Sunday, 18 April 2010

Heroic efforts taking place in Lancaster

I seem to have lost a week somewhere between last weekend and this one.


The Sci-Fi London 48hour Film challenge, that's why. An insane hurricane of creativity that seemed to begin innocuously enough when I saw a note on Facebook about the competition on Tuesday evening. I emailed it around to the group of local film-makers that I'm involved with. Next, we had a meeting (our monthly gathering of the Lancaster Film-makers group) on Wednesday night, and those who were up for it effectively kissed goodbye to sleep for a few days.

Cut to Saturday morning. The rules of the 48 hour sci-fi film making challenge are that your finished film has to contain three elements which are given to you on the Saturday morning. Sci-fi London gives you a Title, a line of dialogue and a prop which you must work in to your film. This is obviously to avoid people spending months and months making the perfect five minute science fiction film and claiming, “yeah, of course we made it in 48 hours”.

We were participating by text, and at precisely 11.11am on Saturday morning, we received our instructions.

Title: Minds Eye
Dialogue: “Those frightened eyes staring at us, and then we saw them too”
Prop: Three watches showing the same time.

..and so began in intense and brilliant couple of days.

We spent all of Saturday trying to sort our script out.  Long story short, with ideas pouring in from members of our group we tried to knit our ideas into a script we could use.

It was equal parts brilliant fun and intense pain!

I left at about 9.30ish with a few ideas we'd managed to scribble down. I came home and tried to make a draft. I sent an awful version around (it turns out, I can't write dialogue under pressure) and around 1.00am a script came back in.

6.45am Sunday morning. I hurriedly filled a box with wire/tape/pliers and bits and pieces to take round to Ray's basement where we were going to be filming. I cleaned my basement of old broken computers and monitors with the intention of hurriedly creating a set. Our actors arrived at about 10.00am (I think) and whilst I was in the basement smashing bits of computers up, they disappeared upstairs for some character work and to work through the script.

At some point, we began filming.

We filmed through to 11.45pm.

Adam and I arrived at his house to begin editing at about 12.30am and worked through until about 11.00am the next morning editing, putting SFX on, dialogue, audio, titles etc. etc. - everything to get it finished by 1.00pm on Monday, which was the deadline.

And, fuck, we did it. 

For me, that has been the biggest surprise about the whole endeavour, just how quickly things got underway. I generally sit around and think. Then think a bit more, but the deadline focused all the energy into completion, which is a good thing for me. In fact, if Nike hadn't already taken it, I'd like my new motto to be “just do it”.

Kudos to all involved, Terry, Louise, Ray, Mark, Adam, Bryan and Rosie (and look at me pretending in that film – I'm terrifyingly in character!) and everyone who supported us. I think we did a cracking job, and it was great fun, and in fact the subsequent couple of days delirium I went through was good fun as well.

It's not a challenge for the feint hearted and I wonder how many teams around the country were unable to complete.

And I hope that we have another crack next year.


  1. Excellent all round. You looked a proper badass too.

  2. Scary face Mercer.
    COngratulations to you and everyone else, it's a brilliant achievement.