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Fly Filmmaking

Fly Filmmaking is closely related to Guerilla Filmmaking. The latter is done literally with all that there is on hand and in the shortest amount of time possible. Spike Lee did this with his film "She's Gotta Have it" and he has received continuing critical acclaim for his first effort. Fly Filmmaking is very similar and was conceived by the organizers of the Seattle International Film Festival. The name literally refers to filmmaking on the fly and this is a challenge done every year for about the last 10 years. This is done to showcase the filmmaking community in the Seattle area.

It consists of 3 separate teams that are given all that they need to make a film and a time frame of about 10 days. In this time they have to conceive of and create a film. The run time of the films is anywhere from 5 minutes to 22 minutes. The judges view the ending result and announce the winner at the festival. The arrangements and actual work are done about 3 weeks before the festival starts.

The producer, director, sound engineers, director of photography, actors, and post-production facilities are arranged and after everyone meets to go over the final details, the 3 crews are let loose to make their films as fast as they can. The music is even done on the fly by local composers and recorded by professional musicians. This challenge is an effort to have film made without the consideration of cost and avoiding the politics that are so frequently present in filmmaking. However, the boundaries of time can be a bit of a headache, but that is the challenge. Participants are surprised by their own efforts. This form of filmmaking has been "borrowed" by other festivals in the following years and it has always been a real crowd pleaser. It would seem that a similar plan was used with the new Fox show "On the Lot". There may be some differences but basically it is the same model as SIFF's Fly Filmmaking. The results of these attempts are amazing and it would seem that they took much longer to make. Usually in the process of making a film a great deal of time is taken to make decisions about what would be best in the production.

There is no time to spend making decisions or discussing ideas. You have to go with whatever comes up at the moment. As an experiment I would suggest that as an exercise you try Fly Filmmaking. Of course you may have to use your own camera and figure out how to do your own post-production as best you can, but it may be worth it. Any film school student could probably pull this one off. Use the school's equipment loan program and you would also have a post facility available to you at not cost. This should challenge you and teach you to economize on the time and resources it takes to make a short film.


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