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  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Jackson/Michigan/United States

    Lesson Learned: 36 Hour Challenge

    I bombed bad. Real bad.

    At my university, the center for entrepreneurship was hosting a film production competition called Take 36. The gist of the challenge was to have a team no larger than four film a movie on a smartphone within only 36 hours of the kick-off event. After kick-off, Take 36 announced three additional requirements that had to be in the film including their logo, a sound byte of their choosing (DJ Khaled's "Bless Up"), and a scene of Wave Field at my school.

    Upon hearing about this challenge I messaged my business partner in Grand Rapids and asked him if he would want to take on the challenge. He enthusiastically agreed and we also put on my brother and cousin for the crew to make a crew of four. I had a script treatment wrote up and then we later converted it into a professional style script. I put a lot of my view of my current city and university in this project and tried to illustrate how it inspired me to be the best that I can be.

    How this relates to the magic world is that I was going to make this film unique by using no special editing effects but rather have some amazing looking practical effects from my knowledge of engineering and magic. I figured this would help my project to stand out from the rest of the crowd. Some of the effects that I used were "Crush" and "Uncrush" by Eric Ross, "Dress Code" by Calen Morelli, and "Stay Cool" by Tobias Dostal. We had shot some scenes of "Pyro" by Adam Wilber but were unable to use it since our film had to be eight minutes.

    Needless to say my project bombed hard. A big issue is the magic sequence took up too much of the film and stole time away from the most important dialogue scene of the movie. As such, the dialogue scene feels rushed and unpolished. It also doesn't help that my acting skills are very rusty at best. For the Healed and Sealed effect, I wanted to use a Coca-Cola can but we were running out of daylight so we had to use one of the only available soda pop cans I had in my fridge which was Shasta. Anyone who has had Shasta should know that the carbonation is not as dense as a Coca-Cola can's and thus there is a very long, awkward sequence of the can being restored. What doesn't help is the the camera does not show the details of the can re-sealing itself nor of the bag being empty when I first look into it (which it visually is). Another issue is that since we had run out of time when editing, we could not implement the audio from the boom pole mic and thus the audio is a mess.

    So my film became a giant, unbalanced mess. I rushed the learning curve of the protagonist figuring out his powers which should have been fixed. Also, my practical effects were getting destroyed so we had to stick with crappy takes of them. My point of trying to show a character learning that he doesn't need money in order to follow his dream (which is to help people) comes off very rushed to where there is no time for a gradual pace of character development. I also tried to illustrate the correlation of literal REM dreams with aspiration dreams but that point may not come across due to the rushed story.

    So what I have learned from this experience is that there is no need to rush into anything. Take your time in developing your material whether it be magic or anything else entertainment related. Make sure you have all your geese in line and then you can proceed onto the next one. Granted I was not allowed the pleasure of taking my time on this project but that's the point. This challenge was to show that it's not as easy as what it seems to film a short film in such a short amount of time. So make good use of your time not being limited to 36 hours and practice your art. Also don't use Shasta for the Healed and Sealed effect.

    Here is a link to the video for your viewing. I was unable to hear any feedback from the contest judges so any feedback you guys could give us would be more than appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to read this and watch our project. Please enjoy!
    Last edited by Tyler Scott; 01-27-2016 at 11:10 PM.

  2. #2
    Community Manager @ E
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Las Vegas, NV
    I love the fact that you've realized that even when things aren't what you hoped there's something to be learned from the experience. Sometimes the toughest situations teach us the most important lessons.

    It also takes a lot to post something like that here so props to you for that as well.

    From the sound of things you've got a great head on your shoulders and you're well on your way.

    All the best,

    Have more magic questions? Keep up with me on Twitter too! [url][/url]

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Jackson/Michigan/United States
    Hey Luke,

    Thank you so much for all your kind words! They really mean a lot to me. I was so happy that I had the opportunity to at least learn and grow in ways that I did not expect. Here's to hopefully even better projects in the future.

    Love all your instagram posts by the way. You have great photography skills.

    Best wishes,

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