So you want to do the 48 Hour Film Project with Discordian Films…
Or maybe with Crimes of the Art. We’re kind of interchangeable. (If you care about why we’re one and not the other at any given time, ask and ye shall learn.)
For those interested in participating in the 48 Hour Film Project with our team, here’s what the competition looks like from the Discordian/COTA perspective:
- Anyone who is going to be on-set or at the Friday night brainstorming session must be vaccinated for Covid. There will be no exceptions. We will check vaccine cards. Some people on the team are immune-compromised, and nobody on the team wants Covid.
- We are not requiring masks. But if you want to wear one, go for it.
- We use the Discordian Films Facebook group to organize for the 48. You will need to be invited to the group by someone who is in it, someone who is a friend of yours. If you want in and do not currently have any Discordians Facebook friends, feel free to friend me (Joe Dzikiewicz) and I’ll add you. Let me know that you’re going to do this, though – if I don’t recognize your name, I might ignore the friend request.
- If you don’t do Facebook, that’s okay. Just get in touch with me and I’ll make other arrangements to get the necessary info to you.
- We get the filmmaking assignment on Friday evening by 7:00 PM. We send an agent to the pickup place to get the assignment. That person texts it to us at our staging location.
- Sometimes this is a virtual pick-up, where the nice people from the 48HFP email the assignment to us. That’s happened a lot during Covid.
- The staging location is usually the home of one of our members. She lives near Great Falls National Park in McLean. We have a variable number of people Friday evening to brainstorm the story. After an hour or two of brainstorming, our designated screenwriter retreats to a back room to write a script. She will emerge after an hour or two with a completed script. We assign roles, do an initial read-through, tell everyone where to meet the next day, tell the actors what to bring in the way of clothes, props, etc, and then most people go home. A core team consisting of director, screenwriter, cinematographer, and assistant director then meet for an hour or so to plan for the next day.
- If we decide to stage somewhere, else, we’ll announce it to the Facebook group.
- Call time on Saturday is usually 9:00 AM. Filming location varies.
- Saturday is a long day. We keep going until we’re done filming. This has been as early as 7:00 PM and as late as Midnight.
- Sunday is post-production. A small editing team meets, usually at my house in Alexandria. We work through the day to make the best movie we can out of what we filmed on Saturday. We occasionally post updates to the Facebook group, though they get loopier and loopier throughout the day – I’m usually getting awfully short on sleep by now: on a restful 48 Saturday night, I get three hours of sleep.
- Then it’s time for the mad dash to the dropoff, where we have to be by 7:30. Usually my wife drives me. I usually do last-minute edits on the way, and will occasionally render a last version or two at the drop-off point, which for the DC 48 is somewhere in DC. Hopefully, by 7:15 or so I’ll announce that we got the film in on time. (We haven’t missed yet, fingers crossed.)
- Sometimes this is just a matter of uploading the film. That’s a lot easier, but less exciting. It’s happened a lot during Covid.
- I’m not allowed to put the film online until after the first screening, which is usually about a week after the competition. Shortly after the screening, I’ll put the movie online. Sometimes I’ll do more edits, so the version I put up will be an editor’s cut and not the competition cut.
- If you happen to see me in the week between drop-off and screening and I have a computing device with the movie handy, I’m always happy to show you the movie. We’ve occasionally had people show up at the drop-off to say hi – I always show them the movie once I’ve gotten it in.
- Did I mention that the movie will be screened in a movie theater? Well, almost always: there are some cases where it doesn’t happen. But it does mean that there’s a good chance that if you join us, you’ll get to see your work on the big screen.
- At some point, when I’m allowed, I will put the movie up online. If you don’t want video of you online, you shouldn’t accept an on-camera role. If you still want to play, that’s okay – there’s plenty of things to do that don’t involve being on camera.
- We’ve been known to enter different 48’s. We’ve entered DC, Baltimore, and Richmond, as well as some of the special 48’s and related competitions. Keep an eye on the Facebook group for announcements on the competitions we’ll enter.
- If you show up on Saturday, I’ll promise you a job on the set. If you let me know that you’re going to show up on Saturday and you want a part, I’ll try to give you one.
- I can’t always promise a great role. But if you want a big part, there’s things you can do to improve your chances.
- Show up on Friday night at the brainstorming session. This is important, especially if you haven’t worked with us before. (If you’re a veteran of several of our 48’s, or I’ve worked with you on some other project, this is not required.) It helps for us to have the team be able to see what you look like, get a good idea of your abilities, ask you what you’re willing to do (we don’t ask for anything terrible, but we may occasionally ask you to sing).
- We’ve occasionally had people we haven’t worked with drop out on Saturday morning. It’s left us shy about giving major roles to newcomers who were not present Friday. At this point, I’m making it a standing policy that I will not cast as leads people who don’t show up on Friday who I have not worked with. My apologies for this, but Saturday is stressful enough, so I want to reduce the chances that I’ll have to make a last-minute casting change for a major role.
- On the other hand, we’ve given lead roles to first-time Discordians who did show up on Friday, and they’ve done a great job. Sometimes these are people who didn’t know any of us, sometimes they are people who knew only one of us. We like this – it’s always a pleasure when someone new steps up and brings unexpected skills to the table.
- One note: we cannot use SAG/AFTRA actors for a 48. I’m sorry about that, but we always put our films up online, and SAG/AFTRA requires that we pay SAG actors if we put the films online. We’re not able to commit to that. Hopefully, we’ll find some other time or place to work together.
- Finally, my goals at the 48 are always the same. In order of decreasing priority, they are:
1. Keep everyone safe.
2. Have fun.
3. Make a good movie.
We hope you decide to join us!