Riker's Mailbox

Friday, November 10, 2006


Let the record show that I promised to post pictures of our recent Halloween party. Even though I want to talk about something else in this entry, I must yield those pictures for fear of losing my capacity for follow-through. I will not, however expend any more effort in hosting and presenting the pictures myself; others have already done so, and I'm more than ready to change topics. In light of that, I present:

Halloween pics, via Tony Lau

Halloween pics, via Darren Miles

Okay. Had enough? Me too*.

Some of you know that I was one of a group of six friends/roommates/co-workers who entered a Microsoft-sponsored contest last fall and won a massive-prize package consisting of pre-public-release Xbox 360's and VIP tickets to the Xbox 360 'Zero Hour' release party. We won with this video submission**.

Since that time, we've all had an itch to enter another video project (working on the last one was sooo fun), and the added allure of another prize package augmented our desires. Loren Prendergast, the filmmaker extraordinaire*** who discovered the xbox contest last year, has finally found another contest worthy of entering: The Insomnia Film Festival, by Apple Computer.

The rough idea is as follows: They announce the required submission elements, and the participant filmmaking teams have one day to submit a three-minute video conforming to the guidelines.

This means we have to pick our artistic direction (we are allowed to choose any three of the twelve or so required elements to incorporate into our entry), write a compatible script, cast and film the entire sequence, then complete all editing and post-production in less than 24 hours.

That may sound less-than-challenging, but only if you have no idea what goes into making a professional-quality video. To provide a frame of reference, the xbox video linked above is 30 seconds long. To make that film, we shot ten minutes of raw footage, which took fourteen hours alone. Creating a soundtrack took another day, and Loren spent at least a day in post-production, combining all the elements we created and editing the entire piece to run in the time allotted.

Now we have to create something six times as long, in one third of the time. Oh, and did I mention the clock is already ticking? They released the details at 2pm today. As I write this sentence it is 3:05. Five percent of our time has already elapsed.


It's now 3:17. The team has gathered, so we're gonna ditch on the rest of the work day and get cracking. Here's the list of criteria for the video.... we have selections to make. Wish us luck!

  • Required character name: Alex Kona
  • Required dialog line: "No, you don't understand what it's like growing up here."
  • Required costume: leather jacket and dark sunglasses
  • Required prop: ice
  • Required side kick: pet monkey
  • Required setting: abandoned building
  • Required shot: clock with 4:11 on face
  • Required makeup: fake eyelashes and blue eye shadow
  • Required genre: sci-fi/fantasy
  • Required camera effect: crane or boom shot
  • Required editing device: musical montage

Once we have our submission created, I'll post a link for your critiquing pleasure :)

* - Implicitly introduces new topic. I'm not in an explicit kind of mood.
** - which makes absolutely no sense to you unless you know the back story of the contest and its associated submission criteria. Rest assured that our video was an awesome representation of what they asked for.
*** - guy who owns the camera

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