Friday, August 16, 2013

Stina talks about the 48 Hour Film Project

This is a blog that Stina wrote for the people who run the Los Angeles 48HFP:

Our group, the Collaborative Group Ensemble Troupe Collective, has been meeting for more than a year, experimenting with collaborative storytelling and film-making. 

Leading up to the 48HFP, we started practicing brainstorming techniques we might use the night of. We really liked something called Story Symphony, where people take turns making up a story. One person conducts the story by pointing at people. If you're being pointed at, you're telling the story, but as soon as the conductor points elsewhere, you stop, even if it's mid-word. The next person has to pick up exactly where the previous person left off. 

We played around with Story Symphony at our weekly meetings, trying to set ourselves up as if it really were the night of the 48HFP by picking a genre, a character, a line and a prop.

So the evening of the 48HFP rolls around and we are eagerly awaiting a text from our producer with the details so we can jump into Story Symphony. We get the info and we go. And everyone realizes that we're kind of sick of Story Symphony. We'd used up the novelty of it in our practice sessions. 

Ultimately our story idea came about through good old-fashioned brainstorming. 

"Ooh, how about someone goes to their car and in its place, there's a present?" 

"Yeah, and then . . ."

A could happen, or B could happen, or what if we go all crazy and jump to Z? 

We brainstorm up until about 9pm, then I go off and write the first draft. I come back to the group a couple hours later and we don't like the ending, so we brainstorm again and come up with a new ending. Then we all go home so the rest of the group (which comprised of our director and actors) can squeeze in some sleep while I finish writing.

I write up until about 3:30am, then call it good, email it out, and crash. About an hour and a half later I get a phone call from our director, who's now working on the shot list with our DP and 1st AD. They think it's too short. Over the phone, we brainstorm some ways to increase the tension (we drew Crime/Gangster) and lengthen it. I get back to work and send out the final draft around 5:45am 

48HFP is really all about collaboration, so it felt like the perfect opportunity for our group to put our skills to the test. Ultimately it didn't matter if we used Story Symphony the night of, because the technique had already benefited us as a group. We were ready to jump in with ideas and to build off one another's ideas. I wrote the story, but we built it together.

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