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Frame of Mind: Filmmaking In 24 Hours

by Mashal Noor 9 Oct 2014 3:17 PM

This week on Frame of Mind, watch 5 films that were created in under 24 hours as a part of the 13th annual 24 Hour Video Race in Dallas.


This week on Frame of Mind, we showcase a selection of shorts created during the 24 Hour Video Race.

  • Tune in to KERA TV tonight at 10 PM to catch this week’s episode!
Photo: SmokingCrayolas

Photo: SmokingCrayolas

Here are short summaries for the films being featured this week:

Atomic Productions – This film is about a father who imparts some wisdom on his sons about legacy, accountability, and forgiveness.  See how they reflect on this wisdom when they are placed into extreme circumstances.

Team Angelika Productions – “Render” is a story about a brother and sister who are having family problems, but their problems are put on the back burner when the sky turns red.  Join Annika in her efforts to make everything normal again.

SmokingCrayolas – “Crime Ring” tells the story of a jilted lover and what she does after her engagement is broken by her fiancé.

Strangers with Cameras – Everyone has experienced being stuck in traffic.  Enter Melvin’s mind as his mother rants to him during traffic hour in “Mother’s Day Dream.”

Fix It In Post Production – “There Can Only Be One” features two boys who are battling for the title of ultimate hipster.  Watch to find out who will win.

Behind the scenes of 2014's 24 Hour Video Race. Photo: SmokingCrayolas

Behind the scenes of Smoking Crayolas during 2014’s 24 Hour Video Race. Photo: SmokingCrayolas

I spoke with SmokingCrayolas’ team captain, Nathan Herron, and his wife, who have been participating in the 24 Hour Video Race since the beginning.

On the creation of SmokingCrayolas:

SmokingCrayolas came to be back at the very first video race.  Most of us were either in college or starting careers at the time.  It was basically some high school friends who had all wanted to be filmmakers at one point in our lives, and we found out about this Video Race thing that was happening, so we borrowed a camera and signed up and then we just kept doing it every year.  Some of the faces have changed over time, but my wife and I are actually the only ones that have been there all 13 years.

On the reasoning behind participating in the 24 Hour Video Race:

Video production is very much a hobby for us – it’s a once a year thing for us.  We shake the rust off and make a video once a year.  It’s also a great tradition and a great place to make friends.  There’s some people who we only see once a year, but it’s the one thing that we do with them every year.  Getting together and making something and then looking back at it and thinking “We did that in 24 hours!”  I think that part of what’s keeping us coming back year after year is the memories that we make with friends and that product that we make that we are proud of.

If anyone is on the fence about doing it, grab a camera and do it!  It really does challenge your creativity, and like Bart says, you have a built-in excuse to be not very good.  You only have 24 hours and it really frees up your creativity to shoot for the moon.  Since you have a built in excuse, there’s no reason not to at least try something.  I’ve never had a year where we didn’t end up enjoying it and loving the group and our final product and being really happy that we did it.

Photo: SmokingCrayolas

Photo: SmokingCrayolas

On what happens during a typical 24 Hour Video Race:

We get the elements at midnight and we all make a beeline for the cars.  Pretty much every year, the tradition has been to head to an IHOP – some traditions have changed over time, but I don’t think we’ve ever not gone to an IHOP.  Well, actually, the very first year, we didn’t – we were really stupid.  We came up with an idea in the car and went to shoot it immediately and ended up throwing that out and making a completely different film while waiting to get a cable to transfer everything over to my computer.

So, we go to IHOP and get a solid script, a solid story before we do anything else.  That usually goes until 3 or 4 in the morning, some years a little shorter, some years a little longer.  At that point, we try to figure out what costumes and props we’re going to need, figure out locations if we can, and then all break off to collect supplies from our houses, Wal-Mart, etc.  Then we all meet at a designated time at our base camp, where the editing happens, or at our first filming location.  So if you can get everything in and then take an hour or two long nap, good for you.

We meet back up and start shooting.  We like to be importing our first footage by noon so that we can start editing by 12:30 or 1pm – we usually have at least one designated editor and that person will try to shoot all of their stuff at the very beginning or just have a few pick up shots that they can shoot at the end.  So while that person is editing, the rest of us head back out and keep shooting scenes.  Once all the footage is shot and in, it’s a matter of editing and finding music that fits with the film.  We always have Sonic for lunch and then pizza or Chinese for dinner – whatever people feel like that day.  Then we edit until we’re done and happy – some years we’re done a little early, and then there are other years when we are exporting in the car and trying to get it finished before the time is up.

Photo: SmokingCrayolas

Photo: SmokingCrayolas

On the idea behind this year’s film, Crime Ring:

No one person ever has the whole idea; we bounce ideas off of each other until we’re happy with what we’ve come up with.  This year, they added in the category of a genre and said that it had to include crime.  We kept tossing ideas back and forth about heist and romance and we kind of ended up with the idea of Crime Ring.

On the biggest challenge they faced while creating Crime Ring:

This year actually went pretty smoothly.  Our biggest challenge was trying to make sure that everyone had something to do because our team had gotten really big this year.  I think we had several people who felt like they were superfluous when all was said and done, and that’s just a function of the vision that we had for our film, which was pretty small, so we didn’t need a lot of production.  We never know – sometimes we end up shooting bigger than we have the capacity to do, and then there are years like this last year where we just had more people than we really needed.  This was the biggest group that we’ve ever had because we absorbed another team.  They joined with us last year and then stayed with us this year, but a lot of our regulars were able to come back so it ended up a lot bigger than we were expecting.  They may split back off and do their own thing next year.  We actually became friends over the years because we liked eachother’s films a lot so it was a natural combining of groups when they had their camera stolen and weren’t going to be able to participate.

Photo: SmokingCrayolas

Photo: SmokingCrayolas

On future plans for the 24 Hour Video Race:

Well we’re definitely participating in the future.  We’re actually really looking forward to the days when our kids can be on the team with us – probably in about 10 years or something.

On being included in Frame of Mind:

I think it’s awesome.  We’ve been doing this for 13 years and we’ve only ever made it to 2nd place.  We’ve gotten a few 2nds, a few 3rds, a few have made it into the finals, so it’s kind of need to be on the show for once since we didn’t win first place.

To find more work by SmokingCrayolas, visit their YouTube channel.