The 48 Hour Film Project is here in Detroit this weekend, and with the competition only a few days away, we sat down with an experienced professional in weekend film challenges. Shane Sevo is a local Detroit film producer and he truly loves the weekend film challenge format. He’s competed for 10 consecutive years in the National Weekend Film Challenge, which has a very similar set of rules to the 48 Hour Film Project, and has won multiple awards over the years.

Steve is also the founder of a local weekend film challenge that is in conjunction with the Detroit-Windsor Film Festival, and has run it for the past 5 years. This year, Steve will take a break from his festival to join the other 48 teams competing this weekend in the internationally-recognized 48 Hour Film Project.

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The project, which also travels to countries all around the world, forces filmmakers to utilize and harness every bit of creativity they have to create a film within 48 hours. Everything from the writing to the editing must be done over the 48-hour period. Calling the weekend a “challenge” can be a bit of an understatement. We asked Steve what advice he had to give to local competitors.

So, filmmakers, get your notebooks ready…

What advice would you give out to competitors in the 48 Hour Film Project?

Put together a team with lots of experience and a few wild cards.  Securing talent, locations, and crew ahead of time is a must.  The more organization and communication a team can support the better off they will be when everything goes wrong at some point in the weekend and a scramble is necessary to save the show.  Only use gear that you have worked with before and trust to behave predictably.  I also like to bring in fresh team members and techniques each year so we don’t get tired and just do what we did the year before.

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What can filmmakers take away from the 48 Hour Film Project?

The nature of the weekend film challenge format usually creates some stress and sparks, you will find out who you are and who you work with well when the pressure is on.  This will usually forge life-long friendships for some and possibly convince others that they never want to work with you again.  You do find out what you really can do and how strong the bonds of your team are.

What pitfalls did you come across while working in weekend competitions?

Sometimes it can be hard to give new crew members a fair understanding of what they are getting in to.  You really need to let people know that this is an “all in” weekend, we can sort out the misunderstandings when it is over… but this weekend we have one goal… make the best film we can.

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For more information on the 48 Hour Film Project-Detroit, click here!