Friday, June 21, 2013

Partners in Comedy: Gordon Alumni Win Big at Boston's 48 Hour Film Festival



Intentional team building can sometimes bond coworkers. But sometimes, it subjects hopeless employees to the cruelty of an authoritarian boss, and results in untimely asphyxiation.

This is the spin web comedy enthusiasts Brainfox—a troupe composed of Gordon College Theatre Arts alumni Audrey Johnson ’05, Jill Rogati ’07 and Brett Johnson ’07— brought to an all-too-familiar workplace exercise when they teamed up with In the Car—a video production team founded by Communication Arts alumni Dan Stevens ’07 and Dave Ells ’07—in early June to produce a short film for Boston’s 48 Hour Film Project (48HFP). In the 48HFP, video production teams are given 48 hours to write, direct, shoot, produce and screen a short film. The five-minute Brainfox/In the Car collaboration, All For Knot, won Best Film—plus awards for best directing, editing, acting ensemble, and best use of the prop, “net.” The crew, composed mostly of Gordon graduates, premiered the video at the Kendall Square Cinema and beat out 80 other teams to win the award.



During the 48HFP, each team receives its film assignments (a specific genre, character, prop and line that must be incorporated into the film) on Friday night, and they submit the finished product on Sunday evening. Over the years Brainfox and In the Car have developed a strict regimen for the production process, according to each team member’s strengths. On Friday night they spitball ideas, and once a premise is achieved, Brett Johnson and fellow alum Phil Nichols ’08 stay up all night writing the script. The team shoots all day on Saturday with a goal to wrap up by evening. The remaining hours are dedicated to editing the film for Sunday evening. Despite the obvious stress, Johnson says, “Thankfully, our team is people who we enjoy not just working with, but spending time with, too. While there are still time constraints, the experience is a positive and exciting one for those involved.”

Boston 48HFP producer Ben Guaraldi called the team’s work "original, well-executed, sometimes touching, and always very funny." 

Founded in 2011 with support from In the Car, Brainfox's sketch comedy videos find humor in just about everything under the sun, from a rowdy Western bar with wine-sipping patrons to a series satirizing the classic video game, The Legend of ZeldaIn the Car, which has worked with clients including ESPN, USA Today and MTV, has participated in the 48HFP for the last four years. Back in 2011, Stevens and Ells teamed up with Brainfox to create the film Song and Dance, which won that year's 48HFP awards for best acting ensemble, screenplay and original song, and an honorable mention in the "best film" category.

The members of Brainfox and In the Car met at Gordon College, where they first realized their mutual interests. Johnson reflects, “It's where our relationships were created and friendships cemented, as well as skills and interests honed.”


The Gordon community still plays a large role in the team’s films. “Both for 48 Hour Film shoots and other Brainfox shoots,” Johnson says, “we have been assisted by location help, feedback and advice from Gordon faculty and staff.” One of their recent shorts, The Grapes of Wranglers, featured English professor Mark Stevick in a lead role.

Brainfox producer Audrey Johnson shares, “The most enjoyable part is the chance to spend a couple days with some of the most talented filmmakers and storytellers around. Our goal is to have fun and make a movie that makes us laugh. And that’s awesome if others have the same reaction.”

Check out Brainfox's facebook page for more information


Blogger: Mac Gostow ’13. A California native and communication arts graduate, Mac is a writer in the Office of College Communications  at Gordon College. He is currently an assistant to the Artistic Director at Improv Boston. Mac interned at CBS News in New York City, founded ScotRadio, performed with the Sweaty-Toothed Madmen improv troupe, and served as a show host for KURadyo in Istanbul, Turkey.


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