Reflections on “Hitman Run”

Six years ago I embarked on a very interesting project. Take 48 hours, a genre drawn from a hat, and a required prop, character, and line of dialogue, and see what comes out. This is the 48 Hour Film Project, an international competition to see how quickly filmmakers can race against the clock to make a film.

The very first project that I made six years ago was what I would consider a complete and utter disaster. We finished and turned the film in, but it was still a disaster. I mean, how could it be anything else. I was nineteen and of everyone who was on the team I had assembled, I was the only one with any kind of filmmaking experience. I was the director of photography and the editor and the pinch-hitting writer and fill-in director. I was practically everything that weekend and it left me exhausted. But, it also left me wanting more.

Camera Crew Shooting Scene in an Office
The crew shoots the final scene of “Hitman Run”.

If there is one thing that I will say about the 48-Hour Film Project it’s this, there’s something addicting about the creative rush you get when you make a film in that amount of time. It’s different from the feeling you get when you make a film normally. I think in some part that’s due to knowing you’ve placed every piece of yourself, and every resource you have available on the table to make this film happen and knowing that your team and those you’re competing against have done the same.

This year’s project brought with it a lot of excitement and in the back of my mind a bit of sadness as I don’t know that I’ll be able to make one in Baltimore next year for a variety of reasons. But, the excitement definitely won out as the weekend went on.

Group photo with finished film
Jesse, Esther and me turn in the completed version of “Hitman Run”.

We drew “Road Movie” from the hat and the adventure began. Similar to those of the past, but new and different at the same time. Even though I have been doing this competition for so long it felt as if this was the first time. When everything was finished. With the ‘T’s’ crossed and the ‘I’s’ dotted, the finished film was as amazing as I could have imagined.

I couldn’t have asked for a better team. Dave and Seth worked long and hard into the night, taking the criticism from Esther, Geoff, and me in stride to produce a script that not only conformed to the requirements but was funny and enjoyable. My actors, Chelsea and Marshall, put up with a few uncomfortable costumes in the heat of a Baltimore summer, while my other actors, Steph and Dan, put up with waiting around for their turn in front of the camera. Geoff, Jesse, and Esther took my panicking in stride as I worried that we weren’t getting enough shots or that we weren’t shooting fast enough, or that we weren’t going to finish on time. I can’t thank my mother enough for being my location manager and securing as many places as she did. I’ve said it before and I’ll continue to say it, making her my location manager was the best decision I’ve ever made. And the list just goes on and on. My team is amazing. I just hope everyone else sees how awesome they are when the film screens on Tuesday at the Charles Theater. I think tickets are still available.

I hope we get to do it all again next year.

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