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

Pittsburgh's Top 10 Things to Do in March

Pittsburgh's Top 10 Things to Do in March

Your 10 best bets for this month.
Jamie Dixon: Winning His Way

Jamie Dixon: Winning His Way

Peers, players, and regular observers know him to be one of the best coaches — and people — in college basketball.
15 Buzzworthy Pittsburgh Salons

15 Buzzworthy Pittsburgh Salons

From east to west — and north and south — these are the region’s salons and services that make our cut. Having a good hair day doesn’t have to be so difficult after all.
Home of the Year: 2015

Home of the Year: 2015

This year’s selections include a Richland Township house built to appreciate its 160-acre lot and Shadyside garage that was renovated into a stunning, modern dream home.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

See the Resume Tape That Landed Sally Wiggin in Pittsburgh

See the Resume Tape That Landed Sally Wiggin in Pittsburgh

Wiggin is celebrating 35 years on Pittsburgh television.
14 Life-Changing Home Products for 2015

14 Life-Changing Home Products for 2015

Home expert Boyce Thompson previews this year's Duquesne Light Pittsburgh Home & Garden Show and speculates on which products will become fully integrated into our homes soon.
How Big a Salary Do You Need to Own a Home In Pittsburgh?

How Big a Salary Do You Need to Own a Home In Pittsburgh?

Pittsburgh tops nationwide list for home affordability.
Why the Browns Could Take a Few Social Media Tips from the Penguins

Why the Browns Could Take a Few Social Media Tips from the Penguins

It seems the 'Burgh's boys of winter are popping up everywhere on the Internet.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Pittsburgh's Top 10 Things to Do in March

Pittsburgh's Top 10 Things to Do in March

Your 10 best bets for this month.
Jamie Dixon: Winning His Way

Jamie Dixon: Winning His Way

Peers, players, and regular observers know him to be one of the best coaches — and people — in college basketball.
15 Buzzworthy Pittsburgh Salons

15 Buzzworthy Pittsburgh Salons

From east to west — and north and south — these are the region’s salons and services that make our cut. Having a good hair day doesn’t have to be so difficult after all.
Home of the Year: 2015

Home of the Year: 2015

This year’s selections include a Richland Township house built to appreciate its 160-acre lot and Shadyside garage that was renovated into a stunning, modern dream home.
Preserving August Wilson's Voice

Preserving August Wilson's Voice

Todd Kreidler, who helped to conceive the Pulitzer-Prize-winning playwright’s final written work, returns to Pittsburgh to direct that play, continuing his mission to keep the master’s words alive.
Review: Tender Bar + Kitchen

Review: Tender Bar + Kitchen

Lawrenceville hot spot Tender, once favored primarily for its libations, now is known as well for its culinary offerings.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module