This past weekend, multiple teams comprised of Iowa State students participated in the 48 Hour Film Festival. At 9 p.m. on Friday, the participating teams were given the sentence and the object to incorporate into their short film, and 48 hours to complete their entry, with the final product due at 9 p.m. Sunday night.
This year, the object was a pair of rubber gloves and the the sentence was, “Don’t be scared, I just need you to come with me for a minute.” Outside of these guidelines, teams were free to go whatever direction they want to with their film.
This year’s film festival was a first Ben Buettner and Connor Eckdahl, a junior and sophomore in electrical engineering respectively, but they had worked together on other projects like YouTube sketches before. That experience prepared them for producing a film within a very short time limit.
“The experience of learning from those things, knowing that it helps tremendously to have multiple cameras … it’s almost a necessity to have people who actually want to be a part of it,” Eckdahl said.
Due to the nature of the competition, all actual film production had to strictly take place within the 48 hours allotted to the teams. Any sort of preparation was limited to thinking about locations to film, and finding the best people to work with.
“We just wanted to make sure for the [contest] that we wanted people who were actually interested, and fully engaged in this,” said Eckdahl. “In a 48 hour film contest, it’s 'go go go.' You need to have people that are for sure going to be committed.”
Outside of basic necessities like eating and sleeping, Buettner and Eckdahl’s team used every second available to work on their film.
“We got the prompt at 9 p.m. and then I was up until 6 a.m. writing. I was very very tired, and borderline delirious,” said Buettner.
The team had no difficulty working the prompts into the story they wanted to tell.
“It was almost like a second thought, we were like ‘this would be a good place to do it’,” said Buettner. “I’m sure some people didn’t think about the phrase in such a dark way. I’m sure people did something opposite, which will be cool to see. Like something light-hearted.”
The next day, they started working again as soon as they could.
“I woke up at 9 [a.m.] and did a bunch of prep stuff,” continued Eckdahl. “We filmed from noon to 5 [p.m.], we took a break, and then we filmed another bit from 8:30 to 2 a.m.”
After all filming had been completed, Eckdahl took the rest of the time on Sunday to bring the film together.
“I spent pretty much the whole day, like 13 hours straight, editing.”
Of course the time crunch was a big hurdle for Buettner and Eckdahl to overcome.
“I’m all about trying to produce something interesting in a very short period of time. It’s hard to really analyze the story structure,” said Buettner. “Because I do really like writing. And I like to take the time to look over things, but I didn’t really have that time.”
They found it difficult to perfect their film in the 48 hours they were given, but that doesn’t mean they were dissatisfied with the final product.
“There’s always a few things you wish you could have done. When it comes to editing, you always wish you had more time to do that,” said Eckdahl. “Regardless, we were quite happy with how it turned out.”
Buettner and Eckdahl’s film,”The Men Beneath the Surface,” and all other entries will be shown at the screening and awards for the 48 Hour Film Festival on Wednesday, April 18 in Carver 101. The event starts at 7 p.m. and admission is free.