lights! camera! 48 hours?

by elizabeth copley
7 pm Friday, June 5th: “Team 14B448 draws…fantasy,” announced Mac McDonald, Producer of the Jacksonville 48-Hour Film Project at the kickoff event at The Landing. I thought to myself, “Big challenge…here we go.”
41 registered teams drew one of 14 possible genres for this year’s Project. Once all the teams had drawn, we received the required elements to be used in everyone’s film: a disposable camera (the prop), Peter or Penny Dupree, Car Salesperson (the character) and “What did you do that for?” (the line of dialogue).
I had joined the team on Tuesday, June 2nd as their screenwriter. On the walk back to the Times-Union from The Landing, my writing partner, Nick Shepherd (also our lead actor) and I talked over how one of our concepts would fit nicely into fantasy. We presented our idea to the team, talked through the details, then left to write.
9 pm- Nick and I were underway. I had reserved a hotel room so we could write in isolation. At midnight, we were tightening up the “beat sheet” and by 12:30 am, we were writing the actual script.
2 am Saturday: We called Tracy, the director and Coulter, the producer, to meet us at the hotel with the actors for a table read at 2:30 am. I tweaked the script as the actors read their lines and made suggestions. We finished at 3:30 am and had to begin shooting within the next hour – we had written night scenes into the story. Note to self: Leave out night scenes next year.
4:30 am- The entire team was at the Times-Union getting the equipment and actors ready for filming. We headed to the parking garage and shot our first scene. We headed to our next scene’s location – daylight was quickly approaching in the east.
9:30 am- We took a break to eat breakfast and change clothes. I returned to my hotel room to shower and check out. I gazed longingly at the bed; the covers were never even turned down.
10:30 am- The rejuvenated team resumed shooting; editing began on the night scenes’ footage and conversation with the film’s music composer was underway.
3:30 pm- I’ve never seen so much Red Bull consumed by a group of people – we had all been awake over 30 hours at this point. Shooting and editing continued; music was being composed and the script was tweaked based on how a scene played out – I was waiting for the hallucinations to kick in.
5:30 pm- We finished at the Times-Union building and headed to our location for the “romantic” scenes. The bed for those shots looked so inviting. The temptation to crawl in close my eyes was overwhelming.
9 pm- Tracy called it a wrap and we all (or so I thought) headed for home for much needed sleep. We would meet at 8 am Sunday morning to shoot the final scenes.
8 am Sunday, June 7th: Upon arrival, I discovered that our editor, Amanda, worked through the night editing and had begun incorporating the original musical score and sound effects. She did manage to grab a couple of hours sleep – on the floor next to her office. That’s dedication! We shot our last scene at the Times-Union, then piled in my car and drove to an abandoned cemetery to shoot the final scene, which, ironically, was the opening scene for the film. As soon as we stepped out of the car and entered the cemetery, mosquitoes the size of Minnesota decided we looked like tasty morsels and swarmed us. Too bad we didn’t draw the horror genre. We wrapped up that shot in record time.
12 pm- We delivered the final footage. Since post-production had been underway for several hours, final editing went smoothly that afternoon. Kelly, our Director of Photography, added special effects; Amanda and Tracy pulled in the new footage, finished the music and remaining sound effects. There was excitement in the air as the final product was coming to completion!
6 pm- Several of us went to The Landing to await the arrival of our film, The Last Soul. We sat on the Twisted Martini patio cheering each team as they made their way to the delivery station.
6:55 pm- 35 minutes to spare! Team 14B448 delivered the movie. Sighs of relief and tears of joy were shared by that wonderful, happy-to-be-sleep-deprived crew.

48 hours. Can’t wait ’til next year!
Congratulations to the team for winning the Audience Choice Award and the prize for Best Editing! Visit for a look at all of this year’s winners.