Austin Madding, graphic designer and videographer here at Innovations Branding House, recently competed in the 2013 Paducah, Kentucky, 48 Hour Film Project. He’s one of our own, so you can safely assume he rocked it!
We sat down with Austin to find out more about the competition and to get the inside scoop on this event.
- What is the 48 Hour Film Project?
The 48 Hour Film Project is a worldwide competition that started with a couple of groups in Washington DC, I think. Now there are, I believe, around 120 cities across the world that take part in it. Paducah is the smallest chapter of the 48 Hour Film Project, and it’s thanks to Landee Bryant at Maiden Alley Cinema that we get to do it. It’s basically a crazy weekend, in which different production groups draw a film genre at random and are given required elements for the piece. From there, they have 48 hours to make a movie and turn it in on time.
- How many teams competed in the 2013 Paducah, Kentucky, 48 Hour Film Project?
This year, there were 13 groups of filmmakers competing against one another.
- How skilled are the filmmakers that compete in the event?
This event definitely presents a challenge for a lot of people. There’s minimal prep work that you can do before the movie-making weekend starts – no script, no story, and nothing shot or recorded before the weekend starts. You begin at level zero and have to find your way up, all during the weekend that you’re actually making the movie.
At the Friday night kickoff event of the 48 hour weekend, you are given a required prop, character, and line of dialogue that you must use. These are the required elements. Then, all of the teams draw a genre from a hat. Each team has a different genre, and it can be anything from buddy comedy to film noir to musical.
This year we drew Sci-Fi.
While the 48 Hour Film Project isn’t necessarily something that will send you straight to the top of Hollywood, it’s a good way to get up off your butt and make movies. It’s a good way to start getting your crew used to the way you work. It’s a good way to get yourself backed into a corner where the only way out is to plunge through the darkness and figure it out as you go. Making a movie in two days – a GOOD movie, at that – is baptism under fire. If you can do it well, you’re on the right track. And it’s so much fun!
- Was there a clear gradient in quality among this year’s films?
Many teams really upped their game this year. This will be the 5th year that the 48 Hour Film Project has come to Paducah, and we have viewable records of how everyone in the competition has improved over five years of learning and making movies. People have figured out problems, they’ve learned some of the tricks, they’ve learned more effects, and they continue to come up with better stories – this all includes me, too. I’ve learned quite a lot from watching so many of those shorts.
This year, we had close competition in both the Best Film award and the Audience Favorite award – one of the most coveted awards. The margin for a winner was really small, and the best part is everyone could see it. No one in the audience could say who might win something because it was honestly too close for them to call. I love that!
- How are the filming locations chosen?
In the 48 Hour Film Project, in my opinion, it’s best to just plan for variety. If your story winds up taking place completely in the forest, you will struggle a lot more if you’ve only secured urban locations.
Locations for which I secured releases – thanks to my brilliant producer, Chip Brandstetter – were:
- The office where I work
- My boss’s private bar and salon
- A liquor store just outside of town
- A farm in Southern Illinois
- A rooftop in Downtown Paducah.
This year, I ended up using all but one of those – all because of the nature of the story that my team ended up coming up with.
6. What is this process like as a competitor?
I love that all these competing teams get together and try to beat each other. It’s friendly competition, and it’s helping us better each other. Because you know what? After all of this is over, the filmmakers drop the competitive nature of our crews and work together again. I get to go work with these people that I competed against and continue working together on a movie that a ton of Paducah filmmakers have been collaborating on for most of this year.
- What inspires you as a filmmaker?
It’s pretty easy to get inspired once you get caught up in an idea. You start seeing in your head how it should look, how it should feel to the audience, what you should show them, and what should overwhelm them. I wish I had time during the 48 Hour Film Project to storyboard like I usually do, but there is no time to spare.
My team was a big help in getting inspired this year. I wish you all could have seen it – all 10 people in a conference room, all of them focused on creating this story and discussing it, not arguing and goofing off, all of them trying their hardest to make it the best they possibly could. I absolutely love that. I also love the support that people show for filmmakers in this area. They have so much faith in us before they even see anything from us.
- What were the title of your film and the name of your team?
"Appleseed" by Escapist Pictures.
- Which awards did your group take home?
We won Best Sound Design, Best Cinematography, and Best Film.
Though he's not the type to brag, we at Innovations Branding House think Austin Madding is kind of a big deal.
Congratulations, Austin, on this truly impressive accomplishment and on demonstrating the power of innovative minds!
"Appleseed" can be found below for your own viewing pleasure.