48 Hour Film Project 2012: Writing a Movie

Phase I: Writing (Friday 7 PM to Saturday 5AM)

It all began on Friday, June 8th, 2012. The Fog Belt Films producers (Adam and Leslie) attended the 48 Hour Film Project Kickoff event at City Nights, in San Francisco. Meanwhile, the writing team gathered at my place, pens and computers in hand, ready to write all night. For continuity’s sake, the director and editor were also present. We had been preparing mentally for weeks.

…aaaaannnd START!

I had sketched out a timeline for the Fog Belt film crew. We had to write all night and have our script finished by no later than dawn on Saturday morning, in time for shooting. Shooting was planned for all day Saturday, from 8AM to no later than Midnight, because everyone agreed that we needed to reserve as much time as possible for editing. Editing and post-production was scheduled from late Saturday night until the film was due for drop off at 7: 30PM Sunday evening. We were familiar with the genres we might be assigned. Everyone had a favorite or first choice genre they were hoping we would draw. Some wanted Dark Comedy, some wanted Fantasy, I personally was hoping for Science Fiction.

The clock struck 7PM and Fog Belt drew their genre. Leslie sent a text to the awaiting writing crew, filled with exclamation points, showing us our genre:

Sweet, my preferred genre.

The general consensus was “HAILS YEAH!” and we got right to work. By 7:30 we had been assigned the parameters, prop, character, and line of dialogue.

Prop: A business card

Character: Leslie Lombardo, vendor at a farmer’s market.

Dialogue: “I don’t have a clue.”

We brainstormed for a couple hours, ate pizza, had cookies and milk, and decided upon a classic Sci-Fi trope: A scientist, Dr. John Krishner, being stalked by his doppleganger. Then the core writing group (Myself, Josh, Jenny, and Eric) kicked into action and bounced story ideas off of each other for another hour or so. Then we took a break to type. Each of us wrote an iteration of the story, read it back to each other, and patchworked it into one tight solid tale, with storyboard drawings by Brad.

By then it was around 2 AM. Satisfied, the director Cory Morgan went home to get some rest for the long day’s shooting on Saturday. Josh Schiller and myself stayed up, turning the text of the story into a screenplay. At 5:30AM Saturday, I emailed the completed script to the Fog Belt, and snatched about two hours of sleep, the only sleep I would get all weekend. We were still on schedule, too.

Tune in next time to learn about the day on the set, see images of our 16 hour date with the camera, and the savor wonders of costuming. I will leave you with highlights of our storyboard, the pre-visualizations of the movie which we used to guide the process.

Thanks for reading! Reading rules!

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About Suhail Rafidi

Suhail Rafidi is a novelist and educator whose works explore the destiny of human values in a technological landscape. You can find him on Twitter, too, @shelldive.
This entry was posted in Movies, Science Fiction, The Writing Profession and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to 48 Hour Film Project 2012: Writing a Movie

  1. suzanne says:

    This sounds absolutely AWESOME!!! I can’t wait to read more!

  2. Suhad says:

    sounds Great!!! Very Exciting!!!

  3. Reblogged this on Science of the Soul and commented:
    Part 1! Keep those Creative Juices flowing, Cousin!!!

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