Great Bend Junior Geoffrey Pafford’s short movie, “The Haddock Effect,” earned Top Five honors in a national student contest, “The 10 Day Film Challenge.” He created his 4-minute original movie during first-hour Video Production class at GBHS.
Students across the nation were challenged to write, shoot and edit a film in 10 school days. The top 10 can be seen online at http://www.tendayfilm.org/2018-multi-state-films.html.
More than 140 films from across the country were submitted for judging by a panel of film professionals. The top 30 films were then screened again and the top 10 were released.
In addition to placing fifth overall in the competition, Pafford’s film earned the award for Best Editing and was a nominee for Camera Technique. It was nominated for best Point of View (POV) shot.
“The process for making the 10-day film was long and hectic,” Pafford said. “First I had to draw a genre from a hat and I got Sci Fi, but I didn’t like that.” Students were allowed a second choice called the “mystery genre.” Pafford chose that and his new genre was allegory. He had to meet several other criteria: A character’s name had to be Bob or Becky Haddock, a calendar had to be used as a prop, and someone had to speak the line of dialogue, “Why didn’t I think of that?” The movie also had to be done entirely on the school grounds during the 10-day window.
Instructor Dan Heath teaches Video Production to three classes and each class produced a film for the contest. They were done just before Spring Break in March.
But Pafford faced an additional challenge because he is the only student in the first-period class. (Two other students were in the class at the start of the year but one has moved away and one transferred to another class.) That challenge turned into an opportunity.
“Mr. Heath and I started the brainstorming and we came up with the idea — since I’m the only in class, why not do a film with just me and multiples of me?” Pafford said. The result was an allegory about the dangers of conformity, and nonconformity, with Pafford playing multiple versions of himself, all named Bob Haddock. The twist comes when the Bobs realize one of them is rebelling and wants to be an individual called Robert.
“There are up to six of me in one shot and we had to get it down perfect,” Pafford said. “After many trials and errors, we got it all lined up the way I wanted.”
Scripting and filming conversations with himself was challenging. For some split screen shots, Heath read lines to Pafford as he spoke from one point of view, and then they traded places. In the editing, Heath was deleted and the shots were layered, so it was all Pafford on screen.
“Filming days were tough,” Pafford said. “I had to wear the same outfit and couldn’t change my appearance so it wasn’t noticeable in the film.” He also had to match the lighting and sound levels on multiple shots.
The film needed a plot with a beginning, middle and end.
“The beginning adds the fun and realization that there are multiple Bobs, which is really fun doing,” he said. “The ending I think was a great add-on; it added suspense to the audience that what’s going to happen next and leaves a cliffhanger.
“Even though there are many mistakes that we (Heath and I) didn’t have enough time to do, I had lots of fun making it and I’m so happy for the fifth place and winning the award for Best Editing and nominated for Best Cinematic Technique. I give all credit to Mr. Heath for making this a wonderful class to take and be a part of this amazing experience and couldn’t have done it without him.”
This is Great Bend’s third year of competing in the 10 Day Film Challenge, Heath said. It is the first time for a film to make it to the Top 10.
Heath was able to upgrade video equipment for his classes thanks to a mini-grant from the Great Bend USD 428 Education Foundation.
Pafford was in the class last year and was part of a team that entered the challenge. Now a junior at GBHS, after graduation he plans to attend Barton Community College for two years before transferring to Kansas State Polytechnic at Salina to study film technology. “It’s a lot of fun because it’s your own ideas,” he said, adding he enjoys having others see his work.
The video production classes continue to work on projects. For example, student Kyler Merten said he has been working on a video with his biking and skating friends. They are also working with Great Bend Park Supervisor Scott Keeler for plans to renovate the city’s skateboard park.
Heath said the GBHS Video Production class continues to evolve, moving toward social media. Next year, students may be delving into live streaming of school board meetings or sporting events. “We have a pretty clear vision of where we’re headed for next year,” he said.