jason santa maria
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{   October 21, 2003   }
This past weekend, along with 15 other individuals, I took part in the National Film Challenge. The challenge consists of this: Participating teams are given a genre, character and occupation, prop, and a line of dialogue which must all be represented in a short film ranging from 4-8 minutes in duration. The assignments are sent via email at 7pm on Friday. The film must then be written, filmed and in the mail, time-stamped, by noon on the following Monday. The majority of us had never made a live-action film (but many of us have animation experience), so we all jumped at the chance. As you can imagine, the coffee pot was constantly being refilled and there was little room for sleep.

This is what we ended up with:
Genre - Spy
Character and Occupation - Jessie Thomas, Success Coach
Prop - Bicycle
Line of Dialogue - “Can’t you see I’m working here?”.
We brainstormed and wrote until the sun came up. Collected supplies, costumes, and props in the morning, and began shooting after lunch. The shoot lasted for about 9 hours, after which we all collapsed. On Sunday, we edited, synced with music and sound, and created an animated title sequence. The entire process took 58 hours, start to finish, from 7pm Friday to 5am Monday.

All in all, I am very pleased and proud of the results. A tremendous amount of work went into this project, and a hell of a lot got finished in just a weekend (even if halfway through the shoot we punished ourselves with about 10 pounds of food from Burger King).

We had the luxury of professional lighting, sound, and cameras as well as an original score created just for this film. My apartment was the set, which took little dressing up (luckily too, because there really wasn’t time). Stunning performances were given by Ian, Pete, and Liz, and great teamwork was exhibited by all.

A great big thanks and congratulations goes out to everyone involved. As is usually the case when we do this sort of thing, we went a bit overboard with the details and created a companion website to go with the film. So, without further delay, here it is, Dial-a-Spy. Enjoy, and please post your thoughts.