We Made a Movie in 48 Hours
It is exhausting. But it's also very fun. Through the 48 Hour Film Project, a group of family and friends assembled over the weekend of September 15-17 2023 to create a short film from scratch in 48 hours.
Ripe for the Pickin Fire Pit still image

Friday – Load Out

I spent Friday morning staging and loading gear, filling a minivan completely. Shortly after noon I drove to the Bauer residence, the site of our filming, to unload. I was already pretty tired and we hadn’t even started!

Friday – The Kickoff

It all started at the kickoff meeting. We managed to assemble our entire team to witness the start of the event. Once the check-in/paperwork was out of the way, the teams drew two genres, one or both of which the film must embody. Nicole Bauer represented us in the musical chairs activity to pick the genres. We ended up with “Buddy Film” and “Dark Comedy”. and I felt like we dodged a bullet. Some of the genres are pretty tough. Think “Musical” or “Silent Film”.

Next, the required elements were revealed: The character of “Kris or Kristy Vail”, a painter; grapes and the line “You forgot to mention that little detail.” All of these must appear in the film.

At 7 PM promptly, the teams were released with 48 hours until the film had to be turned in.

Ripe for the Pickin' Poster

Friday – from Idea to Script

The team assembled at the Bauer residence. By 8:15 everyone was settled in. We had a brief kickoff meeting of our own and then divided into 3 teams of 3 to come up with a story idea. At 8:45, we reconvened and each group pitched their idea to the others. 

We settled on an idea conceived by Mike Blessing, Thad Bauer and myself. The whole group added ideas here and there to flesh out the full story line. Then Alex Wey, Dave Poole, Julia Brown, Mike Blessing and I separated from the rest to do the writing. We hashed out the final story line and scenes and each wrote one of the five main sections of the film.

We also did casting on the fly, with Nicole Bauer and Julia Brown tapped to be our protagonists. Mike was assigned the other lead role, Joye Bauer was given a nice supporting role while Alex Wey, Dave Poole and I rounded out the cast with short appearances.

Once everyone contributed their prose, I merged the changes into script form and printed a copy for review. I have to admit I was concerned about being able to churn out a decent script by committee. But I think we ended up with a pretty solid effort!

Our First Problem

The script was 9 pages, which translates to a 9 minute film. The rules specify a runtime of 4 to 7 minutes. It was now after 1 AM. I was tired. Everyone else was already in bed. I had hoped for a final script before lights out, but we would have to fix this in the morning.

Saturday Morning – Final Script

Breakfast was at 7 AM and we did a table read by 7:45. As expected, the script was about 9 minutes. We shortened some of the longer dialog, but struggled to trim two whole minutes. Finally, Someone suggested we cut the “Stomper” scene down to the bare minimum and that did it. New scripts were printed and the table read was well under 7 minutes. Whew!

Saturday – Filming

Thad Bauer was dispatched on a scavenger hunt to gather the props we needed. The rest of us did various preparations and setup, but we managed to shoot our first scene, poolside, by about 10 AM. We got half of one interior scene done before lunch and filmed the reverse of that scene after lunch.

From there we tackled the outdoor daytime scenes at the barn and the front door. Late in the afternoon we took a bit of a break. Some napped. I loaded the files onto the laptop and then pizza arrived. We ate dinner and then headed out to film the fire pit scene at dusk… and, unknowingly, to make a pretty big mistake.

We filmed the final indoor, nighttime scenes and wrapped filming by around 9 PM. Then it was all editing. I put a rough cut together, finishing at about 1:15 AM.

Our Second Problem

While editing, I discovered that we missed one bit of coverage on the fire pit scene. There was no way to edit around it, so we agreed to shoot the missing bit at dawn. I was a little angry about that, but when you have such limited time to think of everything, mistakes will be made.

Sunday Morning – The Final Shoot

We managed to get everyone awake and outside just before sunrise. It was a little chilly, but not too bad. As morning broke, fog started rolling in. We were concerned that the footage wouldn’t match–we didn’t have time to totally reshoot the scene. In the end, it made for such great-looking footage that we’ll live with the continuity error. And the cricket noises were excellent!

We managed to do a quick team view of the rough cut and I think everyone was pretty pleased with our result (so far).

Sunday Afternoon – Final Editing & Music

We loaded up all of the equipment (what a mess!) and headed back to Columbus for the final edit. Tammy Coates (our director), Dave and I arrived late morning and got to work. Dave fleshed out the music while I worked on the edit with input from Tammy. She has an eye for detail that I lack. Mid-afternoon, Dave and I got together to lay in the music. Tammy and I worked to tweak as many things as possible in the time left.

In the end, we weren’t able to fine-tune everything we would have liked. We simply ran out of time. But we got it to the point of “pretty good”, did the final render at 6:55 PM, and submitted it before the deadline.

Now What?

Now we wait! The premiere screenings for our film and the other ten teams is September 26th, 2023 at 6:30 PM at the RJ Cinema Distillery Taproom.

In the meantime, you can watch the trailer for Ripe for the Pickin’.

Want to see the film? Tickets are available for $15 plus a small service charge.

Our composer and “Head Stomper”, Dave Poole, has a podcast with he and his wife. He’s put an episode out that covers our 48 hour journey.

Check out Episode 16 – Let’s Make a Movie!


  1. Thad

    What an amazing weekend!!!

    • Terry

      Yes it was!


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