If you are a filmmaker and have registered for Asia’s biggest film making challenge, then this article is all you need to read. An amazing opportunity for upcoming talent, the competition sees participants from all across the country and abroad as well. India Film Project provides the platform for talent to showcase their skills in a time frame of 50 hours and doing so can be a bit overwhelming.
About The Competition:
India Film Project’s flagship competition 50-hour film making challenge is all about the art of film making. Participants are required to create a script, shoot, edit and submit the film in just 50 hours over a weekend. Teams are given three major categories to choose from namely: Professional, Amateur and Mobile film making. How is it challenging you to ask? Well you don’t make the film over just any weekend and on any topic. Dates are decided and the themes are revealed at 8 pm on a Friday which this year would be on 27th September 2019. Over 32,000 filmmakers from over 28 countries participate and more than 1500 short films are submitted in just 50 hours.
The time frame may feel plenty for some and scarce for others to make a short film with the highest level of creativity and skill. Here are 7 tips that can help you complete the task of making a short film in just 50 hours for the India Film Project.
1. Time is Money
Even when it feels plenty, do not take time for granted, each second and minute can help you get to your goal and so use it wisely. It can sometimes feel that time is slipping away, that is when you need to push yourselves harder and cross that finish line. Keep someone in charge to keep reminding the team of the time remaining.
2. Think Unique
Making a film in 50 hours in itself is a huge task but when you are competing with so many others who can do it, the only element that can stand out in your film is just one creative idea. Think different, uncommon and focus on an element that has never been done before. It is just a means to give you an edge over the other teams.
3. Pre-production is important
You won’t get any time in those 50 hours to do anything else, so make sure your per-production or planning is strong. A few things that you can do beforehand are:
• Scout all options for locations that you might need to shoot at
• Inform all the actors and book their time for the duration of the competition if they are needed and fit your character
• Gather the think tanks and have a number of ideas on which a short film can be made. Discuss the multiple genres as well
• Make a structure of the script you have in mind. Once the theme sets in, there is a good chance it fits into one of your script structures with just a little bit of changes.
Watch this documentary to see how three times winner at IFP made their films.
• Decide on a place where your team will be operating out of for the duration of the competition.
• Keep all your recording equipment, editing set-up and cameras in one place for easy access. Make sure your production kit has all-purpose tools and equipment.
• Have one really, and I mean really good internet connection. You could make a great film but it won’t be recognized if its not there on time.
4. Your Team is The Key
Probably one of the most important aspects of the competition is your team. Gather the team all around you just before the competition begins and distribute work among st yourselves. Everyone should be crystal clear on their roles in the team, from the cinematographer and production head, down to Assistant directors, production assistants and actors. During the competition, there are going to be distractions where miscommunications may cause temporary rifts, make sure to dissolve them quickly and be supportive of each other. Make sure everyone is on the same page. Know that the team is as good as the weakest link, support each other in their tasks, it will get you all to the finish line.
5. Plan Your Competition
You only have 50 hours to make a short film in which you have to write the whole script, arrange locations, props, costumes, shoot the footage, edit the footage and put it for upload. Plan the competition by dividing the time you have into sections. My time for IFP was divided into 3 major parts. 12-14 hours for script idea and writing, another 6-7 hours for dubbing, preparing artists, 14-15 hours for shooting, another 12 hours for editing, coloring etc, and remaining buffer time for uploading the file to submit. Notice I have kept room in case the plan is delayed so I have a good 3-4 hours to work on the film if needed. You can create your own timeline based on your strengths and weaknesses, finishing soon with the former and taking time for the latter.
6. The rule book is your Holy Grail
Know that just knowing the rules is not enough, remembering those is important too. Many creative and brilliant short films have been rejected due to non-compliance of rules. Before the competition begins, make sure to sit down with the team and read them very carefully. Even the smallest ones can be a problem. Sort out those beforehand and make sure everyone knows the rule book by heart. If you forget, someone needs to remind those to you. Some rules which can cause a problem are the uploading file size, the time frame required for the IFP graphic to be added in the file, credit, file name format and time of upload. Know that the file can take a lot of time to upload so plan your time likewise, late entries are not entertained.
7. Do Not Panic
Well in 50 hours, you honestly cannot afford to panic. When the whole team is working together it can get chaotic and overwhelming sometimes. Each minute you panic is a minute you waste which could be used for something productive. Planning should help avoid that but if it does, instead of one minute, take two, go outside, breathe and come back in full swing. A clear head can help you delegate work swiftly and efficiently.
These tips helped me and my team to cross the finish line twice. And I hope they are as helpful to you too. To all the participant out there, get another award to the city again, we are rooting for you!
About the author:
Aditya Sharma is a filmmaker and founder of Creat-e-Witty Media Notions. He is known for his three wins at the IFP Season 6 and Season 7 where he won for Platinum and Gold awards for 3 short films all made within 50 hours. He recently directed a 9-episode web series “Drishtibhram” featuring Leonard Leo which is now streaming on Amazon Prime and MX Player.