This last weekend I participated in the Adrenaline Film Project. It’s a 72 hour film competition that is put on in conjunction with the Virginia Film Festival, but this is the first year that it was held on a separate weekend, about three weeks before the rest of the festival. Founded and still run by director Jeff Wadlow (KICK-ASS 2, TRUE MEMOIRS OF AN INTERNATIONAL ASSASSIN, NEVER BACK DOWN), Adrenaline’s been around since 2004.
I’ve done Adrenaline two years in a row now, and what I’ve found about it is that it’s the best way to learn about filmmaking. It condenses a lot of lessons into one tight period of time. You learn to make concessions, to cut the fat, and to put your all into something only to detach yourself shortly after. It’s a cruel but efficient process that really feels worthwhile at the end of the day. I’ve absolutely improved as a filmmaker because of it.
My team and I were assigned the Adventure genre – and what we produced was a cute little short about a young girl and her grandpa. Nothing terribly exciting, but pretty polished and complete given the constraints. This year was much less punishing than last because we focused less on trying to make the most creative and original thing ever, and more on making something that simply functions and exists wholly. Our short last year, though fun and interesting, really had a difficult time working as a short. Though we put a lot into the production design and the aesthetic, it made little sense and had no great sense of flow or logic. I would say the opposite is true for our short this year. We spent a great deal of time on preparation and understood what we could adequately accomplish as far back as the pitching phase, which se us up for a really clean shoot and mostly smooth editing process.
We were most proud, however, of our young actor, who played the daring protagonist. Of some fifty actors in all of the 12 films this year, she won the top prize for acting. This was her first film, and we felt she aced it, working many hours in one day (far more than we should have made her) with no complaints.
I’ll post a link to our short once they make it available. But if you’re in C’ville for the festival in three weeks, you can see it on the big screen here.