Behind the 48: Interview with David Kost

On October 14-16, filmmaking teams gathered to compete in a competition known as the 48 Hour Film Project – Special Genre: Horror. Dreaming Droids Productions participated and we wanted to sit down with one of the other team leaders to see things through the eyes of a competitor. We grabbed David Kost of Long Knuckle Studios for this.

Are you a filmmaker as a hobby or professionally?

This is a hobby, albeit a very involved one. When I turned 30 quite a few years ago, I was unhappy that I wasn’t utilizing some of my interests and talents. I started to act in some student films through the Art Institute. My first 48 came out of that due to some of the new connections I had made. After a few years acting and directing respectively, my partner Jaime Meyers and I decided that we wanted to take on a more involved role and created Long Knuckle Studios as our team for the 48 starting in 2014 and have grown a bit more to produce a few films both in and outside of the 48 since.

Do you find it more difficult to get started or to keep going?

Getting started is always a challenge. The writing process on Friday night always takes some time to pick up some steam. I find that, once we have a script, staying motivated through shooting and production is never too much of a problem. No one sleeps much during these, but that’s understood before the weekend starts. Coming up with the premise and a script for the given genre is definitely the toughest part.

In your own words, describe the 48 Hour Horror Film Project:

More than anything, it’s a whole lot of fun. Unlike the normal 48 in the summer, you know coming in that you’re doing something specific – you gotta do a horror film. This is a very enjoyable genre for the cast and crew both, and I have seen the excitement level of my teammates at the highest during the horror 48. I think filmmakers love horror for all the freedom it can afford you.

How did you find out about the 48 Hour Film Project?

As I mentioned before, the first 48 I was involved in came through Art Institute connections. I had heard about the event before then from a local filmmaker friend of mine, but I really had no idea what it was all about.

How did you assemble the members of your team, and how do you keep your relationship with them strong?

I am very lucky to have kept a lot of my connections from my first ever 48 team, TV 2 Productions. A few of these folks are still on my team for when Long Knuckle attacks another 48. I am very fortunate to have made some really talented friends who are involved in film on so many different levels, a lot of them professionally. We keep in contact throughout most of the year, and many of us reach out to one another for help on a number of different projects outside of the 48. So, when it’s time to gather ourselves together for the 48 Hour Film Project, we’ve already had a good amount of dialog and have a really good idea about who is going to be involved again. Thankfully, we’ve been able to stick together and we’re all good friends.

Share a bit about your process for the competition:

After we’ve pulled the genre specifics (in this case what specific type of horror film we have to make), the writing team gathers at our home base and begins the brainstorming process. After we’ve centered on a few ideas we like the best, we start outlining possible scripts. Ultimately, one outline comes through as the strongest. When we know the skeleton of the script and the general ideas of what roles our cast will be filling, I step away from the writing room in order to inform the cast while the other writers begin the first, concrete draft. The next day, we usually start filming late morning. As you know, there really is no way to tell how late the actual filming may go. But I believe one thing for sure – if you’re still filming on Sunday, you’re probably not going to finish. Our editor will start compiling the footage and cutting our film Saturday late afternoon/early evening, readying himself for an all nighter. When we wrap on shooting day, that’s the first time I take the opportunity to grab a few hours of sleep. Sunday, as the editing is finishing up, my partner and I will review the score, finish up the final polishes, and then (hopefully) dash out the door to get the thing turned in on time!

Where do you think your team was the strongest?

Technically, our DP Adam Morgan and Editor Billy Jerlat are absolute rock stars. The level of quality they get out of the footage always amazes me. What these two can do in a short amount of time is absolutely incredible. I’m always very, very proud of our films’ production values.

The weakest?

Ha! That’s on me. I’m often a nervous wreck on Sunday. I’m sure I drive Jaime and Billy insane with my constant questions and pacing on finishing day. I’m working at getting a little more versed with the technical aspects of filmmaking, but patience is not one of my virtues.

If you could do it over, what would you change?

I don’t think I would change a thing. Honestly. The process for the 48 and the intensity of it is part of the experience. I always look back at the weekend with nothing but fond memories. Every year, you learn something, and leaving yourself open to that is one of my favorite experiences.

Any advice for anyone thinking about getting into film, or taking their filmmaking pursuit to the next level?

Yes – Don’t let anything intimidate you. As I’ve said multiple times, every time you’re on set, you have the opportunity to learn something new. It will do nothing but help you moving forward. Also, when directing, listen to your DP (cinematographer) and your cast about their ideas about how they see your film progressing during scenes. They may bring up something that you didn’t even think about and they may make some great improvements. This has happened to me multiple times, and I always welcome it.

Take a look at “Masterpiece” created by Long Knuckle Studios and winner of “Best Use of Line” and “Most Creative Kill!”

Curious about Dreaming Droids’ own submission? Watch “Unclean Hands” here, which won “Best Fight Choreography!”

Interested in submitting your own team into one of the contests? Check out the 48 Hour Film Project‘s page for more information.

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