Prepping for the 24Hr Film Race 2021

grayscale photo of person holding camera

Hello film enthusiasts! Today I’m going to write a bit about the upcoming 24 Film Race, and what Barigord Studios is doing for it.

First off, the Film Race is exactly what it sounds like: a race to make a film. In this version, teams have 24 hours from the start time to make a film from start to finish and submit it to the contest HQ. The Race is run by, and Dr. Richard Tavernero specifically. It has been on for 20 years (!) and is generally considered the toughest film competition in the world.

To make things a little easier for the filmmakers (or harder, depending on how you see it), each race begins with the announcement of a Theme, Prop and Action, elements which must appear in each submitted film. This also has the effect of forcing the filmmakers to make something during the hours of the Race, and not just do something beforehand and submit it. Scripting anything in advance is against the rules, and can set you up for disaster if the elements are not compatible with what you scripted.

There are 3 Film Races annually. The 24Hr, the 100Hr, and the 72Hr Horror. When the films have been submitted, a jury selects a top 10 or 15 Finalists, and those films are screened as part of a gala evening and awards ceremony. The gala and awards have naturally been online during the pandemic, but the Races have been run to great success.

How do we know? Well, Barigord Studios has competed in all 3 of the last 3 Film Races. We started with last year’s 24Hr, and then continued to do the 100Hr and 72Hr Horror as well. We did well.

Our 24Hr film from last year is called ‘My Ultimate Creation.’ Our original version suffered from sound issues, which made it tough to understand despite being a pretty funny ‘horror’ comedy. We were not Finalists and won no awards, but it was our first film. We were going by Team FOMONoMo (or Fear Of Missing Out No More) at the time and using borrowed equipment. Eventually, we recut the film as an old-timey Black and White Silent film with titles. You can see it for yourself here.

Our 100Hr film was also under the heading of Team FOMONomo, and we were still using borrowed equipment, but this time, we were a lot more prepared. We had the beginnings of what is now Barigord Studios, including the brick wall backdrop we used for several sequences in the film, and a better idea of how to use our time. We started out wanting to make a choice about audio, as we still had minimal equipment, and shot everything without it. The idea was to dub things in post, and come out with a wacky chaotic comedy. What we didn’t count on was a narrative that we all embraced early. The film is called ‘Your Top 3’ and covers the semi-finals of a TV Stand-up Comedy Competition called ‘Comicathelon.’ Only three Competitors remain, cooped up in an apartment together, awaiting the penultimate performance that will decide the finalists. During the competition, they grew close, and stood out from the rest of eliminated competitors, but now realize they’ll have a hard time accepting that one of them will leave. The film can be seen here.

While this was only our 2nd film, and required a mad scramble to write dialogue that was a phonetic fit, as well as told our story and established character, we made the Top 10 as a Finalist for the 100Hr Film Race. You can also find the film on IMDb!

The success fueled us to do better. We acquired a better camera (a Canon Eos M50, as recommended by Dr. Richard Tavernero – thanks again!), several green screens (including a 7×17′ chroma keyed fleecey one), a film-quality makeup kit, and improved our lighting and sound capabilities. We went into the 72Hr Horror Race with a lot more savvy, and embraced our limitations to create our concept.

The film we produced is called ‘Head Case’ and was named by one of our Actors, Will Ford Hopkins. It was born out of how none of our group like or watch horror movies. As the primary writer, I had the following in mind: we want to make something we’ll all actually watch, we don’t want to splatter blood everywhere, and we have minimal horror experience to draw from.

My angle was true crime, as serial killers are absolutely the stuff of horror. I had a former co-worker who was always stoked on a true crime podcast she was listening to, and we also worked with her brother. That was about the same time as the Golden State Killer case was reopened and broken by a collection of podcasters and independent investigators. Those real-life siblings inspired the film siblings, which fit Andrew Wade and Charlene Happy perfectly as actors. I wanted to have them be investigators of the true crime, but figured there was no way we could pull off police uniforms or settings. A podcast checked all the boxes.

I initially had the idea to use our green screens to cut off body parts, and even pursued the possibility of a digital blood fountain, but it seemed impossible during the timeframe. I then hit on doing the reverse, and having the severed body part be the focus. A lot of the ensuing details emerged organically, though what was used was an overlong, unedited script.

You can watch the film here.

We did well, becoming a Race Finalist for the second Race in a row. This time it was a Top 15, but that’s just because of all the quality. Our Director of Photography and VFX specialist, Ramiro Cuenca, took on the challenge of making a film primarily on green screen. He was rewarded handsomely, as were we all, with a win for Best VFX. The IMDb listing is here.

So here we are, with the 24Hr Race happening this Friday. It’s difficult to plan, but here’s what we’re doing.

First, we have a dedicated production core, as you can see across our films. It is likely the film will centre around Andrew Wade, Charlene Happy, and myself, Josh Hallem, as we are roommates and can safely interact. Ramiro will likely direct and oversee the editing process. We will likely write smaller, isolated roles for our other actors, ideally with minimal dialogue. This way we can maintain social distance, including no need to mic them up.

Second, we are planning to shoot at Barigord Studios, possibly on green screen. We have a couple of outdoor locations that we can use if necessary. We would try to start filming ASAP, and try to wrap ASAP as well. The more time we have for editing, the better. No amount of time is ever enough. Because of this, it’s unlikely that we’ll go for too much outdoor daylight stuff, as by that time, we’d prefer to be in post. However the days have been long recently and we might even get a sweet Magic Hour.

Third, we’re aiming to do something short, as both Your Top 3 and Head Case were very long short films. Especially considering how long we had to make them. Making something tighter, easier to understand, and more focused is the plan. If we can do something that showcases some of the considerable acting talent we have in house, that’d be just super.

Anyway, we’ll be posting more about the Race as it gets closer, and will be very active on social media during the Race, so anyone interested can follow along with what we’re doing.

We’re @barigord on twitter! Check us out.

You can also see our other filmwork at our Youtube Channel.

Thanks for reading today! Please take a moment to reflect on children. No child, regardless of what colour they are, where they’re from, or what their parents believe, deserves to die at school for any reason. Too often those deaths have been rung up as senseless preventable tragedies, but no further measures are implemented to change things because it would be inconvenient for some politicians.

It is fundamental to Barigord Studios to contribute to Canada’s cultural fabric, with as much creativity and generosity as we can muster. But right now, we join in our national shame. May we proceed with heavy hearts, open eyes, and the will to enact change.

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