Well, Tuesday night was bound to arrive … eventually. The big screening of the first annual San Antonio 48 Hour Film Project.
When I answered an ad off Craig's List all those months ago, I don't give much thought to this thing really happening.
I just now looked back in the email archives. It was all the way back in October 25 of 2006 that I sent the following email:
Dear Mark, Liz, and Christina:
I found your listing on Craig's List for a local producer to bring the 48 Hour Film Project to San Antonio.
My name is Erik Bosse. I've been involved in film and video production for the last five years. And for three years, I have been living and working in San Antonio. I am very familiar with the film and arts scenes here. I am a member of three local film organizations, Short Ends Projects, IFMASA, and NALIP. In the last few weeks I have helped with the promotion of the Manhattan Short Film Festival as well as the San Antonio 48 Hour Film Experience, which was sponsored by the San Antonio Film Commission. I have worked, in various capacities, with half a dozen local production companies. I have taught filmmaking and have sat on panels at local film and music forums; and, as such, I have no problem speaking in front of crowds. By January of 2007 I expect to begin contract work as the blog writer for the San Antonio Film Commission. I write, produce, direct, and more often than not, shoot my own short narrative projects. I have a GL2, a slew of sound equipment, and I edit on Final Cut.
I think I'd be perfect for the job of local producer for the 48 Hour Film Project. All the components of the job are things I have done many times before, and always with great success.
Please find attached my resume in PDF format.
Feel free to peruse my website:
You can see many samples of my writing and short films.
If you would like references, I'd be only happy to provide them.
Feel free to contact me at your connivence. Thank you for your time.
Shit, I sounded so eager and enthusiastic. Little did I know that in May I would find myself up to my eyeballs in political nonsense while trying to organize a seemingly simple and straight-forward local film event. An ordeal? You bet. But I made it happen. And people did show up. And I got on with my life. (I also managed to squeeze some morsels of pleasure out of the whole thing.)
And then I found myself scrambling to make the first annual Josiah Youth Media Festival a reality. It happened. The attendance wasn't quite what I had hoped for, but, in retrospect, it was a nice first year event.
So this 48 Hour Film Project should be a lazy mid-summer buggy ride. My email made me sound like a natural for this stuff. Top that off with two recent film events which I coordinated, and I should have waltzed through the 48.
So, why am I so numb? And I've still loads of work to do. Getting ready for the “Best Of” screening and awards ceremony. Getting awards certificates printed. Ditto on the programs. Set up the screening space. Create a master DVD for the event. Square things with some of my sponsors. Petition my friends for volunteers. And on and on.
Last night our judges met and they came to agreement on all the categories. Also, I spent a couple of hours tabulating all the audience ballots. The audience favorite for group A wasn't a great surprise. But the huge number of votes cast for the audience winner in group B was unexpected, but, I think deserved.
Tuesday I showed up at the Alamo Drafthouse at about 4:50. I tried to figure out how they were going to run things. Turns out, for the most part, they weren't there for us. That would have been fine, if only I had known this in advance. I found myself with too few volunteers. The Drafthouse, it seems, doesn't take tickets (actually I don't know if this is true, but one of the employees pointedly told me this). If I do this again (a big “if”) — and if I do this again at the Alamo Drafthouse (which is still a possibility, as they are really great people) — well, I will make it a point to bring a troop of burly volunteers who won't put up with any crap. In retrospect, I needed my own crew of ticket-takers. But I just didn't know this. And it became something of a free-for-all.
Pete and Lee were indispensable making sure everyone got the required ballots. And Monica arrived for the second block of screenings just when I needed some more help. I felt sort of weird conscripting Kareem (who I'm hopping didn't have to pay for a ticket) — but he helped some with handing out and collecting ballots.
Because I had two theaters playing two different programs twice in the course of the evening with a thirty minute over-lap, I found myself rushing from theater #1 to theater #8 often.
Six o'clock I introduced the screening in theater #1. Then I headed over to the other theater. Made sure the ballots were being handed out. And made sure that the projectionist (who was great!) knew when I would make my intro of the PA system, and then, when the screening would commence. And I made the introductory remarks, and the first screening of theater #8 began.
I panicked a bit because there were only eleven films screening in theater #8, but thirteen in #1. And I need to close each screening with a Q & A session with representatives of each team. This would last about 30 minutes. And my fear was that by the time I finished the Q&A for the audience in theater #1, the last film would have long ago ended in theater #8. I sent Pete over to theater #8 to do my job if I couldn't get there in time. I've seen him in front of audiences before. He could handle himself. Better than I, actually.
When the credits of the final film rolled to the top of the screen in theater #1, I headed up to the front, switched on the microphone, and called filmmakers to the front to let them talk some about their experiences. It seemed to go well. No one hogged their time over-much. And when the last filmmaker walked off, I made my “thank you all and see you next year!” and hurried my way through the milling crowds and made it to the corridor and all the way to theater #8.
The house lights were just coming up. Pete was at the mike saying some opening remarks and then he noticed me and turned things over to me. I hope I didn't disappoint him. Because I wasn't gleefully grabbing away the microphone. Public speaking is not one of my favorite things. Nope. It's not.
I ran the same dog and pony show.
And then I had about thirty minutes before I had to do all that over for the two second screenings.
I did a quick and dirty cursory head-count from the back of all four screenings. It seemed fairly impressive. Six hundred in all. But when I get the final count of ticket sales, I'm expecting maybe four hundred. I heard so many people saying how they were just buying one ticket and attending two screenings. I applaud their resourcefulness, but, dammit, I've been busting my ass on this project for two months (it's been my full-time job) — and a percentage of the ticket sales eventually goes to me. I still don't know the final figures, but I'm beginning to realize that for the last two months I've been working for about five dollars an hour. Oh well, at least I'm not punching a time clock.
The best thing about the screening was the films themselves. Out of the 24 pieces we showed, there were 14 that I quite enjoyed. Nothing was execrable. Well, not when you realize that they were all cobbled together in 48 hours. In fact, there are eight which I've enjoyed watching more than once, and would be happy to see again.
I might provide my one critique on the films once all the dust settles from Sunday's awards ceremony.
What follows are some photos of the big event. About half of the pictures were taken by Pete. Once he realized I was trapped into the glad-handing mode of the event organizer, he took my little digital camera from my hand, and roamed around, snapping pictures.