Lights, camera, action! were the keywords this weekend as Team Film Geniot got together to partake in the 24 hour film race put on by FilmRacing.com. Having participated before our solid team knew what to expect, a full day of strenuous and fast paced film putting together. Our group originally gathered on Wednesday evening at Jason S’s office to discuss possible ideas for our short film even though we had not yet been fed the official topic and the action we would have to incorporate into our film. We came up with a lot of great ideas and probably some bad ones, but we were pretty excited to get the chance to put all of our talents in a box, shake them up, and see what we came up with.
Prior to receiving the crucial details to the filmmaking process at 10pm on Friday I had a brief dinner with my mom, my stepfather, and my cousin Erika in town from Indiana. There’s not really much to say about it other than we were participating in that Dine-In Brooklyn week, so we enjoyed a tasty meal at Sette before I rushed back home to catch the first half of Syracuse’s Sweet 16 loss to Oklahoma.
At around 8:30pm, I headed to the 7th avenue Q station to take the train to Andy’s place, where our group was meeting up. Coincidentally, taking the train at the same time were 3 other members of the team, Jason, Kayvalyn and Andrea. We only travelled 2 stops further into Brooklyn, but we experienced one of the more annoying subway rides ever as the girl behind us was successfully rehearsing the art of annoyance. She kept making the loudest squealingest screaming sound while joking around with her male friend. She emitted brain piercing wails and screeches much to the chagrin of a large majority of the commuters in our car. Luckily, we weren’t going that far and eventually escaped.
When we got to Andy’s place Morwin and Suli had already been on hand. We sat on the couch making conversation and watching Syracuse being soundly defeated before the vital information arrived in Andy’s email. The New York Film race was about to begin. Our film had to use a theme of “breaking the rules” and had to incorporate the action of “clinking of glass”.
We fiddled with some of our older ideas, but the ones we got through never ended up fitting right. Rather early in our discussions someone brought up the idea of using Morwin’s pizza place and I think I might have said that we should use it as a front for a business. I think then Jason or Andy came up with an idea for a travel documentary and everything just took shape from there. We didn’t want to rely on outside actors so I fell into the role as the host of the travel show and despite the fact that Suli, Jason, Andrea, and I had all previously discussed writing together, Jason just started typing the script on his computer and within minutes had come up with some really wonderful ideas. There was no bickering or hard feelings about roles we wanted to play, it was a cohesive team effort.
After figuring out the story and the characters Andrea decided that she would have to style my hair and do wardrobe for my character. We went into Andy’s room and picked out a button down shirt and a necklace. I was also equipped with a backpack and a camera with a strap around my neck. Voila! A travel sh0w host was born. We quickly got all the scripts printed out and discussed the props we needed. We quite illegally stuffed entirely too many people into Suli’s RAV4 and made a few stops to pick up props before heading off to Schmook’s in Greenpoint.
We picked up Enisha along the way, because we thought we’d need man on the street interviews or some extras for the shoot. When we got to Schmook’s we were met by Rich and Lina who came from a theme party, the theme of which escapes me. Anyway, we took a little bit to set up, but we were extremely fortunate to have a great location and the proprietor on hand to make us a couple of pizzas with which we could shoot, as well as a real working oven.
During our little run of errands Andrea had picked up some of her stylist tools and was hell bent on making me look like the travel host she wanted me to look like. I was fine with that as I was sort of already getting into character. She put a bunch of hairspray and other stuff in my hair. I have to admit, I liked the attention of being on camera talent.
We began filming probably close to 2am. We shot pretty steadily until sunrise. It was hard to keep up energy and Kayvalyn and Enisha got a lot of quality sleeping in there. Everyone was really cooperative even though we didn’t get around to using some of them in a convenient time frame. Our big goal was to get Morwin’s scene’s done since he had already done us enough of a solid by letting us use his place, the least we could do is get him out at a reasonable time which probably ended up being 5am. We got the most out of all of our friends on hand though…and at around 6:20 we had finish most of principal photography save for the show’s intro which required me outside walking around Greenpoint and spewing a lot of bull about the neighborhood’s history and the history of the particular pizza joint we were entering.
It was during this time that Andrea and I came up with the host’s name, Chris Cartwheel. I’m not really sure why it was so funny. Maybe we were a little stir crazy after filming so long, but it seemed to work well, and it ended up giving us the strongest parts of the short, namely, the theme song and the open graphic. The shoot ended around 7:30am give or take. I think I was home by 8am.
It was a long night and I got a few hours of sleep before I had to head back to Andy’s at 5:30 to check out the edited version of the piece. It was really funny, but unfortunately it was too long. It had to be 3 and a half minutes and we had come in at 6 minutes and 30 seconds. A lot would have to be cut out before handing the piece in at 10pm. Ultimately, it got done, but a lot of great moments ended up being cut out. Hopefully, there is a directors cut. In any case, if you’d like to see “Lights Camera Cartwheel! with Chris Cartwheel” then I suggest you click here.
The rest of the evening after getting the film turned in was relatively quiet. Jason, Andrea, and I met up with Kayvalyn and Enisha and went back to Jayvalyn’s place where we ate an awesome dinner and watched Synechdoche, New York. If you’re not in the mood for a heavy and confusing movie, then I don’t suggest watching it. However, if you are in the mood to be deep and analytical, then it’s a treat. It really depends how you’re feeling I suppose.
Sunday I woke up early and met with my brother, cousin, and uncle in Midtown East as my uncle in from Arizona was driving us all to Rockland where we had to do the unveiling for my Grandfather’s headstone and have passover dinner. It was certainly an early date for Passover, but my mom is going to be away for it this year and since a good deal of my family was in town she wanted to have a big family get together. It all went off without a hitch, except for the fact that right when we wanted to leave to go back to the city there was a serious hailstorm with huge chunks storming down. It was a brief semi-apocalyptic even that was actually quite entertaining.
I didn’t get home til around 10:30pm and by that time I had missed the live online draft of my other Fantasy Baseball team, which I was fine with. I trusted my autorankings and was rewarded, but it wasn’t half as rewarding as the enthralling experience of making yet another film with my friends. I hope we do another one soon, whether or not there’s a film contest to win.