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One chapter closes, another begins

May 7, 2012

Dear Meatball Posse,

It is with a heavy heart that I must submit my resignation after 11 great years as part of our 48 Hour Film Project team. We had a lot of great times together and shockingly few fights, which I believe is a testament to the great core crew of people we’ve always been able to incorporate into our films.

Yours always,

“Burly Pete,” “Outrageous,” and “Mayonnaise.”

Mike Walsh

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A simple indoor shoot for the Meatball Posse in an actual Funeral Home.

Oh, wait. You guys want to know why I’m resigning? Because I’m going to run the show instead of competing in it.

That’s right, I’m the new City Producer for the 48 Hour Film Project – Philadelphia.

The decision to step away from writing and acting as part of the Meatball Posse wasn’t easy, I love the competition and I work with a great group of people. However, it occurred to me that maybe I could be of better service to all the Philly filmmakers if I handled the competition altogether.

If you’re unfamiliar with the 48 Hour Film Project, it’s a great contest. Dozens of teams spend 48 hours writing, acting and editing a 4-7 minute original content film based on a genre, character, prop and line of dialogue they get at minute 1. Now, you might think 4-7 minutes doesn’t sound like much time at all. Well, you’d be wrong.

Oh sure, you could just shoot some dialogue, but to make something good, you know, competition worthy, 4-7 minutes takes, well, a weekend.

The Meatball Posse have shot in all sorts of settings and locales and against all sorts of genres.

Our high water mark? The year we pulled the genre “musical” from the hat. I remember thinking there was no way our group of talentless hacks would ever be able to pull off a musical. I figured we’d just have some fun with the concept and have a weekend of laughs. As it turned out, we were far more talented than I feared and in one of the ballsiest moves a bunch of idiots ever made, we threw a musical up on the screen and ended up winning the whole thing that year in Philly.

We’ve won our share of awards over the years, but to win the big prize after getting an impossible genre, well, that was special.

But the movie I think I’ll always remember most fondly was the year we did a re-imagining of the Romeo and Juliet story through the use of generic and premium condiments. No really, it’s an awesome movie. It was also the latest we ever shot, finishing up around 2 AM. And we had a blast all day, concluding in an epic fight among the condiments.

This was always my favorite part of the process, the first few hours when we threw around a million idea and then got down to writing. (Pete, PJ, John and our resident real actor, Kurt Fitzpatrick)

Four guys need to be called out in particular for all the great times and memories. PJ Rhymeswithsausage (no sense putting in his real name, everyone knows this one and I can’t say, let alone spell, the real one), John Brach, Vince DiCostanzo and Pete McNally. P.J. and John have been the producers every year, rounding up all the actors, supplies, locations and doing the brunt of the editing. Vince, year after year, has been our actor on call, showing up whenever we needed him to do whatever we could think up. And my buddy Pete, friends for 20+ years, he’s one of the most creative guys I know and could step in to do any part of the project.

So why did these guys and so many others who helped us over the years enjoy it so much? The camaraderie, the chance to do something incredibly creative and then see it up on a big screen.

I’ll miss working with these folks, but I’m glad I’ll have a hand bringing the project to many more filmmakers in the Philadelphia area.

I’m sure you’ll hear more from me about this as we move through the process of setting up this year’s Philly competition.

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