This weekend I got to work on a film set. It was a 1-day shoot, and I volunteered to work as a PA, personal assistant, for producer/director Robert Scott for a 48hr Film Project being filmed here in Pittsburgh.
The Carnegie Screenwriters group decided to participate in the project. Groups of filmmakers, screenwriters, actors, producers and crew sign up for the venture. The 48 hour Film Project is a contest. Groups of filmmakers have 48 hours to write, film, edit, and submit a short film. The films run 5-6 minutes, and the film MUST contain 3 predetermined elements.
The 3 predetermined elements are: a named character and their profession, a prop, and a line of dialogue.
On Friday night, July 8th, there was a Launch Party. The leaders of each participating film group attend and they pick 2 random genres. The group can use 1 or both genres.
Our genres were Dark Comedy and Coming of Age.
Then the MUST HAVE Character, Prop, and Line of Dialogue were revealed.
The Character was: Frank/Frankie Murray, Chef
The Prop was: Pliers
The Line Dialogue: “Don’t think. Go for it.” or “Do not think. Go for it.”
The Line wasn’t given until 7pm Friday night.
Once we had all the above, all of us screenwriters scrambled to write a 5-6 page screenplay using the MUST HAVE items and using 1 or both of the genres.
I don’t typically writer dark comedy or coming of age stories, but I submitted a script anyway, finishing after midnight.
During the wee hours of Saturday morning, director Robert Scott and the producers sponsoring the project read the scripts and selected the one that would be shot Saturday.
The chosen script was a dark comedy, Cooking with Gas, by Caroline Collins.
Cast and Crew met on location.
I also signed up to be a PA. So I helped set up the snack and drinks area for everyone. Another screenwriter/PA, Olivia Deasy, also helped. We help the assistant direct set up a dinner table with plate settings, fake wine, salad, and food. As PAs, we helped direct traffic as the outdoor scenes were shot.
The directors and other members of the crew provided hot foods. As a PA, it was my job to set up for lunch and dinner. This was a tedious chore because our film required the kitchen for shooting, so all items for the meals had to be toted in, set up, torn down and toted out again.
Unlike some 48 nightmare film projects of prior years, which can take over 18 hours to shoot, filming for our project started around 10am and wrapped around 8:30pm on Saturday, July 9th. Pretty much a record.
We had 6 core actors: Jeff Monahan, Samantha Camp, Sheldom Ingram, Christina Chickis, Brett Sullivan Santry, and Alec Aracri. Samantha played our MUST HAVE character, Frankie Murray, the chef. She also recited the MUST HAVE line: “Don’t think. Go for it.”
Brett’s character produced the MUST HAVE prop, the pliers.
By late afternoon, I had to run a copy of the film and the sound files over to our film editor, Brooke Schooles, who was recovering from covid and quarantining at her apartment. She and the directors would have Saturday night and 1/2 day Sunday to edit and polish the film.
Then it would be uploaded to 48hr Film Project committee for review and scoring.
I helped develop the poster and postcards for the film. The whole experience was fun and eye opening.
Open viewing of all the film in the Pittsburgh 2022 project will be at the Sewickley theater on July 24 & July 25th, 2022. Tickets are only $10.00.
The BEST Off viewing will be July 31st, in Oakmont. Again, tickets are only $10.00.
Recovering from a bout of bronchitis, I plan on attending the Best Of premiere.
You’ll have to check back after July 31st to see if our film wins!