Two Days, Half a Crew, One Superhero Blockbuster

The 48-Hour Film Project is back. We followed two crews through the ups and downs as they raced to the finish line.



 

Countless memory-card tradeoffs. The sudden disappearance of a main character who's in the next scene. Using fans to dry the superhero emblems painted on the actors' costumes.

These obstacles wouldn't be an issue for a major Hollywood production. However, crews participating in Pittsburgh’s 48-Hour Film Project have to hustle. Every second counts. The moment the competition starts, it's lights, camera, action.

When co-producers Edwin Huang and Nathan Fullerton started competing in the 48-Hour Film Project six years ago, they just wanted to create a film.

“I liked the fact that there was a definite deadline, a time limit,” says Huang. “You either submitted a video or not.”

Both producers had a background in film production and were eager to test out the boundaries that originally attracted them to the 48HFP, which is held in 120 cities worldwide. A couple 48HFP awards later, the duo has combined two different teams, ending up with a supergroup of roughly 30 people.

With the two groups — Everything But the Name and S.G. Movie Magic — working together for the first time, many crew members were curious to see how the team’s dynamics would play out. The competition kicked off July 12, when all participating teams were assigned a specific genre, character, prop and line. Huang says that he likes the idea of an assignment because it makes it easier to narrow the focus.

In past years, Everything But the Name has been given genres such as sci-fi and time travel, but the group was asked to work on something related to superheroes this year.

“We’re all kind of geeks, so we were very excited about it,” says Fullerton.

From there, the crew members brainstormed late into the night. Different members collaborated on the script, tossing around several ideas before they settled on the best one, titled Captain Insensitive. The remainder of the evening was spent writing and perfecting the script as others prepped for filming in the morning.

“You start off really excited about your assignment,” says Fullerton. “And then you try to actually implement it into 48 hours and your grand vision funnels down to what’s doable.”

On the morning of July 13, the crew split up and got down to business. Half of the members did a table reading with the actors while the cinematographers finalized a list of shots that could be done within the timeframe. The team got together for filming at 11 a.m. at the Schell Games offices in South Side. From there, they filmed in fitting yet convenient areas; the SG offices, South Side streets and the Hot Metal Bridge served as backdrops for this four- to seven-minute flick.

At 10:15 p.m. on Saturday, the crew was working at the last stop: a vacant garage on 26th Street. Sleepless crew members camped outside. Half of the group was back at SG working on edits while the other half served as actors or producers (or both).

With the clock ticking, it was clear that this team still had a ways to go.

“About 12 people have canceled on us in the past 48 hours prior to the competition. But together we were able to fill in all the cracks,” says crew member Michael Cornell.

Needless to say, it was going to be a long night — or long 21 remaining hours, rather.

Despite dropouts, the team was able to pull together, even if it meant using the third cameraman as an actor. It wasn’t all about making a successful film; instead, it was about the dynamics of friends, colleagues, actors discovered on craigslist and even the local bartender all working together to create a cinematic production.

“The 48-Hour Film Project allows you to stay in touch with people you might not see otherwise,” says Cornell. “It’s an opportunity where, at least one weekend a year, you’re able to come back together and work on a project and keep those bonds intact.”

All submitted films were screened July 20 at The Hollywood Theater in Dormont. The “Best Of” screening will take place this Sunday at The Hollywood.

“It would be lovely to win it one year, but it’s really just about making a film,” says Fullerton. “The one thing that all successful filmmakers have in common is that they’ve made a film, and that’s what the 48-Hour Film Project forces you to do.”


[The Hollywood Theater, 1449 Potomac Ave., Dormont; screening July 28; 412/563-0368, thehollywooddormont.org]

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

50 Most Powerful People in Pittsburgh

50 Most Powerful People in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Magazine consulted dozens of power brokers and behind-the-scene players to determine and rank the 50 individuals who, in Pittsburgh, make things happen.
15 of Pittsburgh's Future Power Brokers

15 of Pittsburgh's Future Power Brokers

According to the region's behind-the-scene players, these individuals are some of the city's rising stars.
Aggressive and Adaptable: Pirates' All-Star Gerrit Cole

Aggressive and Adaptable: Pirates' All-Star Gerrit Cole

Entering into the final weeks of the 2015 regular season, pitcher Gerrit Cole has emerged as the Pirates’ ace.
At täkō - Terrific Tacos and Tequila Are Just The Beginning

At täkō - Terrific Tacos and Tequila Are Just The Beginning

Richard DeShantz and Tolga Sevdik strike again with täkō, their taco-centric downtown eatery with an extensive tequila selection.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Commuting Toll: How Much Do We Waste Stuck in Traffic?

Commuting Toll: How Much Do We Waste Stuck in Traffic?

Pittsburgh gridlock not only frays nerves — it dings the wallet.
Breeding Success: Alpaca Farming is Booming in Western Pa.

Breeding Success: Alpaca Farming is Booming in Western Pa.

Our rolling hills are good for more than vegetable gardens and chicken coops. Dozens of alpaca farms are located in the region.
Head North to Find the Comfiest Place in the Pittsburgh Area

Head North to Find the Comfiest Place in the Pittsburgh Area

Cranberry Township was the only western Pa. area mentioned in a nationwide list of most comfortable cities.
'We Are Family Matters' Pirates Mashup is Brilliant

'We Are Family Matters' Pirates Mashup is Brilliant

Pittsburgh viral video genius Benstonium creates another winner.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

50 Most Powerful People in Pittsburgh

50 Most Powerful People in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Magazine consulted dozens of power brokers and behind-the-scene players to determine and rank the 50 individuals who, in Pittsburgh, make things happen.
15 of Pittsburgh's Future Power Brokers

15 of Pittsburgh's Future Power Brokers

According to the region's behind-the-scene players, these individuals are some of the city's rising stars.
Aggressive and Adaptable: Pirates' All-Star Gerrit Cole

Aggressive and Adaptable: Pirates' All-Star Gerrit Cole

Entering into the final weeks of the 2015 regular season, pitcher Gerrit Cole has emerged as the Pirates’ ace.
At täkō - Terrific Tacos and Tequila Are Just The Beginning

At täkō - Terrific Tacos and Tequila Are Just The Beginning

Richard DeShantz and Tolga Sevdik strike again with täkō, their taco-centric downtown eatery with an extensive tequila selection.
 A Sign That This Time, It's Good to Part with the Past

A Sign That This Time, It's Good to Part with the Past

Pitt Girl explains her change of heart on what should be done with the large, decaying billboard on Mount Washington.
Oh, the Humanities - Can They be Saved?

Oh, the Humanities - Can They be Saved?

Locally and nationally, college and university students are flocking to programs they perceive to be pathways to jobs while they forego studies of languages, history, art and philosophy. But at what cost?
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module