Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Things You Need (48 hour film project)

Here's what I did last weekend instead of playing WotLK (although some of the film was capped in Dalaran). I convinced my friend Ben from Oblivious Films to enter the 48 hour film project with me. You have 48 hours to make a film - how do they guarantee that you made the film in 48 hours? Well, you get three things that MUST be in the film - a character, a prop, and a line of dialogue. Also, you don't know what GENRE you are going to get - it could be anything from horror to comedy. As it turns out, we drew "Musical or Western". Being daring (and me being a musician) we decided to go for the Musical option.

The only sad news here is that, despite all our efforts, we had rendering problems at the very end and uploaded the film late to the 48 hr servers - which disqualified us. However, we started the film 3 hours behind everyone else (we are on the west coast, and they launched the teams on east coast time! grr), so technically we DID make the film in under 48 hours!

Here's a brief rundown of the weekend:

*FRIDAY, 4pm - I was still at work and Ben was driving up from San Diego, when they launched the teams. I had assumed we were starting at 7pm PACIFIC coast time, I didn't read the fine print and that was my mistake....a mistake that probably cost us >< . Didn't get home until about 7. Lost 3 hours there!

*When Ben arrived, he had a Pygmalion-like idea for a painter character who buys magic paint and uses it to make a painting of a girl come to life. I said fine! We wanted to make sure that we used all 3 elements they had given us in a MAJOR way so there could be no doubt that we had done the assignment in the given time. So the dialogue line was turned into the first song, and the main character was based on the character assigned, etc.

*After having dinner and agreeing on the outline of the basic story we decided that the best way to get the most done was to split up writing instead of sitting there together arguing over every line. I ended up writing the screenplay while Ben tackled song lyrics. We decided he should just write in rhyme blocks, whatever he wanted, and I would make up the music to them the next day. We wrote and wrote and finally finished around midnight.

*The last thing we did before getting some shuteye was sit at the computer and pick out all our character designs from Modelviewer so they were ready to go.

*SATURDAY Ben starts to go in-game and cap shots. I take all his lyrics and sit down at the keyboard with Protools and start to compose the music on piano.

*Pete shows up to record the voice for Pat, I take a break from writing to record him. Ben continues to cap.

*I finish the music for the most complicated song "Things You Need", Ben records a vocal demo over it and I email it to Sam who is standing by in Washington to orchestrate. We have a small break for lunch.

*1pm. Back to it. I finish the music for the rest of the songs. Damon and Zadra arrive and sing them. Ben takes a break from capping to do his lines. I give him a rough assembly of the songs to start assembling picture to. I finish editing the dialogue, and I record drums, bass and guitar for the one "rock" song in the film "Perfect Woman".

*Ben finished the first scene "I Need a Drink" and gets the work on the third because I volunteered to do the second. Some of Sam's orchestrations start trickling in and we are duly impressed.

*5pm. I am frustratedly trying to get my alienware laptop up and running after effects and premiere, but it runs like molasses. I finish maybe 3 shots of the "Things You Need" scene and at that point want to kill myself. I try to hook up another desktop but it turns out it's busted. I waste about 5 hours doing this until I discover at about 10pm that my smaller laptop actually has more RAM and does the work okay. I get about 1/3 of the scene done before collapsing. Ben's 1/2way done with another scene "Crazy Bitch Song." It's like 2 am and we collapse and go to sleep.

*8am I get my ass up and continue to work on my scene. Ben drags himself in and finishes the Crazy Bitch scene. Time is running out. Sam finishes the orchestration.

*2pm I finish my scene...I worry that I might have taken too long on it.

*3pm Ben finishes the third scene about Pat singing about his dream girl. We decide to drop the tag ending song cause we're running out of time and start the render. The render screws up!

*3:45 We start the render again but realize we're not gonna make it by the deadline. I email the contest person hoping for sympathy considering we didn't start until 7pm that first night...

*4:45 we finally get the movie re rendered and uploaded. We're late! We fail!

We still had a great time though and lessons were learned about having equipment ready and getting other technical specs taken care of BEFORE getting started...

1 comment:

Ryan said...

I love the movie and the making-of story that goes with it. Just brilliant, especially for 48 hours of work.

As a fellow Machinimist, I would never trust a PC, even Alienware, for time-critical projects. How about one of those shiny new 17 inch Macbook Pros, eh?

Good luck in all your future work!