It’s a (relatively) safe opportunity to try new things like a single-take horror film (“Building 29″), frozen-time graphics tracking (“Sauced”), music and dance choreography (“Wired!”), and even writing a romance that takes place after the apocalypse (“Fresh Air”). Without this opportunity, we might have to use the trial-and-error method on paid client work, and that’s never a good idea. Instead, experiment for a festival, so you’ve already got it down when it’s time for the real deal.
By producing and directing each year, Richard has also had the chance to work with some talented and creative groups and associations. Groups such as West End Comedy, Fraga Studios, Clutter Cleaner, and Heavenly Ham (which is no longer in Richmond, according to their website…so sad). Each person who worked on the 48HFP with us has been a huge help, and hopefully has gotten some experience and exposure because of our work.
For those trying to get some experience or break into the film world, the 48HFP is an excellent way to start. Along with the project itself, each completed film screens at a movie theater (in Richmond it’s always the the Byrd Theatre), and they typically throw wrap parties, mixers, and loads of other networking events at different businesses around the city. It’s a great networking opportunity, and a chance to meet and mingle with some of your area’s film talent.
You can also jump on a team if you don’t have the network to support being a team leader. Crews are always looking for extra hands, and some of the teams lead to bigger opportunities. In Richmond, many of the local large production companies run a team each year, as well as a few of the ad agencies and independent producers. Besides, it’s fun. As Patrick, the owner of Sprocket, says, “there’s a reason there’s no such thing as a 48 hour accounting project”. Filmmaking is one of the only jobs in the world where working feels so much like enjoying yourself. Shooting Richard like to take advantage of that.
If you’re interested, the 48HFP is probably somewhere near you. Check it out, because there’s almost nothing to lose and so, so much fun to be had.