Photo Caption: Michael Mytnick takes a picture of “Burlesque Girl” Meg Nicol on set at The Union during a brief pause in filming.
Ohio University's "48-hour Shootout" transpired this past weekend, culminating in 24 teams showcasing their short films Sunday night to a filled audience at Memorial Auditorium.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the student-run event, which overseen by founding faculty adviser Frederick Lewis of the School of Media Arts & Studies. Anna Livingston, a senior four-year veteran of the competition, and sophomores Mike Mytnick and Jessi Rovniak spearheaded the competition as event producers, juggling their duties while also working with their teams to complete film submissions in time for the deadline.
After watching all 24 films on Sunday, the panel of judges – including OU professors Keith Newman and David Urano, and Melissa Richie and Joseph Richie from Tennessee State University – weren't able to single out just one film that topped the rest. So they had two first-place winners: "Dust Jacket," which used the genre of suspense, the prop plastic wrap, and the line "just spit it out," and "Home," which use the genre of romance, a flower as a prop, and the line "I had a dream about that last night."
Third place went to "Infinity," in the genre of escape, using the prop of an umbrella and the line "will you buy this for me?"
For teams to be eligible to compete in the shootout, they are required to use the genre, prop and line randomly assigned to them at the shootout's starting event, and to turn in final copies of their finished product 48 hours later — and not a minute after deadline.
"Sometimes people will be burning discs right up until 6 p.m.," Mytnick said. "It's so sad when people get there at 6:01 p.m., 30 seconds too late, and we can't accept their work."
The starting event kicked off at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, when teams played water pong (a variation of beer pong) to determine what genres their films would be, picked valentines that would determine their props, and popped balloons filled with the line they would have to include in their scripts. At 6 p.m., it was off to the races for the competing teams.
The event producers began planning the event as early as October in order to book high-in-demand Memorial Auditorium. Fewer teams entered the competition this year than in years past, the noted.
"This year the school couldn't provide prize money for the winners, so we had to charge an entry fee of $15 to teams that wanted to compete in order to raise prize money," Livingston said. "By far though, the best part of planning is picking out all the genres, props and lines. "
The prize money for first place provided by the university last year was $300. This year, the prize for both first-place winners was $100 with $50 for second place.
Regardless of the financial prize, the main prize obviously is status rather than money.
As for the strategy on how to do well in the shootout, Mytnick simply said, "if you're sleeping, you're losing."
The sunken eyes of team members and ever-present cans of Red Bull in the auditorium made it clear that many of the teams in the competition followed that spirit of competition.
However, the lack of sleep can amplify the stress among teammates to stay on schedule or risk missing the impending deadline.
"It got to be really frustrating writing the script, when it got to be 3 a.m. and we were still working on it," Livingston said. "It's really hard with the lack of sleep, and people will get at each other. But mostly, by the time you get to be a senior in this competition, you know what people you work well with, and it goes much smoother."
Most team members are able to sleep at some point during the competition, but sometimes exhaustion claimed its victims on set.
"We were taking a 10-minute break, and I fell asleep sitting up in my car with a steady-cam strapped to my chest," Mytnick said.
Despite the bleary eyes of team members, there appeared to be no lack of energy at the viewing, when teams supported each others' films with due respect.
The most lively moment of the evening was after the viewing of "We NEED a Hero," produced solely by junior Joe Lalonde.
"I'm here presenting this film on behalf of myself because my whole team quit on me," Lalonde said while addressing the audience. "I hope you enjoy it."
In the genre of Superhero, and using the prop of a crown and the line "I said you smell like a goat," Lalonde played multiple roles in the short, as well as producing and editing everything on his own. The film produced the strongest reaction from the audience, and was the only film given a standing ovation, earning it the Audience Choice Award.
Freshman and sophomore teams are asked to identify their rookie status in their films in order to be considered for the Freshman/Sophomore category award, which honors the best film made by less-experienced competitors.
This year, the winning film in the Freshman/Sophomore category was "Dreamcatcher," in the genre of romance, using the prop of a feather and the line "tell me your secret."
watch the third place film "Infinity" and the Audience Choice Award film, "We
NEED a Hero," play the videos below.