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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Somewhere Between Hollywood and Handycams

A quick nod in the direction of America’s Team and the national pastime, over at Bugs & Cranks:

Testing, Testing — Ten questions (and answers) about recent Braves’ happenings. Don’t sweat it; it’s multiple choice.

Now on with the madness.

My apologies for the unplanned several-day absence here. In my defense, I’ll say that weekends are usually the best time for me to catch up in the writing department. But this weekend, I was wholly distracted by participating in Boston’s 48-Hour Film extravaganza. I joined up to shoot a film with a crew of mostly comedians, including Jenn, our organizer, producer, director, editor, and general mastermindess of the whole endeavor.

(Mastermindette? Mistressmind? Brainiatrix? Meh. You know what I mean.)

In case you’re unfamiliar with the 48-Hour Film concept, here’s how this bit of creative insanity works:

“Forty-eight hours later, the film is to be turned in. That leaves precious little time in between for plotting, writing, acting, taping, re-acting, re-taping, editing, crying, arguing, rueing, and floundering bare-kneed on a rough carpeted floor.”

1. On Friday evening, each crew is randomly assigned a genre. These range from the manageable (Comedy, Buddy Film, Romance) to the tricky (Silent Film, Sci-Fi, Fantasy) to the ridiculously impossible (Historical Fiction, Eskimo Porno Thriller, Musical or Western).

(Okay, they don’t really have a ‘Eskimo Porno Thriller’ category. I was just seeing whether you were paying attention.

Anyway, that’d be easier to make than a Musical or Western. Especially since I can’t sing, don’t own spurs, and the only way you’re getting me into a ten-gallon hat is if you stuff me through a woodchipper first and pour me in.

Plus, I’ve already got the polar bearskin Speedos, and I can think of three ways to kill someone sexily using three hundred pounds of seal blubber.

Make that four ways. I can’t believe they don’t have this category. Oops — five. Moving on.)

2. As the genres are being assigned, the teams get other ridiculous information, too. Every film — even the Silent Period Musicals — must include a specified character, a particular prop, and a line of dialogue. So no matter what movie you plan, it has to meander its way past a transsexual Samoan named Moose riding a hobby horse and exclaiming, ‘Beatrice, this is the finest meatloaf you’ve ever served!

Assuming those were the three bits specified. Happily, those were not the bits specified to us. Our film had to have a gossip, a shoelace, and someone saying: ‘When you think of something good, let me know.

(Of course, there’s nothing in the rules that say the gossip can’t be a transsexual Samoan. But we couldn’t find one. So we used this guy instead.

I decided not to tell him about the first idea. It just didn’t seem right.)

3. Forty-eight hours later, the film is to be turned in. That leaves precious little time in between for plotting, writing, acting, taping, re-acting, re-taping, editing, crying, arguing, rueing, and floundering bare-kneed on a rough carpeted floor. More on that last bit later.

4. There is no 4. Why would you lollygag around looking for 4., when there’s now less than two days to make a movie? Tick tick tick, sparky. Those Inuits aren’t going to grease up, boink, and stalk themselves, you know. Chop chop.

But back to our movie. We pulled a relatively uncomplicated genre in ‘Spy Movie’, which was a relief. That was Friday evening. Nine pizzas, several beers, a splash of tequila, forty-nine hours, and a whole Samoaload of work later, we had a finished film.

That’s right. Forty-nine hours. Unfortunately, we had some technical difficulties in the editing process, and missed the forty-eight hour deadline by a hair. Or a hair and a nose. An Eskimo’s nose.

Still, all is not lost. We have a lot of good footage, and any number of New England area film festivals, showcases, and open screen nights at which to embarrass ourselves with this little endeavor. So as not to ruin the various surprises involved, in case we can someday make the movie available, I’ll give only these details:

  • When we got ‘Spy Movie’, the immediate thought was that someone should be targeted to die. The team immediately thought of me. Aw. I’m touched. And a little nervous.
  • In addition to my own part in the movie, we used my house as a location for several indoor and outdoor shots. I’m waiting for my wife to see the movie, to find out which horrifyingly embarrassing and obviously noticeable thing I failed to notice, and is now captured forever on a public film. That’ll be fun.
  • For a just-under-seven-minute film, we shot roughly one hundred minutes of tape. So while the film itself would make a shortish YouTube clip, the ‘Director’s Cut’ edition we eventually unleash will be a six DVD box set. Keep an eye out for that.
  • It’s very difficult to convince people when you’re telling them that you made a movie that it wasn’t a porno when you also tell them that you got a fairly bad case of rug burn on your knees and elbows during the filming.
  • It wasn’t a porno. Really. But I did get quite a lot of rug burn. IT WASN’T A PORNO, DAMN YOU!

And there you have it. Perhaps it doesn’t ‘excuse’ my absence recently, but it certainly was a worthy diversion. And maybe someday I’ll do it again, because it really was a load of fun. Only next time, I’ll get to be on top I’ll be sure not to get the rug burn.

Not a porno. Honest.


Permalink  |  1 Comment

One Response to “Somewhere Between Hollywood and Handycams”

  1. Jenn says:

    Oh no…rest assured, you’re getting rug burns the next time too.

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