Lights, Camera, Action!

Last weekend, some friends and I participated in the 24 Speed Filmmaking Competition, an annual event hosted by William & Mary Libraries’ Charles W. Reeder Media Center. In just 24 hours, student and alumni groups compete to create short films. All of the films are later screened at the Kimball Theatre, located just a few minutes from campus on Duke of Gloucester street. Each team is given a line of dialogue, a prop, and a genre. Other than that, get creative, because the sky’s the limit!

While the competition is open to both amateurs and seasoned pros, it’s probably worth mentioning that not a single person from my team is a film major. Collectively, we have very little experience in the movie making business. My friend happened to see the registration flyers one day, and we all decided to sign up for fun. While we may have spent the first of our twenty-four hours just trying to learn how to work the camera, by the end of the competition, we were basically professionals! (Okay, maybe not professionals, but we definitely came a long way from where we started.) We spent Saturday morning driving around campus in our film crew mini-van shooting different scenes and roping our friends into acting. We spent the rest of the afternoon editing and just managed to submit our movie within the 24 hour cutoff.

A behind-the-scenes shot of our movie. (Thanks to Arman Franco for the photo!)

Several days later, we rolled out the red carpet and attended the movie premiere on the big screen! Thirty-six groups submitted films, and all of them were incredibly unique, creative, and entertaining to watch. It was cool to see how everyone interpreted their genres and incorporated their assigned dialogue and prop. Some of the possible genres included “parody,” “melodrama,” and “Dada,” and the line of dialogue that everyone had to use was, “You know I love you darling!”

While our film may not have brought home any Oscars, I am really proud of our finished product. My brief stint as an actor/director/cinematographer was definitely a memorable experience. One of my favorite things about my time at William & Mary has been the opportunities like this, where I’ve been able to try new things and break out of my comfort zone. If I had another year here, I would definitely sign up again!

(Interested in watching all the films? Then check ’em out on Swem’s YouTube channel!)

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