As I watch the 2023 Tony Awards, I reminisce about the time when we pulled an unexpected genre set from the ‘digital hat’ in the 2022 48 Hour Film Project. Our little filmmaker’s hearts did a step-ball-change of excitement and apprehension when we saw “Musical” appear. Musicals are known for their vibrancy, dynamic energy, and emotional depth, making them a challenging yet intriguing genre to tackle within a constrained time frame. Little did we know that this would prove to be one of the most challenging and also rewarding experiences for our team.
The 48 Hour Film Project is not for the faint of heart.
The 48 Hour Film Project takes place on different weekends in different cities throughout the year. In each city local Film Teams - from beginners to pros - compete to make a short film in only a weekend. (https://www.48hourfilm.com/about)
The countdown begins Friday night at 7pm when one by one, each team is called to randomly select a genre via a digital wheel of fortune. Then, the 48 Hour Film Project organizer reveals the three required elements - character, prop and line of dialogue. Even before those core details are shared, each team is already in the midst of a whirlwind of brainstorming. With all required information revealed, the team returns to their home base to begin scriptwriting. Saturday would be non-stop from rehearsal to filming, and then the adventures in post-production.
But wait, we drew “Musical”… that means we needed to write songs too!
Once we had gotten over the initial shock and gathered around the table, armed with copious amounts of coffee, we immediately got to work. As the clock continued to tick relentlessly, the walls of our studio echoed with vibrant discussions and melodies humming through the air.
Scripting the Symphony
Our writing team immediately dived into the deep end, wrestling with character arcs and plotlines while simultaneously creating catchy tunes and compelling lyrics. We opted for a quirky storyline, something that would keep toes tapping.
As our script came to life, we started diving into the details of our characters: a young couple and an eccentric father. Their story is focused around an interview. With a complete wash out of a Saturday looming, we knew we would be walking into a roller coaster of a weekend, filled with opportunities and challenges.
Harmonizing our Cast and Crew
Casting for a musical in a time-constrained situation was another challenge. We were not just looking for actors; we needed actors who could sing and maybe dance too. We had already cast three teens with stage experience but didn’t know of their experience with song and dance. We knew we needed to reach out to a secret weapon, the creative genius behind many events back in Amy’s Disney days and the OG teammate with POWER UP back in 2014, Greg Elingburg. He helped us create a unique concept and wrote many of the lyrics. In addition to creative support, he stepped into the lead role of the magazine publishing father.
Our crew was also instrumental in bringing our vision to life. Sound lead - Alix, costume and props were acquired by Susan and Candace, Boom Mic steadily held by Ryan and craft services compliments of Kenny and Colin. From the POWER UP Team - Andy as cinematographer, Brooke as script specialist and Amy as director. We all worked in perfect harmony, rising to the challenge with grace and grit.
The Encore: Post-Production
Once the final scene was shot, we dove into the equally intense process of editing. Our goal was to ensure that the film flowed with our pre-recorded music and the story attempted to remain compelling from beginning to end. Sleep was the last thing on our minds as we pieced together the footage, fine-tuned the audio, and added those final touches to bring our musical masterpiece to life.
The Final Bow
As we submitted our film with mere minutes to spare, we were filled with an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. The past 48 hours had been a rollercoaster ride filled with adrenaline, creativity, music and laughter. In the end, we had a musical to submit for award consideration and stories of the wonderful journey. It was a testament to our team's dedication, talent, and the magic that can be created even under pressure.
The 2023 48 Hour Film Project is July 14-16. Team POWER UP is registered and recruiting actors and specialized crew. If you are interested in joining in on the fun - reach out to Andy at Andy@powerupvideo.com
Here's to the power of filmmaking, the magic of storytelling, the thrill of a challenge and the beautiful chaos of making a musical in 48 hours.
Our finished product: "Interview Notes"