On April 7, 2017 at 1900 hours Dropbear & Panda arrived at PIPS Board Game Cafe in Marda Loop to get their secret package.
Calgary Expo’s 2017 48 Hour Film Challenge! We got our envelope and headed back to Mission Control at L&C Style Productions in Victoria Park. Our rag-tag team of fellow filmmakers were all waiting around the boardroom table. The tension was, er, tense.
The envelope was opened and discovered our film must include the following:
GENRE: Space Western
PROP: A toy of our choice (we went with model ships, and toy guns)
LINE OF DIALOGUE: “I don’t like boats, I don’t like water, I’m a man not a fish.”
from the movie Highlander
Holy crap what a wild weekend! Although we are disappointed we didn’t win, we also know it is our first year out, and we can’t wait for next year!
It was an insane 48 hours—from the moment we opened the envelope at L&C, to 7PM that Sunday night it was the best kind of mayhem.
After the team meeting, solidifying the idea, and putting all sorts of wheels in motion, me and Panda were off to do some midnight shopping at Walmart.
By 930AM the next morning we had the script finalized and raced to the studio. Where we met with our killer crew from L&C and our incredible cast, including: Emperor Palpatine played by Ken Gardner (Loose Moose Theatre, FUBAR)(Make Up FX by the amazing Stacy Evan Wegner and Jennifer Lynn Bain from Chopper & Stitch); a famous band of musicians from Peru who were in town for another show (including Felipe “Beam Me Up Scotty” Alberto, Eric “Guitar Laser” Kurimski, Santiago “The Cajone” Hernandez, and Oscar “Bottomless Dish of Goldfish” Pasache); local musician and legend Emre Cords as “The Baron”; designer and world traveller extraordinaire Teak Sato (playing Noodles); photographer to the stars Liam Rathgeber as the Bartender; and of course Calgary’s own Tamara Gauld as the oblivious “Water Girl”—the pivotal role the entire show relied on to set up our one line of dialogue.
L&C Style Productions is operated by Cinematographer/Director of Photography Luis Gonzalez (the “L” in L&C and has one of those fancy accents in his last name I can never remember how to make) and Director / Producer Candace Schmidt (the “C” in L&C). Not only did they turn their studio into the inside of the Millenium Falcon in an hour, they had already assembled an incredible team of shooters, grips, and gaffers.
By 12PM we were Camera(s) Up, by 6PM we were in the editing room and by midnight we had the final cut off to our sound and score genius’ Emre Cords and Chad Blain.
As they worked on sound I built the visual effects—never before have I made lightsaber or laser blast effects in After Effects (shhhhhhh, I’m a pro), so it was an interesting day of swearing, freaking out, running around wringing my hands and cursing at the gods. Panda was a champ when it came to encouragement, “You WILL NOT FAIL, Derpbear!” and would then bring me an egg sandwich.
With time running out the pressure was immense, but we made it; we dropped off our USB key with our final film (sub five minutes) back at PIPs just before 7PM Sunday night.
Really they should call it the “48-OMGTHATSNOTALOTOFTIMETODOTHISHOWDOPEOPLEDOTHISANDNOTGONUTTERS Hour Film Challenge.”
Wow, what a weekend! The filming was excellent, the crew amazing, and really, most of the stress was on the Sunday when I was running errands, buying USB keys, and racing my wee-Toyota Matrix up to Ghost Iron Studios to work with Emre Cords to be the second (and when Chad was there, the third ear) for the music composition, sound and ADR. Really, it’s incredibly uh… fun (?) watching the video buffer and upload over and over again as we send copies back and forth to Dropbear and Luis on the other side of the goddamn city.
BUT HOLD YOUR HORSES! HERE’S WHERE IT GETS EVEN MORE FUN….
Emre and I sent OUR last copy to the north end of Calgary where it was to get the FINAL TOUCHES and then driven down by Derpbear.. er, I mean Dropbear to Pips to be handed in by 7pm. Suuure, no problem, right? Only Dropbear had his motorcycle, and it’s spring in Calgary, and he was coming from North Calgary and it’s raining and snowing. So I’m waiting outside Pips in the cold and get a call from Candace saying “You have to wait outside… DB won’t be able to have time to park… He’ll just give you the USB key and you’ll have to run it inside.” This was at 6:40pm.
I wait. Wait some more. And wait some more. I text Luis at 6:55 saying “HE’S NOT HERE YET ZOMG FFFFFFF” and then I see a beacon of light over the horizon… a DB on the back of a 2007 Honda Shadow… flying through the rain and snow like he’s a superspy with his ass on fire trying to escape the KGB and cross the border. He flies up to Pips, as he’s screeching to a halt, tires burning on the wet and snowy asphalt, he reaches into his jacked and pulls out the illustrious USB KEY OF DESTINY. I grab it with no time to spare, and fly up the stairs and fling open the glass doors. We race up the stairs and slam the key down on the table in front of the Calgary Comic Expo employees playing cribbage at the table.
They look at their watch.
“6:57pm,” they said, “You made it.”
“YEEAAAAAHHHHHH”, we cried, which might or might not have also included some expletives.
I won’t get into HOW Dropbear got to Pips on time, but it was nothing short of a miracle and possibly some time travel or a transporter.
He was cold, his face broken from wearing an open motorcycle helmet whilst being pelted from icy rain and snow.
At least he didn’t die while delivering the USB KEY OF DESTINY. Would it have been worth it?? THAT’S UP FOR DISCUSSION.