I had twice participated in “film racing,” a kind of blanket label for a competition where the object is to write, shoot, edit, and finish a film in a small set amount of time. There are 24-hour challenges, 48 hours, 72 hours, and now even 96. One day, two days, three days, four. The two I’d done previously were The Tacoma Grand Cinema’s “72 Hour Film Challenge,” later retitled “The 253.” Each time I did one, both the award-winning “Senator Feelgood,” and “Superspice,” I vowed to never do another. Because making a movie in such a tight deadline is incredibly stressful, and I inevitably end up sacrificing what could be a better film in exchange for one that is completed in the short allotted timeframe. So I did it in under 72 hours. So what? I don’t like the stress of the tight deadline. I don’t like knowing that I’m left to make decisions that undermine the quality of the film in order to hit the deadline. Never again.
Then, I decided to do it again. This last time it was the city of Lakewood’s “Reel Life 96.” I thought “Cool, 4 days.” I’ve built up a lot of good will with actors, crew, and support staff while making Dead Drift, Penny Palabras, Roscoe the Junkyard Cat, and Enter the Mind Dungeon, so it shouldn’t be a big deal to put together a team. I’ll relegate myself to more of a producer role, and facilitate, or jump in to fill roles as needed. Unfortunately, out of the thirty or so people I invited to participate, I only heard back from five, and only two were in a position to help, and only one of those could truly commit to the project.
But I am goddamn stubborn, and I committed, I paid my fifty bucks, and even though my team was only two people, we went forward. I don’t like quitting a project. If I start something, it hangs in the back of my mind until I finish it. So my good friend Sean Driscoll and I proceeded forward to craft “The Cycle of Perun and Veles.” The story is an interpretation of an ancient Slavic folktale, stop-motion animation created with 3d printed puppets. The Cycle of Perun and Veles will screen at the Gen Con Film Festival in 2022, and I will never do another film race. (famous last words) The 4 days were very stressful, and we scarcely made the deadline, only 30 minutes to spare when I turned in the film. In almost every single sequence, I see how a bit more time would have made a better film.