In 5 days I will have a movie….
That’s exactly what I thought to myself as I sat in a coffee shop near Pender and Howe, you know the one. I was very delusional at the time. You see, I had invited a severe mountain of obstacles into my life and it had brought a ticking-time bomb as a date.
- The Obstacles: I was preparing to write/direct/produce a short 1-minute video for this years Vancouver’s Virgin Radio Fake Film Festival.
- The time bomb: I thought I had 14 days left when in reality I only had 5.
The Virgin Radio Fake Film Festival is an annual event that invites contestants and fans to remake their favorite film in a single minute. Every year I try to make something different and this year I decided I would make my very first ‘musical’. Believing the judges would appreciate something “out of the box” I decided to re-make & “Musical-ize” Richard Donner’s “Superman” (1978) starring Christopher Reeves, you know the one. Promotion is a big part of the contest as well and it was my belief that my video could attach itself to the upcoming Man of Steel‘s buzz. Also the “critical thinkers” out there will notice that this post itself is a way of promoting my video.
With all film projects I started with an idea and then I wrote a script around it or in this case “lyrics”. The idea I went with was to intentionally make “Superman! The One Minute Musical” look like it was performed as a local theatre production, you know the ones. I thought this concept would add to the comedy of the video (most 1 minute shorts succeed best when they are funny) as well as aesthetically excuse me from constructing time-consuming “artistic” shots. Did I mention I only had 5 days? Well, by the time I secured the location, scheduled the actors & crew, created the props, designed the costumes and finished the final touches on the song I only had 3 days left.
The production went smoothly but only because I intentionally surrounded myself with talented professionals who believed in my project and agreed to volunteer their time to the production (AKA my friends). I couldn’t feed my crew or actors (AKA my friends), so in return I worked as hard and fast as I could.
What did I learn? Always be on your phone. Sorry, I meant: ALWAYS. BE. ON. YOUR. PHONE. This video happened because I wasn’t afraid to ask for help. Not everyone could help, but I didn’t let one decline stop me from making the next call either. We hit our first real disaster in post-production. The audio of our actors singing was recorded terribly and we couldn’t work with it. Hastily we asked our actors to come in and do some ADR (that’s where they re-record their voices) but again the quality of the recordings was put into question. It turned out that my inexperience in making musicals would be my downfall. I had to think of something fast or I’d have to submit a sub-par Superman video that could have been GREAT!
What we ended up doing was throwing the temp-music on the video, the one where our composer sang every part! As much as I wished I had the original singers performing, having one man sing every role added some extra comedy. Then again, I may still be delusional. What do you think? Did I climb the mountain of obstacles…..or did I fall to my demise?