Sunday, August 22, 2010

Production Diary #1

Well, here we are. As announced last night on my Facebook account, I have started production on a film which shall be my first - "Execration: A Scream Story". The idea for this film came about some time ago. In fact, when I sat down to watch the original "Scream" for the first time in over a year accouple of days ago, I got all excited and got my Ghostface mask out and everything. Later that night, I thoght I wanted to make a film. Well, having remembered a good bit of advice I heard from John Carpenter via a youtube video, I got a good idea.

Now, this is actualy not the first time I have attempted to try to make a film. The first time was actualy around this same time one year ago (well, one year come November's Thanksgiving break). Last year, for the first semester project for Language Arts class, I chose to do the only thing no body chose - to make a film. With it having to be based on one of the stories that we read that semester, it was going to be based on the short story, "The Most Dangerous Game". I was really excited. I wrote the script in three hours. It wasn't that long of a script either. Only thing that needed to be scripted was everything up till the first death. And with me filming everything in order, I was going to have everyone improvise the rest. The script I wrote actualy was a real go getter. I got a 100 on it, and the cast members who I had to go search for (not that many people want to be in a movie) did like the script. And with everyone being from my grade (since I want to make sure they were familiar with the story), the liked how it was true to the original story (with some changes just for the sake of location) and how I added some subtext and dramatic impact to things like the first death, the questioning of morales and ethics, and other such stuff. Over the Thanksgiving break, some footage was shot with a supporting character and my brother. 3 hours were spent and 10 minutes of footage was acumilated. But, before hard core filming could be achieved, my main star moved to California (damn air force) and that gave everyone a bad feeling except for my one supporting actor, me, and my brother. It failed. But again, the script got a 100 so I passed. It would have been so great to. We had accouple of BB guns, a samurai sword, and everything. Gonna even have some stylistic attributes from films such as Children of the Corn, Versus, and The Lost Boys. Oh well...
Now, I am trying to make another film. Except this is going to be s traight from the heart. And instead of a suspence/action, this is going to be suspence/horror/psychological drama. The film is, as I have previously stated, "Execration: A Scream Story". The basic plot is this: the main character (me) is a slasher film fanatic. However, with him having been a fan so long, he starts to go crazy. Something snaps. He starts to try to find meanings of life in the films and he starts seeing things and starts to question his morales and such. It gets to him. In the end, he kills his brother and mother - so is that also in his head? Is this all just a dream?
This film I am doing for cheap. $0. That is what it is going to cost me. And it is going to be easy. I got my camera (a Sony Handycam DCR0SR85), I got a tripod (A Super Axis 2603), and I got windows movie maker for editing. For the score, my brother is going to download for me a bunch of music from different slasher films (Halloween, Scream, Children of the Corn, April Fool's Day, everything you can think of) and see if it can't fit. However, due to seeing how stuff is happening, in all likelyhood I can only film this on the weekends. Today, I want to get alot of the non-exposition shots done. The only real problem I will have is filming the beginning credits, which is going to be just like Halloween's except that it isn't a pumpkin, it is a Ghostface mask. It's going to have to be done via stop motion. I shall use paint to put in the names and such. And just edit that all togeather.
I have already filmed everything leading up to the beginning credits. It is basicaly me watching Halloween 2 (the original). Already, we see me watching the scene of Michael chasing Laurie and also the scene in which Loomis explains to the nurse character what samhain and what Evil is. It is the unconcious mind. That is something that is important, since the film is (SPOILER) actualy all a deam within a dream. Evil is shown to be the unconcious mind because our main character is unconcious through out the whole film. What we see is what he is dreaming. Him killing and going insane (end spoiler). Another theme which I want to bring out with this film is alitle something I thought was a good point actor Willem Dafoe mentioned at Berlinale 2009 that not only does he mention a point I agree with (That America thinks what is popular is good while Europe actualy knows the difference between what is actualy a good film though it may not be popular and all that stuff about criticaly/personaly grading films and all of that stuff) but also that all film are not for everyone. And that is a point which I want to bring out. My character is a fan of these slasher films but they are not for him and because of that they start effecting them. But in the end, it is not films that make monsters, it is our perception of films, how we use them, and our choices which are influenced by them which can turn us into monsters.

Another thing which inspired me is me learning about serial killers such as the "Otaku Killer" or the "Halloween 2 Killer", and other stuff. That's gonna be one of the things which will set my character off. That's gonna scare the shit out of him mentaly and plant the seed that will germinate into Evan becoming haunted by Ghostface and ultimately make the deal that if Ghostface stops haunting him, my character will start killing for him - becomming Ghostface.
The next scene I am filming is a scene with me and my brother. And we will be watching Scream. While the last scene I filmed just sets us part of the character's corrupt quest to find truth which will help the seed to be planted to germinate, this new scene is going to help invest in the Ghostface mask. The mask is something very cool. The best mask ever since the original Michael Myers mask.

I mean, look at it! It's a great, versitile mask though it is more defined than the altered Shatner mask from the original Halloween. Especialy with the long range of interpretations it has. First to mention is some people noting the similarities that the mask has to Munch's "The Scream. When I look at the mask, it reminds me of the reaper. I have the rest of the costume somewhere and really, if the ghost-like face was replaced with a skull, it would be an effective grim reaper costume. It's also tragic. The mask looks sad to me. However, it is interesting how Adam Rockoff, who wrote the book "Going to Pieces", which I saw the documentry adaptation off of Starz, actualy thinks that the mask, "twisted in an exaggerated, almost mocking grin, as if reflecting the look of terror and surprise on his victims' faces." That is great! And in the end, the two of us agree that the mask has a, "striking, surreal and downright terrifying presence".

The last thing I would like to talk about is the use of the camera equipment. The tripod is maybe the best toy you can get. I mean, do not litteralty use it as a toy (you can pretent it is a bazooka or something), but it is fun. It is fun setting up a shot. You got two handles. One for panning. Panning shots is fun. Then you got another which does more. It helps you pan up and down, or if you turn the camera itself on it's screw, you can also move the camera so it films an oblique shot (which is something that the first Scream film had accouple of). You also got a turning handle which if all of the extended legs are not good enough, you can turn it and get the caera up to a higher elevation to the point that you may need a chair to turn on the camera. It's a cool thing to use. Very, very fun. And then, when you are filming, you get the feeling that you are creating art and I like that so, so, so much. It is fun. Filmmaking is something very awesome.

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