Video projects are intricate mechanisms with more moving parts than a fine Swiss timepiece. And when you only have 48 hours to conceive, execute, and deliver a video, the clock is always ticking… also like a fine Swiss timepiece! (Boy, what CAN’T you compare to a fine Swiss timepiece? Literally nothing!)
There’s an annual international filmmaking competition called The 48 Hour Film Project that I’ve been participating in for the past 15 years in which you assemble (or join!) a team that brainstorms, shoots, and edits a 4-7 minute film strictly within a 48 hour time period. The filmmakers from participating cities screen their films, after which city judges somewhat accurately determine the best film and send it on to the international screenings, with a chance to ultimately screen in Cannes, France, wherever THAT is!
It’s exhausting, it’s exciting, it’s maddening, and ultimately, it’s a ton of fun.
The challenges of video production are often spread across days, months – NAY – years! This means a script can make its way through several (dozen) iterations before scheduling even begins. Securing cast and crew, writing contracts and negotiations, renting or otherwise acquiring the necessary gear, buying comfortable yet stylish shoes, not to mention scouting locations and surviving post-production… it’s a colossal undertaking.
Now do all of it in 48 hours.
Much of what I’ve learned during these annual projects can be applied to my role as editor at Oswego Creative. True, we usually have more than 48 hours to create our videos, and we’re granted sleep and bathroom breaks semi-regularly, but some truths remain: Decisions have to be made quickly and with conviction. Necessary changes have to be identified and addressed with a critical eye. Various teams and their members have to communicate efficiently and without misunderstandings. Deadlines are non-negotiable. And when it’s all working together – the array of moving pieces deliberately placed with skill and precision, and the methodical march of a system of mechanisms churning tirelessly towards a common goal with the regularity of a metronome – it’s like, it’s like… I don’t know, there’s nothing on earth you can compare it to.
And this year, like so many years before, I will compete in this exercise again. Our team will assemble in a (hopefully) air-conditioned home to haphazardly brainstorm a series of ideas, whittle them into a semi-coherent storyline, track down the necessary people and things, inundate our stomachs with Red Bull, and blast off to create another 4-7 minutes of storytelling 48 hours at a time. We’ll laugh, we’ll curse, we’ll almost certainly cry, but when all is said and done, we’ll have another story to share with our friends and families.
And like a fine Swiss timepiece, the experience will be – presumably – golden.