One Sleepless Weekend = One Movie

You’ve probably thought about writing a screenplay. (Or maybe you’ve already done it!)  Most writers have at least one great movie idea rattling around in their heads, just waiting. Waiting for you to have more time, waiting for you to feel more inspired, waiting until after you’ve written the next great American novel, etc.

What if I told you that you could write your movie script on Friday and then it could be screened to an audience on Monday?! You’d say, nay, it can’t be so. And I would say, oh naysayer, have you never heard of the 48 Hour Film Project?

The 48-hr film project is an insane weekend spent scrambling all over your town to find cap guns, cowboy hats, and coffee. Or hula skirts, a giant room full of decorative rugs, and a pink Cadillac. Here’s how it goes down.


6pm. You assemble a crack team of film makers. You’ll need writers, actors, camera operators, musicians, somebody with film editing software on their computer, and somebody whose mom makes yummy sandwiches and doesn’t care that you’ll need to use her creepy basement as a set at 3:00 AM. Then the lot of you head down to the kickoff party where they announce The Elements. That’s the three elements that every team must use in their film in order to be entered. Then you draw your genre- horror, comedy, drama, western, science fiction, musical– ensuring that the films will come out awesomely diverse and nobody makes the same movie. But that never happens. Because your team is epic. And so is everybody elses’. ONWARD.

7pm. You settle in for some power writing. You set a time limit, say, two hours. You and your writing buddies position wastebaskets behind yourselves and dramatically crumple pages to toss over your shoulder until EUREKA. It is finished.

9pm-dawn. You split up to secure props and locations. You discover that your local Wal-Mart is open 24 hours. That scene you wrote taking place at the bottom of the ocean is rewritten to take place on your neighbor’s pool deck.

At some point. Try to sleep.


6am. Daylight! You start filming. Where are the 20 plastic flamingos you neededforthe Act I, Scene I?

Noon. Make sure that everyone is hydrated. Your friend holding the boom looks a little flushed. Did she just pass out? Oy.

At some point. Try to sleep.


6am. Start editing. Oh no. Why isn’t there sound in this take? Wait. There is sound. Is that a plane flying overhead? Don’t panic.

Noon. Crunch time. Your little brother’s band has the perfect song for this scene, but the file isn’t compatible. Don’t panic.

4:30pm. RENDERING. Still. Don ‘t panic.

4:59pm. Racing to the drop off! Your film in hand! 48 hours of pure, unadulterated work!

5:00pm. YOU MADE IT! Your film is submitted. Tomorrow night you’ll go to the theater, sit with your crew, and watch screenings of all the movies forged in the fires of that insane weekend. You didn’t wait on your duff for someone else to make your movie for you. Scripts don’t write themselves- don’t wait!

The 48 Hour Film Project  may be coming to a city near you!

6 thoughts on “One Sleepless Weekend = One Movie

    • Hi M

      It’s a group of friends that get together to make a movie in 48 hours. Basically, they do everything themselves and from scratch. Hope this helps!

  1. This sounds awesome. I’ve always wanted to make a movie, even a sorta messy one. I tried to convince my friend Ilta to use her script she wrote for the screen writing contest. She agreed, but we still need a guy to play the lead, or we can’t do it.

  2. Sounds amazing… *sigh* So…all I need to do is get my friends as interested in movies as me, find a video camera, car keys, and somebody that knows how to work a computer… It does sound really fun, though. 🙂

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