Reflections on 48-Hour Film Project New Orleans – Oct. 23 – 25, 2020

Having just completed a 48-hour weekend of filmmaking, my time of reflection gives me hope for the future.

Competition filmmaking is stressful. There’s no other way to describe it. Because of Covid-19, we ran a micro-crew which was good in some ways but challenging in other ways. Personally, I love a micro-crew. Especially on a time-sensitive project, my brain is already in overload without the on-going chatter of crew. I know crew are excited and proud to be on set and we cannot work without our valuable crew members but my mind constantly races and is distracted by just about everything. With a micro-crew, I was not distracted by the energy of numerous people on set. It was quiet and I appreciate the quiet. However, we were most certainly at a disadvantage without the extra people who provide the tasks that keep us going. I needed an AD. Cinematographer, Rachel Searcey, needed an AC and a grip. But because of Covid-19, we chose to make a shorter film than we usually do with less cast/crew and continued to “build our character” by sucking it up and doing as much as we possibly could on our own. Both Rachel and I spent Monday sleeping it off because there is no exaggeration in saying we were totally exhausted by 7:30pm on Sunday night. We made a quirky, 4 minute short film called Emersion and we witnessed fine performances by Darby Matthews and Jason Robbins.

I can’t say enough good things about Darby and Jason. Darby is on top of her craft and Jason brought his character home. I’m proud of their work. They gave each other the energy needed for authentic reactions and performed as professionals. Unfortunately for them, they had to experience a hotel that was probably the worst they have ever seen. FYI, don’t stay at the Baymont by Wyndham in Pensacola, FL. It’s a sleazy, unclean mess. Before the year is out, I’ll have a full refund on that production expense because of Wyndham’s shit show accommodations. But the hotel certainly did not affect my talent’s performances. I hope to work with both Darby and Jason again.

April Edwards was our Audio Engineer. She held her own and was very helpful by noticing several details that covered our asses! We were lucky to get April at the last minute; she was an asset to our team and I would trust her in any crew position. I hope to see her in front of the screen soon. She’s multi-talented with a background in acting and production. It was a pleasure to work with her.

Our Team Leader was Rachel Searcey. She shared writing credit with me on this project along with her cinematography and editing skills. She had the opportunity to stretch her creative wings and add some elements to cinematography and editing that she had never performed prior to this short film. Now, those new skills will only get better as she moves forward with her projects. I’m so proud she was able to have the opportunity get back on a film set and work her magic!

Getting back on the set, even with a delay in schedule because of rain, a cast and crew of only 5, wearing a mask all damn day and night, and only about 5 total hours of sleep within a 48-hour time span was exactly what I needed to get me out of 2020 and into an upcoming new year. For every short film I make, it gets me one step closer to my future. I’m excited for what 2021 will bring for my creative artist within. I’ve got more stories to tell. Those stories are rolling in my head all the time and they will find their place on screen one way or another.

Amelia Gilley, 10/27/2020