So on the weekend beginning October 8th myself and a group of Superfreak regulars embarked on our first 48 Hour Film Contest. We have done the Five Lamps 24 Hour Film Competition for the past few years and were even lucky enough to place third this last year with WRECKAGE. The thing that really appealed to me the most about entering this contest was the brief and the opportunity it presented us with. The competition itself was/is a part of the Grindhouse Planet Film Festival which will be screening its entries and other films on Sunday 27th November – TICKETS ARE ON SALE NOW. We have been lucky enough to already have a film showing in their short film showcase – SANDMAN will be making another public appearance – but we also wanted to enter their 48hour contest and see how we did with the challenge.
Throughout my career so far I have loved to watch old Grindhouse flicks and loved what Tarantino and Rodriguez did to revitalise the ‘genre’ and bring the exploitation flicks of yesteryear back into the public eye. To enter the contest the brief was to create a short film or trailer no longer than 3 minutes in length that fit under the banner of Grindhouse. For some time I had really wanted to make a campy faux trailer for a forgotten horror film from the 60’s/70’s. The competition seemed like the perfect way to kill two birds with one stone.
Now I knew approaching the project a lot of the other filmmakers would take an action/exploitation approach with the content of their films so in doing as much prep as possible before the shoot days I tried to throw together a concept that allowed us to really have some fun. Overall I decided a ‘horror’ approach might set us aside from the competition. I thought our best bet would be to shoot as much as we could and create a trailer that was literally all ‘KILLER’ and no ‘filler’. In the week leading up to the shoot I was lucky enough to pursue a contact at Tab’s Productions and get some help with costuming and props to ensure everyone involved looked straight out of the 70’s. I am literally so thankful to TAB’s for all of their help on the trailer, without them it wouldn’t look or feel anything like the final product. Having costumes sorted for the talent I had scrambled together I knew I had locations that were reliable, including for the majority of the shoot my own home, the main challenge would be making it look like everything we were shooting was in a 70’s gothic setting.
I had so many ideas and set ups I wanted to shoot for the trailer to make it look like the best bits of an actual feature film had been chopped together to form our trailer. I knew in the days leading up to the shoot it was going to be a challenge and quite honestly was worried if we were going to be able to pull it off or if I was just being a little over ambitious. Come the day of the shoot we received our brief at 12:30 including the prop, action and dialogue we must include.
THE PROP: SCISSORS/SHEARS
ACTION: OBJECT MUST FALL TO THE FLOOR
DIALOGUE: “WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON AROUND HERE?!”
It was a real relief to see that the demands of the festival were not something we could worm into our little idea. Everything had come together perfectly and the required elements were peppered into set ups throughout the shoot. Looking in reflection at the shoot there really isn’t anything I would have done differently. I am so extremely thankful to everyone who gave up their time and energy on Saturday to ensure we got all the footage we needed to cut together our trailer Sunday. Shooting went without hitch, in fact it was probably one of the smoothest shoots I have had the pleasure of working on and all in all, preparing as much as I could beforehand really helped with that.
On the shoot I really got to fulfil some items of the ‘Filmmaking Bucket-List.’ I got to shoot a séance, filled with a smoky atmosphere, tarot cards and flickering candlelight. I got to shoot an exorcism, which I have wanted to do for as long as I can remember (however weird that sounds, I am a horror geek), I also got to include a demonic child, Giallo themed homages to classics like Psycho and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, I even had the chance to cameo as a seedy 70’s porn star named Big ‘DURK’ Wilson. It really was a dream come true and everyone was so game for everything I threw at them, quite literally in some cases. This was my first time working with some people in front of the camera and for others it was great to be reunited, even on such a bizarre project. I could not be more proud of this little trailer and all that we managed to achieve in just 48 hours. It was really great to have room to experiment on this and shoot something completely wacky. I didn’t need to worry about sound, continuity, performances could be incredibly OTT, it was so weird approaching a project like that. I already want to do another or expand the trailer into a short because it was just so much fun to shoot and edit. Moving onto the post production side of things I think I really underestimated how difficult I would find a 48 hour film competition as opposed to the 24 hour ones I had done in the past. Having more time it meant I was able to shoot for an entire day and then look to edit in the other. Having shot for 13 hours + on the Saturday when I came to the edit Sunday I was incredibly tired. I didn’t end up exporting the final cut of the trailer until 5:30 AM, Monday morning, so the weekend was rather tiring. Would I do it again?! Hell yeah, just let me sleep a bit more first!
As a filmmaker I feel incredibly fortunate to have a great network of people around me and have access to great resources. The trailer really is a perfect demonstration of how thinking creatively means you can afford to be ambitious and really bring your vision, however crazy, to life. I am super proud of everyone involved and of the trailer we created. I cannot wait to unleash it but first we have to see how we did when it is screened in November. I will be sure to keep you guys up to date as I know myself and Jonno (D.O.P) plan to head along and check out all the other fun films that are to be shown there, so no doubt there will be a special GRINDHOUSE PLANET themed Blog Post on the way. Once the trailer has been shown, regardless of the outcome we will be sure to make it public online.
For now take some more Screen Grabs and prepare for ‘NIGHT OF THE DERANGED VIRGINS – FROM HELL.’ – COMING SOON (RATED R+)
Thanks as always and until next time…
DON’T BE A STRANGER: