I participated in a filmmaking contest 48 hour film project with my church group. The way the contest works is that at the starting time, you are given a few guidelines and then given 48 hours to create a short film that meets the guidelines. No one is told before hand the guidelines and you are given exactly 48 hours to submit the film.

We had about 20 people in our team. We decided to organize into smaller groups and assign some jobs before the start of the contest. We had 3 groups - 1, Talent (actors and actresses) 2, production, which includes camera, technical, writers, director 3, Art department - set design, costuming, hair, make-up and runners and everything else that's needed and 4, caterers - cooks.

First, we gathered at Evangel Baptist Church and waited for the call to hear our genre and guidelines which were:

Genre: Film de Femme (the film has to have a female character as the lead)

Character: Ray Ravenstein who is a Wellness Practitioner

Prop: Jumper cables

Line: "OK...I think I got it straight."

Right away, everyone brainstorms possible plots with all sorts of crazy ideas. At the end of the brainstorming session, we present our ideas to a group of 3-4 writers and a couple of directors. These guys head up to write the script.

The rest of us organize ourselves. I went into the Art Department. They had enough actors. We casually started assigning roles. I ended up doing hair and makeup since that needed to be done. I helped the art department with costuming, props and setting. In between deciding locations and possible props, we got to know each other. The next day on a Saturday, we decide to finish all the filming. We were filming from 8 am and didn't finish filming till 1 am. And after the filming, there's the special effects and editing that needs to be done. The guys who were editing were up all night. They were able to get the film in by the deadline.

Yesterday, we went into Hollywood Theatre to watch a screening of the movies made by different teams. This is the first time I've been to this theatre. It's a theatre for emerging filmmakers and have programs and classes for that. They show independent, foreign and artsy kind of films. While watching other team's films, I've seen excellent special effects, acting and lines. At the same time there were some bad movies. One film did not make sense at all. After watching the films, the audience voted for the top three. Afterwards, our group headed out to hang out.

Other than having a good time trying something new, I also learned about unity and teamwork by observing. I was blessed to see genuine unity, encouragement, building up and acceptance between believers. I came to learn about filming from others who are more experienced than me. Since I like writing, I thought of exploring another medium of screenwriting. It is helpful to know a bit about the technical aspects of film. I listened to stories from other people. There were a few people in our group that were new graduates of film school, worked in the film industry or broadcasting. I also heard stories of people about their journey of faith.

I'm glad to hang out with this group of cool, amazing people.

Indu Shanmugam