November 20, 2017

UAT Digital Video | Reality Check, 48-Hour Film Challenge Winners

Reality Check

Recently UAT Digital Video students entered and won “Best Technical,” at an Inter-college 48-Hour Film Challenge. We spoke with the director, Brett Chapman to find out where the idea behind Reality Check originated.

Read our Q&A with Brett below:

UAT: That was a pretty realistic school shooting. Where did you get the idea for Reality Check? Were you afraid people may get offended and think your film is too similar to a real school shooting?

Brett: School shootings are a horrifying reality of today’s world. Fellow UAT Digital Video students, Brandon Scott, Jordan Wippell, Chase Harper, Tina Hyland and myself came up with the idea on the drive back from the 48-hour event where we were assigned the genre of horror and the prop of a #2 pencil. The goal was to find a topic that we could use to play with people’s fear. Using the pencil, we quickly came up with the idea of using a school, which led to the school shooting idea. With all the current school shootings and terrorist attacks we knew it would bring up a lot of questions and concerns. Being a horror genre-based film, we wanted people to ride out the controversial experience. Jordan Wippell and Brandon Scott came up with the virtual reality twist idea. From there our writer, Chase Harper, formulated the rest of the story.

UAT: We like the virtual reality tie into this short. It changed the feel of the movie toward the end, was that your intention?

Brett: The whole goal of filmmaking is to create something that makes people feel differently by the resolution. We wanted people to be afraid of the concept of being trapped in a classroom with an active shooter in the building. The end of course then leads into the far darker reality of the virtual reality twist. We blindsided the audience with the fear of the school shooting and then revealed the dark beginnings of an even more real killer.

The Reality Check crew won Best Technical at the 48-Hour Film Challenge

The Reality Check crew won Best Technical at the 48-Hour Film Challenge

UAT: A short film you directed, Reality Check, recently won “Best Technical” in the Fall 2015 Inter-College 48-Hour Film Challenge. Congratulations! Did you have the story in mind or did you write the film within the 48 hours?

Brett: The 48-Hour Film Challenge is intended to challenge students to completely produce a short story in 48 hours. The entire project was conceived and produced within the 48-hour time slot. Our short film, Up Route, which I wrote for last year’s 48-Hour Film Challenge gave us a little bit of an upper hand because we knew the challenge going in and we had worked with horror as a genre before.

UAT: Is this the first film you have directed? What do you think a good director should focus on?

Brett: This was the first big project that I have directed at UAT. As a director, I focus on blocking the actions out with the actors so that the cinematographer can get a clear picture of what needs to be captured. I also make sure that we get all the emotional beats and actions correct for continuity. I think it’s important as a director to be able to deal with problems on the set and to effectively portray my vision throughout.

Director Brett Chapman

Director Brett Chapman

UAT: It almost seems impossible to get everything accomplished in one weekend! Walk us through a 48-Hour Film Challenge. Where is it held? Where do you film? Do you have the cast pre-selected and on-call? What about camera equipment and props – what did you use and how did you have these items ready for the challenge? How long did you have for editing?

Brett: The 48-hour challenge started at the Grand Canyon University campus on Friday around 5 p.m. There we were assigned a prop, genre and a line to include. We were given horror, a #2 pencil and the line, “Let’s check it out.”

We came up with the plot in the car ride home and immediately started to write the script and formulate a call sheet when we got back to UAT. We tried to get as much pre-production done beforehand, but most of it took place within the 48. The main actor and possible shoot locations had been established earlier that week. The school just happened to work out perfect for our project as the shoot location and all the equipment and students were already at the school so we didn’t have to transport them to a separate location. The props and other actors were gathered while Chase was writing the script. We filmed all Friday night and rapped at about 5 a.m. on Saturday. For the shoot we used a variety of UAT’s equipment, including the Black Magic Cinema camera. Chase was on the main edit all day Saturday. We started filming again on Saturday night around 8 p.m. We filmed again all night and rapped early Sunday. That morning, we finished filming the virtual reality reveal and started work to finalizing the edit. We finished around 4 p.m. and headed over to GCU for the end of the event.

UAT: Wow, that takes some great time management skills! What other films in the 48-Hour Film Challenge did you think were inspiring or interesting and why?

Brett: The winner of the 48 was a charming Western that was about a cowboy being sent back in time and having to deal with the modern world. It was well written and followed a rhyming pattern. I found their use of the genre to be very unique and interesting.

UAT: What did you learn from this challenge? What would you have done differently? What did you find really worked well for your team during the challenge?

Brett: I found out a lot about film in the short 48 hours. Mainly, I discovered new insights into directing and managing things. I found a new appreciation for continuity with this 48. We had some minor issues with missing shots and camera angles. Overall, we were really prepared for the project and managed everything in a step-by-step process, which allowed everything to flow fairly smooth.

Reality Check, won "Best Technical" in the 48-Hour Film Challenge

Reality Check, won “Best Technical” in the 48-Hour Film Challenge

UAT: How many people worked on this film? What roles did they have in the film production process?

Brett: This project had a healthy sized team behind it. UAT produced the film and there were about 20 people working on the film. Brandon Scott was in charge of cinematography and producing. Jordon Wippell led lighting and sound. We had a variety of students in the DV101 class working as grips, actors and even on the final edit. Chase Harper led the edit. I directed and worked on the edit. We used Sapphire Tilmon, Paul Lopez, Chase Moudry, D.J. Carpenter, Patrick Keber, and Tony Bonanno as actors.

UAT: What plans do you have for entering Reality Check into film festivals?

Brett: We are currently working on final edits for the film as well as updating the title and credit sequences. Once it is complete we will put it on Filmfreeway.com and it will be submitted to festivals all around the world for one year.

UAT: Upon graduation from UAT, what would be your dream job in filmmaking?

Brett: My biggest dream is to become a big Hollywood director. If I could direct some of the new J.K Rowling films one day that would be my dream. I want to make films that I can be remembered for and that I could one day show my future children. One day I hope to write and direct my own full Hollywood feature.

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