We were excited and surprised to discover that our short film Accidental Passenger was named one of the finalists in the National Film Challenge, a competition where participating teams have just one weekend to write, shoot and edit a short film or video. On Friday night at 7:00, teams are given a genre, prop, and character name that they must include in the video.
This was our first short fiction film and in addition to the learning curve of shooting and assembling it in two days, we also had a huge October snowstorm to contend with. We arrived in the Badlands at 8:00 Saturday morning, and two hours later we had so much snow falling it was only a matter of time before we wouldn't be able to see our actors or be able to climb up out of the canyon. (As it was, the fine silt was so wet, it took us more than an hour to climb up about 40 feet.)
Thanks to the perseverance of our awesome volunteers and our actors John Kappelhoff, Sean Nicholson, and Emma Rouleau we "wrote" a new script on the way back to Calgary and started shooting again at 2:00 in the afternoon. We managed to tie our new concept and our improvised scenes into the earlier scenes we collected on location earlier in the day. It isn't anything like we planned, but in some ways it is better than what we originally had in mind. It is definitely a lot more fun.
It was great to break out of our usual routine and just experiment and improvise our shots to see what happens. We'll definitely be carrying this experience with us into our future productions.