48 Hour Stories: Badgerdog Literary Publishing

The Reel Change Film Frenzy is officially over.  I am happy to report that our video was turned in on time, with minimal hiccups. We were paired with  Badgerdog Literary Publishing, a nonprofit group committed to developing literary communities. We did our best to shoot, edit, encode and deliver a documentary-style story within 48 hours.  The competition started at noon on Friday in front of Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar.  If you weren’t watching our play-by-play on Facebook, here is a recap of the weekend:

Day 1 – Friday | Film Frenzy Kickoff

  • NOON – Inhale. The starting gun officially kicked off the competition. We decided to start with the interviews to serve as a backbone for our film.
  • 1PM – We met at the Cognitive Films studio to shoot our initial interviews with the team.
  • 3PM – We headed to the Badgerdog offices to observe their American Short Fiction editors meeting.  Here we captured office b-roll as well as meeting clips.
  • 5PM – Returned to the studio for the day to encode the video footage for editing.
  • 7PM-2AM – Started initial editing of the footage captured thus far, synced audio, and started pulling usable clips and sound bites into a sequence.

Day 2 – Saturday | In Full Frenzy

  • 10AM – Walked 2 blocks (that was convenient) from the studio to Write By Night, where the Young Writers Workshop was being held.  We captured video of the students learning.
  • NOON – Met the Badgerdog team with students at the Blanton Museum of Art to film a live reading event.  We were lucky that this took place during the weekend of the competition.
  • 2PM – Interviewed various students and an AISD Elementary Principal in the museum exhibit lobby.  Captured museum exteriors and establishing shots
  • 4PM – Returned to Cognitive Films studio to encode the footage and sync audio to get ready for editing.  Busted out the French press.
  • 4:30 – My good friend Krystle Copulos stopped by with her 2 daschunds (last minute decision) to get a real badgerdog for the final logo screen.  Unfortunately, they didn’t make it in the final cut because we had a hard time getting the shot long enough (see photo).  Krystle is a foster for the Central Texas Daschund Rescue and VP of Platinum Realty in Austin.
  • 6PM – 2AM.  Editing, editing and more editing.

Day 3 – Sunday | Film Frenzy Finalé

  • 2AM – 4AM. Still editing from the night before. Coffee #6.
  • 4AM – 7AM.  Even more editing. Sun rose.  Zero sleep.
  • 7AM – 10AM. Still editing.  Working in music. Coffee #10.
  • 10AM.  Rushed color correction and noise removal.  Added titles.
  • 11AM – Export the final movie ready to turn in.
  • 11:10AM – Noticed a mistake in the “final movie”, panicked. Fixed quickly  and exported again.
  • 11:35AM – Added to flash drive and ran out the door. Rushed to Alamo Drafthouse to turn in the final movie.
  • NOON – Exhaled. Passed out.
  • 8PM – Woke up and returned to Alamo Drafthouse for the official screening and judging.

The competition was fierce.  We were up against nine experienced video production teams working with nine other very worthy nonprofits.  In the end, I am happy with our film.  We chose to create a documentary-style video with faster cuts than usual and used a hip-hop soundtrack to give it energy.  The sound output  and music was mixed a bit low, which affected the impact, but I was satisfied otherwise.

The Winner:

So did we win?  If you mean “win” the way Charlie Sheen would mean “win”, I’d say yes.  But the panel of judges officially chose Core Media Enterprises‘ “A Unique Look at Austin Bat Cave” as the Film Frenzy Winner… And rightly so.  They did an excellent job in every way (cinematography, interviews, content, editing and sound).  A very worthy opponent.  Whole Planet Foundation’s “Clarity” was the audience choice winner.  Its Portlandia-esque jab at the Whole Foods culture really connected with people, even though it didn’t really explain how the Whole Foods Foundation alleviates poverty or touch on the microcredit concept.  It was fun.. It did the job by getting attention, and we can Google for more information if we really care.  I’d say it worked overall.

Guiseppe Taurino and the team at Badgerdog were a big help and made producing the video a pleasure.  They were articulate and very accommodating to the process.    I would also like to thank Anna Ogden, who assisted me throughout the weekend. It wouldn’t have been the same without her.  Not only did she help with lights and sound, her editing feedback was invaluable.

See you next year…


About the Reel Change Film Frenzy

On January 13-15, ten nonprofits will team up with ten filmmaking teams to make amazing cause-driven films here in Austin, TX. The contest will highlight Austin’s talented filmmaking community and the awesome organizations working to improve our world. The Reel Change Film Frenzy will start with participating nonprofits and filmmakers getting paired up at a kick-off happy hour (RSVP here) at The Highball at 5:30 on January 5. The filmmaking race officially begins when the teams convene in front of the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar on Friday, January 13 at noon to get final instructions and GO!

Films will be due Sunday at high noon and then shown before a live audience and panel of judges at the Alamo Drafthouse that same night. Winning filmmakers win bragging rights and ALL participating nonprofits win a great short film that highlights their great work.

The winning film (picked by our jury) will also be screened at the 2012 Lights. Camera. Help. Nonprofit Film Festival on September 12-14 here in Austin, TX.