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Annual competition gives students 48 hours to produce short film

Ohio University will be screening the student made films on Sunday, February 23, created for the 18th annual 48-Hour Shootout. 

The 48-Hour Shootout happens every spring, requiring students to create a short film from start to finish in one weekend. Team captains must be media majors, and the rest of the team can consist of any undergraduate major that wants to participate. This year, there are 18 teams registered.

On Friday night, team captains will enter a room without their cell phones, so they cannot communicate with anyone outside the room. They are given a genre, a line of dialogue and a prop. Once the captains leave the room at 6 p.m., the games begin. 

Typically, participants use Friday night for pre production, like writing a script and securing locations for shooting. Saturday is for production and filming, and Sunday is used for post production and editing before turning in all files before the screening starts at 6 p.m. 

“The students really do such a great job in such a short amount of time,” Andie Walla, a media lecturer, said. 

Walla has been the faculty adviser for the 48-Hour Shootout for three years. Before she began overseeing the competition, she competed in it for three out of her four years as an undergraduate student at Ohio University. 

“I’ve always been close to the competition,” Walla said. “I saw its value.”

Walla recalled shooting a horror film at Stroud Run one year. She said her experiences taught her to live in the moment and create lasting friendships. She learned to find and use the resources around her, which, Walla said, is a hard thing to do for media majors to do when they are first starting their career. 

“One of my best memories is the camaraderie of hanging out with your friends all night and all day for 48 hours straight,” Walla said. 

The competition is a great way to meet new people and form lasting friendships, because any major and any year can participate. This means the teams are often comprised of a wide variety of personalities. It's not uncommon for members to be strangers going into the competition.

“My favorite memory is looking back on all the close friendships I made during the weekends of the 48,” Lindsey Cira, a senior studying integrated media, said. “They happen so quickly and so organically.”  

The only preparations teams are allowed to complete before Friday at 6 p.m. include securing a location, finding actors and other team members and reserving their equipment. Participants sacrifice their sleep in order to create a piece they are proud of. 

“The filming process is super hectic,” Alexander Schmitz, a junior studying integrated media, said. “You have to get everything set up before you can even start getting footage and it all happens very fast.”

Although students are put under intense stress to complete their films, they do it with a smile on their faces. Schmitz remembered one night during a previous year of the 48-Hour Shootout where he and his friends were up until 2 a.m., eating candy and drinking coffee.

“At this point we didn't even care if we won the competition or not,” Schmitz said. “We were all just happy to be there and be involved.”

Walla said she is always impressed by what the students are able to create under such pressure. This year, there is a team participating from London, where they are studying abroad. This team will Skype into all meetings and participate 100% digitally. 

This would sound like an advantage in the competition, but Walla pointed out why it might not be. Shooting in big cities does give a wow factor to the content produced, but it also reduces the amount of resources that are available for production. 

The difficulties that pop up during the 48-Hour Shootout are no doubt taxing on the students, but they also act as great learning opportunities. 

“It can be a steep learning curve at first,” Cira said. “An event like the 48-Hour Shootout is one of the best ways to practice for the fast-paced working environments that are required in the world we want to work in as media students.”

Cira has participated in the competition for two years, and Schmitz has participated in the competition for three years. Both students are producers for the competition. Producers are a small group of students that prepare for the 48-Hour Shootout. They brainstorm the prop, genre and dialogue assignments and act as a point of contact for teams throughout the weekend. 

Cira’s advice is, “Always say yes and always show up. Opportunities are everywhere, and the weirdest and most random circumstances are often the ones that lead you to important places.”


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