An hour before the start of the Edmonton International Film Festival’s 24/ONE event – in which filmmakers are challenged to complete in 24 hours a short film that includes a specific prop, phrase and genre – the griff interviewed two members of the participating team The Black Sheep Society. Clemcat Hughes and Ryan Donaldson talked about the 24/ONE event and their work.
Q: This is your first time doing 24/ONE. Have you considered doing it in the past?
Hughes: Honestly, we’ve planned to do it, but then our team fell through. We’re really lucky this year. We’re kind of already a crew. I met Ryan two-and-a-half years ago, when he needed an actor for a film he’d already written. And then I met another friend helping him on set, our other team member – Michael Fulton. We actually do comedy shorts aside from this. We call ourselves The Black Sheep Society. Michael and I write together, we both act, and Ryan directs.
Q: How would you describe your involvement in the greater filmmaking community?
Donaldson: I’ve been getting involved in filmmaking for about six years now. Before that, it was only an interest. We’re just starting out, really.
Hughes: We have a YouTube channel launched for The Black Sheep Society. We have five shorts, just editing those, and then we’re going to post them online.
Q: What kind of planning have you done for 24/ONE?
Hughes: Over the last few months, I’ve found extras who will be on board for the 24 hours today. We have a sound guy who will provide a stabilizer, camera and sound equipment. We’ve basically pre-built a team so we can immediately get to work. We’ve got about 20 locations scouted. A diner, a couple bars. I have a friend who’s doing an art show tonight, so if we need a party location, we have that. We’ve got a structure set up: an hour max writing time, a certain amount of time for filming, editing and finishing the score. The biggest problem I’ve heard from participants is they don’t finish on time. So then they can’t submit their film at all.
Donaldson: The one thing I’ve learned about film is that you can’t plan for everything – so you have to try to plan for everything. No matter how hard you try, things will not go as smoothly as you think.
Q: How will you write a film in 24 hours?
Hughes: Some teams get ideas in their heads and then try fitting them into the film. But I find you’ll come out with a much better film if you write it based strictly on the prop, phrase and genre you’re given. So instead of those things just getting thrown in, we can actually write the story around those things. It’ll add to the film, make it shine a little more.
Q: Will you be thinking about the sense of competition for placing in 24/ONE’s top ten films?
Donaldson: When it comes down to it, we’re doing 24/ONE for ourselves. If our film does well – awesome. If it doesn’t, then – bad judges! Kidding.
Q: What do you expect to be your takeaway from 24/ONE?
Hughes: It’s definitely going to be a learning experience. When we’re shooting our comedy shorts, it tends to be a bunch of friends. We sit around on location, we get a flat of beer, we have drinks between takes. But this is going to be a lot more serious and focused.
Donaldson: It’s going to be really cool to have a structure, to be orchestrating a crew, saying you need to do this, you need to do that. Like an actual film crew, which is what we hope to become in the future. I think part of why they do 24/ONE is to teach structured filmmaking on a small scale. It’s like a crash course, but without a teacher. You get thrown to the wolves, as they say.
Q: If your film wins the competition, what will you do?
Hughes: We will dance.
Q: Are you good dancers?
You can find out how Clemcat and Ryan’s film fares by checking out the premiere of this year’s top ten 24/ONE films at the EIFF on Saturday, September 28. Make sure to also watch out for The Black Sheep Society’s forthcoming comedy shorts on YouTube.