It was around 12:43 a.m. when the last two of the eight members of Sticky Situations Inc. entered the apartment of Evita Huang, a fourth-year literary journalism and film and media studies double-major. Huang had unofficially transformed her Vista del Campo apartment into the team headquarters for the 24-Hour Mad Film Dash, complete with instant coffee and an assortment of snacks strewn across her coffee table around which her team of eight had circled.
Within minutes of the team settling down, the realization of having less than 24 hours to complete a quality five-minute film had sunk in and the brainstorming began.
‘I’m telling you,’ said a strongly convinced Irma Matutina, a fourth-year economics and film and media studies double-major, ‘Rosa Parks Breaks the Sound Barrier.” Matutina’s story idea was one of many thrown about the room during the next hour and a half.
As experienced and creative as these film veterans were, it was nearly impossible to ignore the mutual feeling of having received one of the most difficult prompts of the Mad Film Dash. Hoping for a bit of consolidation for the prompt that was assigned to the team, Huang gave the Mad Film Dash director Morgan Swift a call, only to have him confirm that their three choices of mockumentary, biopic and sports film were some of the most difficult.
Despite Sticky Situations Inc.’s nervous start, the team eventually agreed on a story idea around 2:10 a.m. The production of a five-minute film doesn’t seem like a very demanding task, but keep in mind that nearly 50 percent of the judging for Mad Film Dash is based on how well a film follows a given prompt. The Sticky Situations Inc. team now had to move on to developing a story that would adhere to the biopic genre and manage to incorporate a briefcase and the UC Irvine Computer Store.
‘Alright, we have to finish the script by 6:30 [a.m.],’ said fourth-year history and film and media studies double major Christine Kim.
Four hours had elapsed since a consensus on a film topic and the sun had begun creeping through the window. The script was revised over and over again and by 8 a.m., and Sticky Situations Inc. had relocated to the Edwards University Town Center 6 Theater on the other side of Campus Avenue.
Thanks to Sticky Situations Inc.’s connections, an early morning shoot was filmed at the theater, but the crew was still on a strict time limit and had only allowed themselves to film until 10:45 a.m. Costumes for the actors were ingeniously being improvised by the ladies of the team in the lobby of the theater as the men set up the camera and lights. New angles and ideas constantly engaged the minds of the acting camera operators, Huang and Casey Wedding, a sixth-year sociology and film and media studies double-major. The most time-consuming part was disassembling and reassembling a majority of Bautista’s film equipment.
After filming had wrapped at the theater, the team headed down Pacific Coast Highway in search of a red British phone booth on the property of a restaurant in Newport Beach. Was permission needed to film this scene involving the telephone booth?
‘Well, I guess it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission,’ Bautista said as he and Wedding unloaded the equipment from Wedding’s truck.
Just before filming commenced, Matutina and Russell Espinosa, a fourth-year film and media studies major, had finally come back with a red fedora hat, an important costume piece for the actress in the film. This time under the direction of Huang and Kim, the scene was filmed in a timely manner and the cast and crew headed to the tunnels of UCI.
The scene at the tunnels belonged to the actor Billy McLellan, a fourth-year film and media studies major. The tunnel walls reeked of fresh paint fumes. Bautista and his crew skillfully steadied the camera below two reflectors and above a thin trail of water. After getting the shots they needed, the team headed to the surface to film the remaining scenes.
After the sun had set, the team filmed in Santa Ana, a UCI parking structure and Huang’s apartment before the footage was handed over to Bautista for editing. A little after 11 p.m. the cheers from Bautista’s room signaled the completion of the film and Sticky Situations Inc. dashed out of the VDC property to turn in their work. The team beat the deadline and were now eager to share with UCI students just where in the world Carmen San Diego came from.