What is a 48 hour film challenge?

Many of you who know me often hear me talk about 48 hour film challenges and to be fair you just nod and smile, until I actually explain to you what it is – and as I am trying to host a 48 hour film challenge of my own, I thought it best to fully explain what it involves. 

So first we need a group of talented people who are willing to do nothing but the film challenge for 48 hours…screw that, they don’t need to talented, they just need to be available! You will spend weeks getting actors to be available then they will pull out and you will have to act it in yourself.

You will also need access to equipment – at minimum a camera (people have been know to use their mobiles) and some editing software, even if it is just Windows Movie Maker. But just to clarify, we use a number of DSLR’s and Adobe Premiere. If you want a green screen, paint a wall or dye a bedsheet – its that easy!

You will wait nervously for your text or email with the information that you need to include in your film – this could be a mixture of genre, prop, line of dialogue and a theme. Once that information is received the scriptwriting begins…well the brainstorming…the tea and coffee…the takeaway….the smoking….6 hours later you might a script! But the good thing is that a team of you can write, source props, locations and actors all at the same time so once the script is done it’s BOOM out the door!

Now you spend half of the rest of your time filming, somehow everything you discussed whilst script writing has been forgotten and the director will change his/her mind ALOT! after all, the script has literally just been written! Your actors will grow impatient, as will your runners and any small children you happen to be looking after at the same time. If this is the case I suggest that you film in a toy shop! Once you have about 1 minute of footage which is in fact just 1 shot, it is time for more food! after an hour arguing about where to go you finally cave and do Maccy D’s…This is why I suggest that you use 1 persons home as a base and ensure there is a big pot of pasta made up and fridge stocked with sandwich fillings!

The next part of filming has much more momentum and it all goes really well, everyone is pleased with how the time has gone – so now lets get to the edit. 

The editor (me) sifts through the footage (as there is rarely time to keep a FFL, we did it once) and complains about not knowing what anything is and why it is there and why this shot is so fucking long and why the hell are there 8 takes of the him drinking coffee and AAAARRRFFFGGGHHHH everyone go away! 

Personally I prefer to edit alone but I don’t always get my way. For a film challenge I do suggest that you have the director with you so at least if you fall asleep they can edit for a little bit and when you wake up you can fix all of the mistakes they just made…

AND BREATH! An edit is complete, now to add music and sound effects! Try try try to have someone on board who is good at this cause I literally scour the internet for free music and sound effects, but it always turns out ok…the best ones however are always original scores! We are lucky enough to know quite a few musicians that allow us to use their music as well!

Then everyone watches and there is a massive sigh of relief…we did it….fuck, we did it. We just made a short film in 48 hours, from concept to completion…with time to spare (which you need for rendering and exporting!). 

No matter where your film gets to in the challenge, the opportunity for people to watch your film from all over the UK and network with other filmmakers is still one of the best things about doing any kind of film challenge. And all the stress, and all that hanging around, all that chasing children through toys ‘r’ us, all that money you spent on fast food, all that sleep you didn’t get…was 100% completely worth it. 

So if you haven’t already, sing up to do the ‘Just Because’ 48 hour film challenge…https://www.facebook.com/groups/699804410083414/ 


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