For our short film, instead of portraying three narratives, we decided to meld our collective experiences. For the three of us, this is our first time living alone and our individual stories are all relate to it. We decided our theme is living alone. We thought it’d be appealing to create a story that reflects the unsettling feeling of being home alone late at night when something suddenly feels amiss. We thought we could really be playful with the editing to build up suspense. We were careful to never reveal too much. We thought that with our time restraint, it’d be best to film at a single location. We figured that if we varied the shots enough, the limited set wouldn’t matter, but may even enhance the film. We enlisted the help of our friend Sarah to act as our lead because we really wanted to focus on the actual filmmaking and not on our inability to act.
When it comes to horror films, the right audio (and sometimes omission of it) can really build tension. The editing is timed to sync with the music, and when there’s a beat the frame jump cuts. We zoomed in on the melting ice cream to imply the passage of time. Close-ups and hand held camera work lend to the urgency of the scene. When Sarah returns the ice cream to the fridge, instead of showing the whole process, we jumped to the time she is walking. For the moment that Sarah sees things in the mirror, we used two different angle to find the perfect frame that shows the reflection of her in the two mirrors. We used the sound of the record player when the ghost appears in the hallway to suggest a connection.
When reviewing our rough cut, we noticed that the transition from the bathroom scene to Sarah smoking on the couch is not as seamless as it could be. We needed a shot of Sarah returning from the bathroom to the living room, (before the cigarette) and our actor was no longer availuable. We incorporated a clip of the lizard looking up suddenly to help fill the gap and help us further build up anticipation. The shot suggests the lizard noticed something sinister at bay. In hindsight, certain scenes could have been drawn out longer because extended uncut clips can be used to grow suspense. The audience would then begin to feel discomfort and anticipate a change to come.
We used the floor lamp as our central light source. We elected to keep it simple and dramatic because we felt it suited the mood. We used a filter called Fuji ETERNA, which added darkness, and further decreased the exposure.