Jeff Brock | Frame by Frame

Monday, June 26, 2006

48 Hours ... Sleep is for the Weak

I slept like a rock the last two nights to recover from the wonderful madness that is the 48 Hour Film Project. Although "madness" isn't the right word to describe how smoothly the filming went with director Darwin Meiners and Trick Knee Productions. I had the pleasure of working with Darwin in the indie feature Fairfield, Idaho, and he asked me to take part in his 48 Hour team.

The 48 Hour Film Project brings together teams of filmmakers who have 48 hours to write, shoot, and edit a film. At 7pm on Friday, they gave us the elements our film had to include:
  • prop: a pillow
  • line of dialogue: "When are you going to clean up this mess?"
  • a character: Mark or Margo Plantagenet, Foreign Ambassador
  • genre: romance
After getting the list, Darwin and producer Jeremy Moore whipped up a two and a half page script for a five-minute short called "Like Lightning" [Watch the completed film.] They had already pulled together a fantastic crew (including Jon Lohne, who shot and edited Fairfield) and cast (the highly talented Lin Shukla and Steve McMoy). I played a mechanic, which was a nice excuse to get my hands really greasy.

Watching all the elements come together was exhilarating ... they made use of all kinds of personal connections, from the sets (a mechanic's garage run by a friend of Jon's) to an amazing prop that was printed out on another friend's large-format printer. We filmed throughout the night on Friday (one of my favorite memories is walking in character through the quiet, near-deserted streets of downtown Santa Rosa), slept a couple of hours in a tent out back, and picked up again on Saturday morning. Darwin kept things really tight -- we actually finished shooting at dinnertime on Saturday, as promised.

I especially enjoyed watching Lin get into character: a prostitute who's been beaten by a foreign ambassador, and to whom I provide shelter. Lin has such respect for acting and her process, and is a wonderfully giving person. We improvised a lot to dig deeper into our characters.

We actors had it comparatively easy -- when we wrapped, Darwin and his team still had another 24 hours of work to do: editing, laying down music tracks, and actually dropping off the kit'n'caboodle at the 48 Hour Film Project's office in San Francisco by 7pm Sunday.

For me the weekend felt like the essence of the best in indie filmmaking -- smart, innovative, heartfelt, and FAST! Check out the final film (along with a dozen other entries) at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco on Tuesday, June 27 (you can buy tickets online). The program plays at 7pm and again at 9:30pm.


At 3:44 PM, Anonymous Darwin Meiners said...

The pleasure was all mine. Working with such a fine, understated actor. An actor that knows that acting is when you are NOT talking!

Hope to do this again,


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