“We’re Team Work for Hire, and we have five minutes left on our export. Is that cool?”, said the nervous representative of Work for Hire, a team attempting to meet the Sunday 7PM deadline for the Ghostlight 48 Hour Film Slam. It was 7:30. Josh Webb, co-founder of the event told the team that if it were true – that they were almost done – then yes, it would be cool. Not all the groups pushed the deadline; half of the 15 qualifying teams turned their films in by 7PM.
As the films were dropped off, torrents of both woe and joy poured from the contestants. “My computer charger died. We couldn’t download our footage until this morning.” “I only slept 90 minutes last night.” “We pretty much went straight through from Friday night until 4PM today.”
Teams shared the details of how they worked in the pretzel line. “We were going to have a dog barking and put ‘These pretzels make me thirsty’ as a subtitle, but he wouldn’t bark on cue.” “We used a restaurant.” A team showed footage of how they handled the line: the character eats pretzels, but then his tire blows out, stranding him without water. Another team played it cautious, saying only that their handling of the line went “very well.”
Similar stories were shared about the Union Depot. Two teams managed to film inside the Depot somehow. Mark of Ghostlight was incredulous. “You filmed in the Depot? Did you have to ask for permission or anything?” The team was nonplussed. “No, we just went in and did it. There were others doing it too.” A group turning in their film later related their Depot story: They filmed walking by the Depot, but noticed 3 security guards posted outside.
The watchword from most groups was fun; or perhaps tired. Or perhaps a combination of the two: fun, but tired. One group said that they’d been at each other’s throats all weekend: “We kept changing the story.” “Our category was drama, and that’s exactly what we had.”
What all the groups seemed to share was a sense of accomplishment, of doing something that goes beyond difficult into the downright crazy. They also seemed to share a desire to do it again next year.