When it was time for Vinay Peri to decide the genre of his first professional short film he decided to go with horror/thriller. For many people, horror/thriller seems easy to make, but Vinay disagrees. According to him there are two types of horror films: one is the “jump scare” horrors that scare the audience by surprising them with an abrupt change, usually accompanied by a loud sound. The other type tries to make you feel the fear inside you, which is tough to do. He chose the latter.
Dream is Vinay’s first professional short film.
Inspirations For Dream
Usually, the seed for a story is an idea, and it can come in any form. For some, it might be an experience from one's life. For some, it could be a book they read or a documentary they watched. It could be anything, but for Vinay, it was the need to showcase his ability, to show people what he can create.
“ nitially I was working on a different script. I had an action script in mind with many characters, locations, and extended action scenes. It was a production nightmare for someone who is just starting to make movies, and I am glad I took the advice of my script editor/DOP Bandla. He suggested that I work on a smaller project, a project which does not have as many characters, locations or for that matter anything which complicates production. Thus formed the idea of 'Dream,' I came up with a story with no dialogue that takes place in a single room with a single character. I wanted to make a movie about a person suffering from sleep paralysis. I felt it is a different subject which not many short filmmakers have explored, and it also gives an opportunity to make my short film almost a silent one.”
So what exactly is sleep paralysis? "Sleep paralysis is a phenomenon in which an individual, either during falling asleep or awakening, temporarily experiences an inability to move, speak, or react." Most people who have experienced sleep paralysis say that it feels like you woke up dead. You know that your mind is awake, and your body is not — you’re essentially trapped. There is often a sensation of chest pressure, which is why many people wake up from sleep paralysis gasping for breath. Many patients report feeling an undeniably strange or scary presence in the room. Unlike dreams, which occur when one's eyes are closed in sleep, the hallucinations in sleep paralysis occur in the state between sleeping and waking when the mind is alert and the eyes are open.
Donning Too Many Hats
For many short filmmakers, being on a tight budget does not give them the luxury of hiring a professional crew or cast members. Most of the time they have to look for people who are willing to volunteer or get the job done by an amateur.
“For this movie, I wanted to get ahold of a proper Director of Photography. I was lucky to get a person who would volunteer: Mr. Bandla, who also has good taste in cinema, and we connected. He eventually donned multiple hats, as even my script editor and my go-to person when stuck at some stage of filmmaking. Besides Mr. Bandla, I had a friend who volunteered to make the music, and I had one actress. I did everything else."
Ashna, the lead actress in Vinay's short film, is an experienced actress in the DC area. Starting from commercial and industrial experience, she made her transition into film and television. Dream was her first horror/thriller film.
“'Dream' was a challenging and exciting project for me. My character, Lisa, has sleep paralysis disorder, she could only show emotions through her eyes and face as the film had no dialogue. Vinay and the DOP were fantastic on set. They gave excellent direction and let me know if I needed to change anything. The final product came out clean and beautiful, considering the custom artwork and creepy music that was used to enhance the overall horror experience. I am looking forward to seeing what Vinay produces next and hope to collaborate again.” — Ashna Sharan
Lights, Camera, Action!
“Once we got hold of a location, We shot the movie in two days. We wanted every shot to be a night shot since most of the film revolves around the lead character sleeping. We worked without a monitor to review the scenes, which was very challenging. There was a huge difference between working with friends and a professional actor and I am glad I chose the latter."
“I wanted to release this movie to the public free of cost. It was not my intention to make any money out of this movie, all I wanted was to people to watch it. I released 'Dream' on YouTube and Vimeo. I marketed it on Facebook through my Production House page Seven Sages Pictures.
Vinay is currently writing the script of his next short, The Warning.