It’ll all be over soon: 48 hours to make a film

On June 13th of this year, I posted the following to the private cast page of Charlotte Comedy Theater on Facebook:

Last year, I participated in the Charlotte 48-Hour Film Project. It was a ton of fun, and I learned one very important thing about making a good short film: it has to have a good story.

We know how to tell a good story.

I want to register a team for this year’s festival with you.

I’ll cover the registration fee if we can get enough people to pull this off. It’ll be hella fun and we’ll have a 7 minute movie to show for it! Let me know if you’re interested, and feel free to share this with other improvisers that might be interested.

Here’s one thing you should know: I’d never made a film in my life, and these guys knew it. In addition, we would have to write, shoot, edit, and score the entire film in under 48 hours, starting Friday at 7:00 p.m. and going until Sunday at 7:00 p.m.  Based on a genre drawn from a hat (technically, a box). And with three required elements: a character, a line of dialog, and a prop.

Before the day was out, I had a team. I love these people!

Long live the improvisers!
Long live the improvisers!

The basic steps to a successful 48-hour film are as follows:

Find talent

This was where I figured our team’s strength was. Even though our team was 75% experienced or student improvisers, it wasn’t enough. We got lucky, though. One of the student team members is also a professional videographer, and took over as Director of Photography and Editor. Another team member who works as a Production Assistant professionally brought in a phenomenal guy named Jack Barbour to manage lighting (and deal with bad acoustics, and do camera work). And finally, professional actress Keya Hamilton contacted me the week prior to see if we needed her (spoiler: we did!).

…and the choir sang: “Hallelujah!”

Hump yo ass getting ready

You’re not allowed to do any creative work ahead of time, but you can (and should) get all the other logistics settled.  And there’s a ton: managing the schedule for the weekend (and dealing with last-minute cancellations), arranging for equipment of the specialized sort (cameras, lighting, microphones) and the mundane kind (tables, chairs, wardrobe hangers, coolers stocked with water and drinks, snacks and food, etc.), scouting locations, and…PAPERWORK!

The real work of film making: paperwork

A photo posted by Carey Head (@unrulyzen) on


Half of the point of festivals like the 48 Hour Film Project is to promote the talent and expertise that resides in Charlotte. To that end, they like to do a lot of promotions. I was able to get in on some of that, including a panel discussion on QC Independent Radio.

On advice of counsel, I have no recollection of those events...
On advice of counsel, I have no recollection of those events…

The Weekend!

There’s enough here for a separate blog entry. Until then, enjoy some pictures:

Post-weekend humping 

#clt48hourfilm hour 60: clean up!

A photo posted by Carey Head (@unrulyzen) on


And how did we do?


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