48 Hour Film Project, 2009: Washington, DC

Early bird registration for the 48 Hour Film Project has closed in DC, but regular registration is still open.

Team Gefilte Fish Eye shoots Damned Love in Tel Aviv in 2008.

Team Gefilte Fish Eye shoots 'Damned Love' in Tel Aviv in 2008.

This year, 48 Hour Film DC, takes place on the weekend on May 1st.  Yet again, I have a conflict that weekend, but I know of several people with teams in the mix this year and I might still find some way to get involved.  (Of note, 48 Hour Film Boston, is the same weekend and has already filled up, but you can get on the waiting list.)

Your Mission

For the uninitiated, 48 Hour Film Project is competition where you a write, shoot, edit and score a short film in 48 hours.

  • On the Friday evening at the beginning of the 48 hours you are given a genre for your film as well as a character, a prop, and a line to include in your movie.
  • On Sunday, the film is due, in completed form, to be screened in a local theater in the following week.
  • According to the 48 Hour Film Project site, last year there were 30,000 participants in 70 cities.  The Project has been around since 2001, and looks to be going strong.

This all makes for a crazy weekend of filmmaking fun and I highly recommend it to anyone with a weekend to spare.  Oh, right, and there are prizes for those of you who go for that.

Other Cities

If you’re not in the DC or Boston areas, other upcoming cities in May are all open for early bird registration now:

Apple’s Insomnia Film Festival

Apple is sponsoring something called the Insomnia Film Festival on November 15th. You have 24 hours to complete a film that uses three items out of a list of required elements. Then, some famous folk (Masi Oka! Jason Bateman!) judge your movie, and you can win nifty prizes (such as a MacBook Pro and Final Cut Studio 2 for your whole team).

Are contests like these exciting for you? One of the folks at Boston Media Makers said that a recent video contest that involved winning a Vespa had under a dozen entries. What would motivate you to do a short film contest? A cool prize? Great judges? Creative demands on story or casting? Joss Whedon sending a personal email to the top contestants?

That last one would probably do it for me. . . but I’m sure there are other things that would float your boat. . .

Favorite Gaming Moments YouTube Contest

Pirates fighting with swords
Image from thebusybrain
iBUYPOWER is sponsoring a contest where filmmakers can submit a video to YouTube of a real life re-enactment of any event that happened in a computer or console video game to be voted on for a chance to win a $2,000 gift card and a $1,800 iBUYPOWER PC. One submission, any length, must be over 18, and various ‘decency’ rules apply. See http://www.ibuypower.com/WinAPC/WinAPC.asp for the complete rules.

There are plenty of fun possibilities for this contest. Lazy folks could probably get away with something from a sports game. People with a lot of time/money could try for something like the Neill Blomkamp’s live action Halo shorts. Personally, I would vote for anyone who re-enacts the insult sword fighting from Monkey Island.

“You fight like a dairy farmer!”
“How appropriate. You fight like a cow!”

ABC’s Earth 2100: You, too, can be Al Gore!

Our special agent in New Jersey gave us a tip on a new web  and television fusion project from a major network:

Image from *L*u*z*a* return to nature

Image from *L*u*z*a* return to nature

Earth 2100 is a “television and internet event” set to debut this fall on ABC [Editor’s Note: The site now simply says “Coming in 2009”]. Here’s how they describe it:

The world’s brightest minds agree that the “perfect storm” of population growth, resource depletion and climate change could converge with catastrophic results.

We need you to bring this story to life — to use your imagination to create short videos about what it would be like to live through the next century if we stay on our current path. Using predictions from top experts, we will feed you detailed briefings from the years 2015, 2050, 2070 and 2100 — and you will report back about the dangers that are unfolding before your eyes.

Your videos will be combined with the projections of top scientists, historians, and economists to form a powerful web–based narrative about the perils of our future. We will also select the most compelling reports to form the backbone of our two–hour primetime ABC News broadcast: Earth 2100, airing this fall.

They have a few sample “reports from the future” up there already. Kudos to ABC for trying to combine documentary, fiction and user-generated content all in one go. I see some problems with the approach. . . for one thing, the “reports from the future” are bound to be depressing and bleak – because that’s what all the experts are describing. There is also the problem of combining gorgeous HD footage of experts with cheesily shot, low budget versions of Children of Men. I don’t want to be a wet blanket here – I love documentaries, and I love cheesy, homemade science fiction. . . but I don’t know if I can take the leap to watch both at once.

This project STILL doesn’t solve the “can’t I just get it on YouTube?” problem. Meaning, if you bother to make a movie that’s as clever as the sample clip with the snorkel and the pink walrus – why would you let ABC decide whether or not to distribute it for you? Why would you go to the ABC site, rather than google video or YouTube?

The fact that ABC is going to put some of these in a national broadcast is certainly a draw, and I am all for educating people about climate change and public health any which way you can.

Script Frenzy!

Are you in a screenwriting slump? Is that sunny spring weather calling to you to put away the laptop and frolic among the trees? Well sit yourself back in that office chair, buddy, cause it’s Script Frenzy season!

Script Frenzy is like National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo, for screenwriters. You have 30 days to write 100 pages. This is their description:

“For Script Frenzy, the goal is to write a movie, play, graphic novel script, comic book script, or a collection of TV shows or shorts in 30 days. You can even do a screenplay adaptation of your NaNoWriMo novel!”

Before my laptop died, I was a NaNo participant, and it was a lot of fun. You’d be amazed how much you can write when there are people cheering you on, and the deadlines are concrete. I’ll definitely participate this year!

Obama In 30 Seconds: $20,000 in Film Gear

Just received this email from MoveOn.org. Looks like a great opportunity for the more politically inclined filmmakers out there.

Today, we’re launching an ad contest called “Obama in 30 Seconds.” Anyone can make an ad about Obama between now and April 1. The public will vote on the best ads, and a panel of top artists, film professionals, and netroots heroes will pick a winner from among the finalists. (Judges include Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Naomi Wolf, Oliver Stone, John Legend, Donna Edwards, and Markos Moulitsas. The full list is below.)

We’ll air the winning Obama ad nationally, and the winner will receive a gift certificate for $20,000 in video equipment. Whether you’re definitely interested or need time to think about it, let us know—we’ll keep you in the loop as the contest proceeds. Get contest details, sign up, and watch a short video of MoveOn’s Eli Pariser describing the contest by clicking here:

There you have it. Visit the site for details and take your shot at $20,000 in video equipment.

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