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The making of a short film for OHIO’s 48-Hour Shootout film competition

The 21st annual 48-Hour Shootout film competition at Ohio University brought together twelve teams to create a short film in just 48 hours. Hosted by the School of Media Arts and Studies, teams are assigned a number of prompts to create a short film, from ideation to premier. They are then pitted against one another to determine the best product in the course of the learning process.

While a few teams weren’t able to make it the distance and finish the competition, a number of incredible films were created. Headed up by Professor Andie Walla, and ran by a group of volunteer student producers from the School of Media Arts and Studies, the shootout helps participants build production skills, resourcefulness and community within their group of collaborators, both for professional and academic development, and is a great deal of fun with their friends.

One of the competing teams was Schoon Goonz, a group of students largely hailing from Fridays Live, a student organization that produces a sketch comedy show on campus. The group has existed in some form for the last five years, even during peak pandemic in 2021. While the group specializes in comedy writing, they looked to show their range in this years’ competition.

To start the long, grueling 48 hours, the Schoon Goonz gathered in Studio C, an instructional television studio in the Radio and Television Building they use for their live shows, to prepare and divide up responsibilities. Allison Irey, director of photography and a junior media and production major, coordinated who would be on the pre-production (writers, art department, script editors), production (cast, crew, director, producers), and post-production (sound designers, editors, color correctors) units, scheduling the weekend as much as possible before receiving the prompts.

Schoon Goonz 48 Hour 3
The team gathers in Studio C for a pre-production meeting.

Following the initial meeting, the leaders of the various teams gathered in Schoonover 380 to collect their various prompts. To decide on their genre, ranging from Mockumentary to Detective Mystery, teams picked from Easter Eggs containing one of 12 different film genres. This prompt determined the genre of the film they would make.

For their line of dialogue, they bobbed for bath floaties. The lines of dialogue were taken from James Cameron films in celebration of “Avatar: The Way of Water,” and must be implemented in the films as a central part of the dialogue. Often, along with the prop, these are key in determining the plot of the films.

For their prop, the teams partook in a classic white elephant gift exchange. The props tend to be rather vague, such as “Length of Rope,” or “Cowboy Hat,” though this year the teams could elect to use a provided prop if they so chose. The props often help to determine the setting of the film, as it can be hard to justify a modern lighter in a medieval fantasy.

The Schoon Goonz was represented by Executive Producer Olivia Freeland, a sophomore media arts and production major, and received the Horror/Thriller genre, “So here I am. Doing science,” from “Avatar (2009) for their line of dialogue, and a wad of cash for their prop.

Once the team had all their prompts, they were off to the races! Their first step in the process was writing a script. The team of writers worked together to turn the prompts into a usable idea. In the realm of horror, they tossed around ideas like the classic zombie survival story, an experimental medical horror film, and a surrealist mad science caper. Eventually, they settled on a monster movie slasher, featuring the beloved childhood shrimp companions, sea monkeys.

Schoon Goonz 48 Hour 4
The Schoon Goonz prepares the set, ensuring that the lighting fits the scene.

After the script is written, the crew then works to create the best set possible for their film’s vision. Irey and the rest of the camera and lighting crew were in charge of assuring the lighting and camera are set up just right for the kitchen sequence of filming, as well as for the filming of the other scenes. The rest of the crew works on sound and props, with some very interesting physical effects also being featured in the film.

Following production, Josie Thompson, post-production supervisor for this production and a junior film student, and Ryan Humeniuk, head audio editor and a sophomore economics major, worked late into the night to edit everything captured on camera and create what would be close to the final film. Once the film was complete, the team met to watch a final draft of the video and provide last minute notes before it was due.

Schoon Goonz 48 Hour 2
The whole crew gathers around Josie Thompson, post-production supervisor, to view one of the first drafts of the film.

After a lot of work and sleepless night, the Schoon Goonz joined the rest of the teams to watch the premiere of each short film. Their film, “Monkey Sea Monkey Doom,” placed second overall.

While victory fell to the Ohio-in-LA-in-Ohio team and their stellar film “The Inheritance,” the cast and crew of Schoon Goonz achieved so much in just 48 hours.

That’s the nature of the event. It brings people together in interesting ways, all while creating incredible works of art for all to enjoy.

This year’s films can be viewed, as well as previous 48-Hour Shootout films, at the Media School’s YouTube channel“Monkey Sea, Monkey Doom” can also be viewed on the Fridays Live YouTube Channel along with credits for all those involved.

The annual event is open to any Ohio University student. Those interested in participating can contact Andie Walla ( for more information.

March 9, 2023
Austin Amburgey