Monday, October 31, 2011

"When the Lights Go Out" - An Exercise in Suspense

Happy Halloween everyone! And what better way to get your day going than with a short horror film? I made this video with a couple friends last year in the winter, essentially because I wanted to make a scary movie. I love scary movies because, in my opinion, a film's job is to make it's audience feel something, and the horror genre is one the most successful genres in that respect.

I didn't want to try to use a lot of effects or monster masks or makeup or anything, I just wanted a simple idea that I could play around with. See, I've tried making scary movies before, and I've never quite succeeded at making one that I thought was good enough. All the others have come out cheesy or stupid and funny, not scary. So with this film I wanted to try and use suspense to build fear, and as a result of this I decided to do a giant one-take.

So the most important scene in the film, the one that takes up a few minutes by itself, is all one take, and it was the first take we did. We ran through it a couple times, then filmed it once and thought it was good.

I took a basic idea - a kid home alone for the night starts to think that he may not actually be alone - and played around with it. Yes, I know story-wise it's not very original, but I consider this film more an exercise in suspense than anything else. I didn't want a very complicated or distracting story because I wanted to focus on what the camera should be doing and what the actors should be doing to make it scary. Where should they be in relation to each other? These are the things I focused on, not plot or story.

This was filmed one weekend while I was home visiting, so when I came back to school I edited the footage and put the video together, and for once I was really happy with a horror film that I had created.

I still have a lot to learn, but I love the genre and I thought anyone reading this might get a kick out of seeing this (I mean, it IS Halloween). I hope you have a good one, and I hope you stay safe tonight!

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