Forty-eight Hours

There are forty-eight hour writing contests and forty-eight hour film-slams, and on Friday, May first, through Sunday, May third, I will be writing and slamming. And catering.

And which activity do you suppose wakes me at night to give me the heebie-jeebies? The food part. Someone could faint from lack of food because I didn’t prepare enough. Will I find the cast and crew to bring them meals on wheels? I’ll have no idea where they’ll be filming when I think they should be eating a nutritious lunch. And the lasagna. It could stay warming in the oven till two in the morning while they finish a scene. What will it taste like then?

I need to get over this. I catered for this team, my son’s, a few years ago. The only complaint then was that there were not enough snacks. The team has grown from ten to seventeen, and I’m tripling the provisions.

My first acting role was in last year’s film slam. I played a crabby Eastern European ticket taker who sprays down undesirable patrons with bug spray before they can enter the ‘pristine’ theater. I was told I did a good job, but having meals on hand when hungry will mean more to the cast than having a crabby Eastern European character actor waiting in the wings. Still, I wouldn’t say no if asked to fill in.

This year, for the first time, I’ll get to write a log line. It’s like an elevator pitch. Anyone in cast and crew who is so inclined will have a chance to write and pitch their very abbreviated scripts to the others, to try to sell their idea. I wish I knew how to prepare for that. It’s not like cooking ahead, because before a forty-eight hour film slam or project begins no one knows what they will be filming. Think sitting around nibbling on the caterer’s offerings, biting nails, guessing, while waiting for the phone call. This call will tell the team in what genre their film must be, and what line of dialog, character, and prop must appear in the film.

Because this particular film project is headquartered in Boston, my daughter (who has also acted, written and cooked), will be there to receive the instructions. She’ll call in all the info needed to get cast and crew started, and then she and another team-mate will make the long trek up north to join the crew.

The call will come at seven-thirty P.M. Talk about pressure. Talk about being at your best at the end of the day. I was heebie-jeebied about meals? We won’t get forty-eight hours to write this script; we’ll get maybe two. When I’ve written a story for a forty-eight hour writing contest I’ve roamed the house with pad and pencil for at least two hours waiting for the muse to strike. That option is out for a film slam. I’ll be feeling like the octopus from Heidi’s posting on 4/27.

Then, when a script or concept is decided upon, everyone will jump into furious activity even though it’s closing in on the end of the day. Props must be begged, borrowed or built. Sets constructed. Outdoor scenes decided upon. Costumes found and made to fit. There’ll be more writing, certainly a rudimentary screenplay is needed, one that will allow the actors a little creative wiggle room. It will be typed up, printed, and handed out. Lines need to be learned. A seven minute film needs to be completed and in Boston by 7:30 Sunday evening.

I’ll do the dishes and go home. They’ll stay up all night.

Tomorrow everyone will be twice as hungry, and breakfast is at six. Maybe I’d better get some more food. There’s no reason to think my story will be picked, or I’ll get to play another crabby role, but sure as shootin’, these folks will need to be fed.

About Eleanor Ingbretson

Native New Yorker. Transplanted to New Hampshire years ago, but still considered a flatlander by the neighbors. Writer of fantasy and mystery and whatever else takes my fancy.

Posted on May 4, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I know you must have had a blast yet I am exhausted for you!! Can’t wait to hear how they did in the competition. This is a good reminder that creativity isn’t limited to the written word, to sitting by yourself with your laptop aiming for 1,500 words or five pages. Sometimes it is found in feeding 17 people!


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