HCU Students Compete to Make Films in Only 48 Hours

HCU Students Compete to Make Films in Only 48 Hours
Mabee Theater at Houston Christian University, where students will be showing their films on Friday, November 10

By Mickey Coleman, HCU student

Could you make a film in two days?

About two weeks ago, Houston Christian University students did. A student-led 48 Hour Film Competition allowed any HCU student or alumni to participate in a fast-paced production. 

The film competition, in its second year, is run by student Bryan Binder with the support of Caroline Roebuck and Gray Coleman. Each of the seven teams was given the same goal: create a short film (less than ten minutes long) within forty-eight hours. But there was a twist: each film needed to incorporate a genre, an item, and a specific line of dialogue–otherwise the film would be disqualified.

There were four genres to choose from this year–mockumentary, monster film, fantasy, or samurai film–while the item had to be a Rubik's Cube, umbrella, or hourglass.

This year, I was a group leader. This was my first time taking charge or directing a film of my own. I have always been considered a bit of an introvert, but I had to be determined and a bit demanding in order to lead my team. 

My whole group immediately wanted to create a samurai film and decided to use the hourglass as our prop. But the biggest challenge was completing the story and script before beginning to film. A script for a short film or feature usually takes years to complete, but our writer only had a few hours. Fortunately, our script writer is talented, so the six-page script took only about an hour and a half to complete.

The next day, we began shooting. Normally, a feature film, TV show, or short film takes months to go through production from beginning to end. However, since we only had forty-eight hours, we had to speed up the process. When actors could not remember  their lines, we had to help them by reading their lines–or they had to improvise. But we were able to finish filming earlier than the goal I had set. 

The last part–and the longest–was the film editing. Our two editors were able to fix color and audio problems, add music, and even create a title card.

Editing would typically take weeks and months to complete, but we had about twelve hours. Despite the time crunch, we were able to finish about an hour and a half before the deadline.

Overall, this was a very pleasant experience for me. I am grateful because I feel like I improved at speaking up for myself and now have a better understanding of film-making.

One of my group members said, “This is the best experience I ever had.” Another said, “We should all come together again, creating another film.”

A friend of mine, who was on a different team, said their filming went well and they were able to finish on time too.

The point of the 48 Hour Film Competition is to gain experience in the film industry in a fun and creative way. Yes, it may seem hard or difficult to create a film within such a short time, but determination, confidence, and organization would surely help anyone who wants to go into a career of filmmaking. 

To watch the seven films created during the competition–and see which films will win the awards–come to Mabee Theater at Houston Christian University on Friday, November 10, at 6:30 p.m. There is no charge for watching the films, and everyone is welcome.

The word "prompt" was edited to "genre" for clarity.


Mickey Coleman, student at Houston Christian University

Tyess Korsmo, editor-in-chief of the Sharpener