This is the short film my group created:
Read below to discover how we made it and where our ideas arose from.
I feel like the main reason why I would like to take our film down the psychological route is because there are so many amazing psychological horror films that focus on loneliness. One of my favourite films, The Shining, shows this really well and this is the film which drove me into looking at psychological horror. It professionally drives the audience into being terrified while watching this man slowly change into pure madness as he is losing a piece of his regular self every day and eventually becomes a murderer. Because of how well the film was done, there are certainly aspects of it that I would like to apply to our short film to have a similar effect on the audience.
I looked at the found footage genre since it could potentially be the genre for our film:
Found Footage is a sub-genre where all of the film is presented as if it were discovered recordings. In Found Footage film, the whole story is told through a series of clips taken with a handheld camera accompanied by the character’s narrator in the form of an interview or being shared directly to the camera, like a vlog. Found Footage films often have the same style of a documentary, videos being taken from security cameras or family videos.
The cool thing about this genre of film is that it brings the viewer into the scene and makes them feel like they are there, experiencing the situation with the character. This means that the film can affect the viewer more emotionally while they are watching it as they can understand and feel what is happening in the scene. The viewer can easily become scared, sad, or mentally alert during intense scenes. This is perfect for horror films which is the reason why a lot of horror films are shot this way.
Here’s some well-known Found Footage films: The Blair Witch Project, Cannibal Holocaust, Creep and Paranormal Activity. Paranormal Activity for example, makes good use of setting the entire film in a house by using security camera footage.
Security camera footage is a great way to change the filming style so that the amount of first person shots or go-pro shots can be cut down and there is more variety in the film. Found Footage doesn’t always have to be filmed in just these ways though. Other filming possibilities include news footage and mockumentary.
A mockumentary is a filming type that depicts fictional events but presented as a documentary.
In terms of films that show this very well, ‘I, Tonya’ is a great example. The entire way through the film there are snippets of the main character sat in a chair explaining the story and when the image wasn’t shown you could hear her narrating the story. This made the viewer think that everything she was saying really happened and the story is true. This was mainly because it was her present self talking about her past story.
Here is the mood board I created for found footage:
One person waiting alone in a room. Watching the clock as time goes by slowly, but the pace of the editing will be fast to show how much time is passing. The person becomes more and more anxious due to the lack of socialisation. This is just a maybe, but perhaps the person could start talking to themselves in order to cope and a voice is in their head responding but pans of the room show no one is actually there. We could use sounds such as clock ticking, but it gets louder.
How I came up with my idea
My idea arose from thinking about the idea of isolation. I made a mind map about words surrounding the theme isolation. This helped me come up with ideas for stories.
The things that stood out the most to me about isolation was the anxiety caused by the lack of socialisation and being alone too much. I liked that there was a link with this idea and the real situation happening in life right now with Covid-19. This means that if we take our story down this route it would be relatable to what a lot of people are experiencing. This was partially a cionsidence but I liked that it was similar to what most people are going through due to excessive lockdowns, which in my opinion, are ruining people's mental health.
Final Decided Story
Name - Komodo Killer
Scene 1: Annabelle and Andrew walk through the woods and stop after they decide to take a photo together. They don’t notice the killer and the watcher won’t be able to either. This will be a quick scene that just gives evidence of them taking photos.
Scene 2: A few days later, Annabelle and Andrew will be in class alone together doing work, this is because they both stayed behind together to catch up on some work.
Scene 3: Andrew will say he needs to go to the toilet and then Annabelle gets bored, so she starts looking through some pictures on her phone. She then comes across one of the pictures she took the other day with Andrew in the woods. After further inspection she sees a figure that looks like a man with his hood up in the background of the picture.
Scene 4: At first she doesn’t think too much of it until she has a flashback to an article she saw online about this hooded killer who is targeting people in her area. The flashback will show her looking at the article on her phone. You will be able to tell it’s a flashback because of the sound effects. It will flash on and off the screen and will pan down the article with a picture of the killer on it.
Scene 5: Annabelle will then start to panic. By the corner of her eye, she sees the same guy outside the window. After realising Andrew has been a while, Annabelle goes looking for him. Then the shot will change to reveal the killer just behind her.
How we came to this main idea
We all really like Finn's idea and agreed to it. From this general idea, we all participated in making tweeks to the idea and changing different aspects of it to make sure that our story made sense. Then we could start planning. We looked at roles, characters, costumes and sounds we could use to add the horror vibe to our short film.
- Finn: Lighting, Editor
- Andrew: Sound
- Annabelle: Writer, Director
- Rotational depending who is in the scene
- Finn: Killer
- Andrew: Friend 2
- Annabelle: Friend 1
- Killer: Black hoodie, mask
- Friend 2: Casual clothes, Coat
- Friend 1: Casual clothes, Coat, different set of casual clothes
Sounds We Could Use:
- Crunching leaves
- Twigs snapping
- Metallic reverse effects
A mood board is a cluster of images that portray the general ideas for a project. By using mood boards, we can identify the key theme or feeling we want to go for. In this specific mood board, I took images that fitted the concept of our film.
A script breakdown is essentially taking apart the script and categorising everything into things like costume, props, characters and so on. This helps to us to pick out all the important aspects of the film so that everything is remembered and noted. There are two different ways of doing a script breakdown. One is creating a Xcel document listing out everything in a chart format. Another, is creating a practical breakdown using pens and underlining everything in a colour coded fashion. This was the type I chose to do as, in my opinion, it's easier to do although maybe not as clear.
Script Breakdown 1
When checking over the script after completing the breakdown, I noticed some things that needed changing about the script itself and the breakdown so I decided to give a second attempt. I edited the script and added more detail to it which had been the critique given. Another thing I added was one more catagory to the script breakdown which was costume.
Script Breakdown 2
A shot list is a great way of documenting an ordered list of shot ideas. This could include whether a shot is handheld or not, what shot type it is and also which scene the shot would be filmed during. It helps us to stay organised and extremely prepared so we know exactly how the film would be shot on the day. There are no last minute decisions. As you can see, I included all of these details and the characters that would be shown in the shot.
Lists Of Things We Need:
- Two cameras
- Lighting equipment
- Casual 1
- Casual 2
- Killer Costume
Film schedules make a smoother flowing day of filming. It's important to state what scene will be filmed when and the actors that will be included in them. This way everyone knows where they need to be at what time. Film schedules are a great way of communicating amongst a group and keeps things clear and organised. Here is the film schedule I made: