A summer experience

Most people my age love to talk about that one awesome party that they went to over the summer, a vacation that they went on, or all of the hours of work they put in to help pay their outrageous college tuition. For me, this summer was highlighted by a trip to Indianapolis to visit some family and partake in the 48 Hour film fest. This is a complete change of pace for me here on CFDD. However, I felt the need to write about it because it was an experience like any other.

Being an Electronic Media and Broadcasting major, making film is a key part of the major. Going into college last year, this is where I was most worried. I’d never made a film before in my life, nor did I really want to know how to make film. I was more preoccupied with the broadcasting elements of the major (obviously.) However, during my very first semester of college, I took a class called Introduction to Media Aesthetics. This was my one class that semester that I was worried about (We’ve all had them, don’t deny it.) This class consisted of aspects on filmmaking. Different types of lighting, white balancing, different types of shots, aspect ratios were all some of the points that we covered. Although these may seem like things that would be extremely boring to talk about, I seemed to be extremely interested in all of those. As the semester went on, so did my appreciation for film. As my professor said, I can never look at a movie the same way again. I’m always looking for various aspects of that film and if it works well or if it doesn’t. It has ruined my friends’ ability to watch movies with me. It’s funny how perfectly okay I am with that. Film has now become a passion for me, something I thought would never happen to me.

Then came the opportunity to put together a film over this past summer. This is where I realized my knowledge of film still has a long time to develop. I have some family members who are well-versed in film and have a strong passion for making film. They asked me to help with a project for a competition called the “48 Hour Film Festival.” So at the beginning of August, I traveled to Indianapolis to take part in said festival. Whoa, what a weekend it was.

It started on Friday August 3rd in an old Tire Discounters store turned into a creative center. If you like people watching, this place did not disappoint. People with all sense of style packed into this small building waiting for their chance to pick the genre of film that would be the basis of their entire film. Somehow, I was the one who stuck out like a sore thumb with a pair ok khaki shorts and a t-shirt. As we heard everyone’s team name called up to pick their genre from a hat, the one thing that went through our team’s mind was, “Not silent film! Not silent film.” Silent film was the only one that we didn’t want to pick. Of course, as I went to pick our genre from the hat, I picked silent film. My first 48 film fest with this team and I didn’t give off a good first impression. Maybe I was going to be a source of bad luck this weekend. We decided to throw away that genre and go for a ‘wild card’ pick. We ended up with ‘buddy film.’ Okay, that’s something we can go off of.

So we were now on the clock! 48 hours to make a film. Brainstorming, scheduling shots and actor schedules all took place during the first night, undoubtedly our longest night. All of this to get ready for the next day of shooting aaaalllll day long. Although the hours were long, the time spent didn’t seem to be as long. We all were having such a great time filming that we lost track of time (in the good way.) The actors, camera people, grips, audio guys were all so talented in what they were doing that I ended up learning more from them than they did from me. Yeah, and they all are in high school too. Mind. Blown.

I’m not going to give you a play-by-play of all of the action of that weekend, because then it just gets monotonous and you will lose your interest fast, more than likely. But all I will say is that I had never experienced the full production process before that weekend. Learning from kids who are younger than me but a million times more talented than me was not the way I thought I would get acquainted with the filmmaking process, but I am perfectly okay with that. I took so much away from that weekend and enjoyed it so much that my love of filmmaking only grew stronger.

At the conclusion, we had our film all finished. “Love, Your Son” was the title of our ‘buddy film.’ You can watch it here:

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/47403926″>Love, Your Son</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user4682968″>james leagre</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

The award ceremony took place the following weekend. Although I was unable to attend, I knew what the ceremony consisted of. All of the films were played in front of an audience (42 films in all.) At the end, they would gives out some awards for certain categories. Our team didn’t worry about awards, all we wanted was a fun weekend making film and learning something during it. We didn’t worry about awards, also, because we were going against some very top notch production teams. Being the youngest group out of all of the teams, our chances were pretty slim. However, I receive an email a couple days later saying that our team won TWO awards. The awards were for Best Acting and Best Musical Score. This speaks volume to the type of talent that I was surrounded by. Like I said before: Mind.Blown.

I know that this is a lot different from posts that you are used to see here on CFDD. There’s more to my mind than politics and pessimism. This was an experience unlike any other. The kids were extremely hard working and very relatable. It’s funny how I started dwelling on my high school days during that weekend. Funny how those days seem so far lost but only ended about a year ago.

This post isn’t supposed to give off the vibe that I’m bragging about a project I was a part of and how we got some awards for it as well. My part was minute compared to others. I was extremely honored to be asked to be a part of the production process. I only wish I could possess some of the talent that these kids had. I can’t wait for next year where hopefully I can give back a little more.

Here is everyone involved with the production of the short film “Love, Your Son.”

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