The 48 Hour Movie was an attempt by Gracie's Bird Cage, a loose-knit Portland, OR based creative collective, to film a movie in 48 hours, between 6 PM, Friday the 24th of May, 2002 and 6 PM Sunday the 26th. This included the entire conceptualization, writing, filming, editing and dubbing of the movie. In addition to this, the movie was made at a budget of approximatly zero dollars, with of course generous donations of time and equipment from those involved, as well as a bonanza of food for the crews.
The PDXCB being the efficient organization that it is, word went out to the Portland e2 users of this endeavor, and several of us showed up to see what was going on. Of course, as with everyone else, we all got sucked in and ended up playing significant roles in the making of the movie, before and behind the camera.
Some people showed up before 6 PM, but we all kept our mouths shut until the bell chimed. Between 6 and 7 PM, a great assortment of people showed up. It was interesting to see a truly open creative process. Although certain people's ideas were listened to more than others, everyone had an opportunity to share their ideas. The plot of the movie was selected by having people write their ideas on notecards, which were then read and judged for worthiness based on how much applause they generated. From these notecards, the overall plot of the movie was pieced together.
Even before the movie's major ideas were sketched out, enthusiastic crews went out to shoot footage at scenic locations around Portland. While they did so, the people at homebase came up with the plot:
Two demigods wishing for full godhood (one played by Revphil) approach two different disenfrachsed individuals, a depressed gardener (played by Joyquality, who hadn't come expecting to costar) and a self-loathing, brutal hitman, (played by humor writer Mykle Hansen). The two of them are given a mission to promote the demigods fortunes by distributing promotional videos about them across the universe.
Saturday, the only full day we had, was the day with the most filming. Different crews went to different locations to film various scenes of both the gods arguing amongst themselves and of the different planets that the messengers would visit. Since there was no script to work from, and people had different visions of what the movie would look like, some of this footage was not obviously related to the overarching plot. At the end of the day, everyone who was left went up to Mount Tabor's amphitheatre to shoot the final scene of the movie: the two messengers race to the only planet in the galaxy where it would be heeded, a planet where aliens had been sitting in front of a television and VCR, never having had a video to watch. The gardener wins the race, giving the video to Magnotek (played by Steev), the keeper of the television. The evil hitman shows up second, and thus loses the race.
The final product, which took a team of half a dozen people working without sleep all Saturday night and Sunday to splice and edit, was shown at a small warehouse space late Sunday night. Although there was some discontinuities and editing problems, the end result, considering the conditions it had been made under, was quite entertaining. It had cowboys, aliens, clowns, vans and gods, and was called, for various reasons rotating food.
Quite apart from the satisfaction of seeing the finished product, it was interesting seeing how a different way a group of people could work together to accomplish something. Despite the fact that most of the people there were not extremly familiar to each other, within a few hours, we were working as a team to produce something, with no ego battles or impoliteness. Everyone just chose to go somewhere and do something, and through doing so, everyone managed to do something that helped towards the final goal of the film. The spontaneous participation of various people in Portland with the film (such as the police on Mt Tabor who didn't arrest a half dozen screaming alien costumed people!) was also welcoming to see. I can only imagine what other activities such spontaneous groups of people could apply themselves to.