The intro trailer 360 Filmworks created for the project last year.

The 48 Hour Film Project is something that can bring upon intense reactions in past participants. I’ve had both panic attacks and euphoria after finishing a two-day marathon filming session in this globally syndicated filmmaking contest. I’ve been participating with the event for the last six years in some form or another. Starting out in film school I wrote a script with a team of other creatives including actors, sound technicians, costume designers and armchair producers one fateful Friday through Sunday in Little Rock about a video store clerk who tries to charm a young woman with his movie knowledge and charm and by the end of the weekend I was both completely exhausted and hooked.

Not Yeti 2008 48-Hour Film Project from 360 Filmworks. Not Yet! 7 bumbling brothers attempt to rob a mansion but encounter an unforeseen security issue.

Stone Ward and 360 Filmworks have participated in the 48 Hour Film Project on multiple occasions, even snagging a few awards along the way. The whole process is a crash course in the chaotic and creative experience of how production can be sometimes for a commercial shoot, albeit with certain caveats. The 48 Hour requires certain restrictions to your creativity like imposing each team participating including a specific line of dialogue, prop, and character as well as having each team pull a genre at random. I feel like the stipulations create more of a jumping off point of storylines than a hindrance of creative potential. For example in years past my team was given the character of a locksmith, so we decided his arch enemy would be a magician that he’s been locked (see what I did there) in a rivalry since he was a child. I don’t think we would have ever came up with that plot if we didn’t have the inspirational rule as a guide. Genre can also spur some great film ideas. One of the most controversial genres seems to be Musical or Western of which many teams are petrified to pick. One team in particular in the last few years combined those two genres and made a musical western in the form of a Mexican Standoff of two guitar playing cowboys and it was magnificent.

Levi’s attempt at doing a 48 Hour Film Project The Magician and the Locksmith.

Of course not every film on display during the fest has a Stanley Kubrick obsession with composition or set design, or slick, meta dialogue of screenwriter Charlie Kauffman, but the majority of the films are incredibly unique and overwhelmingly entertaining. I’d put the enjoyment level of watching a group of these films up against anything coming out of Hollywood on the same weekend.

Everyone I talk to who participates in the 48 each year always say they are finished with the contest but year after year they always come back. There’s nothing like being involved in a project like the 48. A news reporter I talked to this morning likened it to going through a marathon, but I’ll add it’s a lot more collaborative and you can take a taxi from location to location if you need to. For more information on the 48 Hour Film Project you can visit or if you are feeling bold and you want to participate in the Little Rock project which is being produced by yours truly, go to the Little Rock page the kick-off starts August 16-18.