24 Hour Video Race Countdown: The 8th Best Video of the Decade

Over the next few weeks leading up the 10th anniversary of the 24 Hour Video Race, we will be looking back at the ten best movies made by race participants as chosen by the race organizers. Today, at number eight is “Choices” (2009) by “Brownian Motion.” After the video, there’s a brief interview with Paul Jolly who headed up the filmmaking team.

To view all the videos in the countdown, go here.

FrontRow: Where are you now? Is filmmaker still part of your life?

Paul Jolly: I’m a media producer at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. We make videos for medical and teaching purposes and videos that tell stories about the work the hospital does – and our great kids. I’m a big fan of animation – making inanimate things move is one of the oldest and most magical ideas in film.

FR: How did the idea for your movie emerge during the 24 hours you spent making it?

PJ: Finding our concept was a struggle. We brainstormed, discussed, wrote on index cards, and paced for 4-5 hours. We had some disagreements, and considered other concepts that were completely different from the one we finally went with. The hours were ticking by and there was no plan – but finally, the idea began to gel and then the process moved quickly and was more fun.
FR: What was the most frustrating part about filmmaking under the race’s conditions/ What were the most freeing aspects?

PJ: There are so many things that you can’t control – locations, the sound environment, the weather. That’s one reason we lean toward graphics and animation over pure live action – it can take a lot of time, but we have a little more control. Because all the teams are up against the same problems, though, I think we cut each other some slack when we see each others’ films. It’s more about coming up with a great idea to pull together the required elements than technical perfection. Seeing the variety of ideas that the teams come up with is a huge part of the fun.

FR: Why did you originally enter the race – how did you put together your team?

PJ: I had connections with the Video Association of Dallas through being a big fan of the Dallas Video Fest. The first year of the 24-hour race, I had never heard of anything like it, and just thought I would try it. It’s such great fun and such a huge challenge, I’ve done it every year since.

We’ve always been in the category with the larger teams, and the team has never been the same two years running. People’s schedules are always in flux, and it’s a big physical and time commitment, so the lineup can change right up until the start of the race. The 2009 team is such a fun and talented bunch. Several freelancers from the local production and post industry, a painting professor, computer and software people – all people with creativity and skills who can take an idea and run with it. It was a beautiful group effort. And except for me, it was a first 24-hour race for the whole team.

FR: Looking back at your movie, do you have any reaction to it/thoughts/things you would do differently?

PJ: We worked efficiently, and we had time towards the end to clean the audio mix and tidy up some little things, so there aren’t a lot of nagging things I wish I could change.  The stress of the 24-hour race makes for strong memories, so when I see the movie, I remember working together with that awesome team, the good feeling of solving problems, and laughing a lot.

FR: Has the race had any lasting impact on how you view movies/moviemaking?

PJ: The thing I love about watching the 24-hour race entries is seeing the films that are really personal, and not just imitating the mass-market movies we may see at the theater.  There are movies every year that in spite of the limitations of 24-hour film-making, really have magic, something you may not see in a “larger” film.

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