48 hours. Two days. Having competed in film contests that lasted only 8-12 hours in the past, two whole days to make a movie seemed like a really long time. I was very, very wrong.
The Fredericton 48 Hour Film Festival was unlike any film competition I’d done before. I was invited onto a team as a designated actor. We named ourselves Why Mickey Productions, and we met as a group only once before the contest began. This was to choose things for the inspiration package submissions.
The Fredericton 48 Festival has unique requirements: every group has to include the same set sentence in their film, and they have to incorporate an object and a location that were submitted by another group. We chose a Hallowe’en claw hand as our object to submit, and the Mactaquac Dam as the location. We broke, and did not see one another again until day one of the competition.
We arrived in Tilley Hall. We listened to a speech. One of my teammates drew two slips of paper from a hat, and we were given a box containing our object and a sticky note with a location. Our object? An obviously cursed dog statue/ash tray that looked like it was around when Anna Sewell wrote Black Beauty. Our location prompt said simply, “In front of a statue.” We took our sticky note and the dog (and possibly the trapped soul of an angry Victorian child), and went to brainstorm. The timer was on. 48 hours.
Our plot evolved over the course of the evening. I played a peculiar girl named Luna who ends up in a conflict with… a possessed dog statue. What is that? Is that a DOG?! was born, and I could not have been more excited. The moment I laid my eyes on the dog statue in our inspiration package, I knew one thing was going to happen that weekend come hell or high water: I was going to smash the statue. It had to be destroyed. There was something about it that was not right, and so it was written into the plot that Luna would kill the dog.
Jokes aside—even though I’m not joking about that dog—I learned a lot that weekend. I learned that sound equipment can be vindictive, we had to re-film scenes because the sound equipment decided not to pick up any noise. I learned that it is beyond rewarding to work with a dedicated group of people on a wild project and that you should always put pillows on the ground if you’re going to do your own stunt falls (off of couches). We finished with a half an hour to spare, and on Wednesday at the gala we got to watch our film, and all the others.
Watching yourself on a big screen is intimidating. However, watching yourself smash a haunted dog statue into a million pieces? That’s a power trip.