By: Jaclyn Gramigna

We have been meeting monthly for almost 3 years. A group of creators who had never had a chance to create something together. Our meetings had gotten into a good groove with a working format, involving a discussion on a topic and/or a guest speaker. I had originally been planning to continue in that vain and find a badass, insightful guest speaker to enlighten us but, as often happens in the freelance world, life (work) got in the way.

Back in April, I had the opportunity to attend the Visions Film Festival & Conference in Wilmington, NC as the keynote speaker(!!) and during the festival, I got to participate in my first “Film Race.” We were broken up into teams of 4, given a theme, a line of dialogue, a prop and a costume piece and told we had 1 hour to make a 30 sec film done in 1 shot (meaning no editing) on our phones. It was both challenging and fun and when the hour was up we all gathered back in the theater to screen our little films. The results were impressive and hilarious and not only did everyone leave with something to show but it was a great networking activity.

With less than a week before our June meeting, the idea came to me to try a modified version of the Film Race in lieu of our usual topic/discussion format. After eating some dinner (a modified version of this recipe… and sipping on rosé we broke up into teams of 3-4, picked an assigned line of dialogue out of a hat and broke off to make our films! 

The 45 minutes flew by and we all reconvened in my living room to screen what we had come up with. We were surprised to find how well everyone did and how different each film was. Everyone was pumped up and excited about what they had made and we screened everyone’s film twice before discussing the experience. 

We talked about the pro’s and cons of making a truly DIY film and about using what you’ve got to create the final product. We agreed that sometimes limitations can further spur creativity and force us to think outside the box and we discussed how each of our ideas came to fruition and our processes for executing them… For example, my team got the line “How high can you go, Grandma” and we volunteered to stay in the apartment (in case anyone needed to be let in). Our thought process was pretty organic, we brainstormed situations to give the line meaning and once we decided on a setting (the bathroom) we decided to improvise and run it, then watch/discuss and go again. I think we ended up doing 5 takes before we were satisfied with both the story, performances and camera movement, plus by then time was up!

While discussing we gorged ourselves on Strawberry/Blackberry Crumble (a modified version of this recipe... and more wine. Overall, it was a success (though there was a request to next time have more rules/limitations) and it definitely got our creative juices flowing; A great way to start off the summer!

If you’re curious, check out our Film Race videos below and let us know if you have questions about any of the filmmakeHERS processes and/or organizing your own!