What can you actually achieve in 15 seconds? Not a lot (dirty minds)...
However in October, the 15 Second Horror Film Challenge invited filmmakers from around the globe to get together and to frighten the bejezus out of YOU with an anthology batch of unrelated 15 second horror micro shorts.
They had celebrity judges from Lloyd Kaufman (that Troma guy) all the way to YouTube celebs like Darius J Britt (filmmaking blog guru man). So there was NO EXCUSE not to get off my arse and make something!
Personally, I loved the idea and the challenge, as a filmmaker I'd made numerous short films for competitions but I'd never had to make one with such a short time limit... was it even possible??
I got my thinking hat on and here's what I created... with a little help from my friends :)
My first mini short RIP:
The short has a simple enough premise which I won't spoil (watch it) and I was eager to get it "in the can." With the competition end date ringing in my ears I actually attempted to shoot this on my own on a particularly sulky day here in Scotland. I should have known better.
It was a wash out and I couldn't keep the camera dry! So, a week later I shot the finished version above with the help of my sister, Sarah Loftus, who has a passion for movie makeup and prop making.
We even benefited from a better Graveyard set that was closer to my sister's house and there were no gawking passers-by, which always helps when filming anything.
My second entry PHOTO:
Now PHOTO was an idea I've had for a while but I shot it in its most RAW form. Personally, there's nothing better then the whole "camera has seen something we've missed" idea, in my opinion. I love a good ghost picture, don't you?
I shot this with my friend Sian Evans and her brother Michael Pemberton, who takes the lead role. Sian plays the "Raven Lady" and did all her own makeup as she's a dab hand at it. Make Up Page.
We even had Sian's mom, Norma Cameron, on set, who's a semi-professional photographer and she took these amazing behind the scenes photo's from the day. Norma's Photography.
This is a bit of a novelty to me as an amateur filmmaker, I usually have no crew and am so busy filming, acting, and everything in between that stills usually fall by the wayside. Nice to see the creative process afterwards, I think.
PHOTO didn't make it into the top ten, but tied for 12th place and was mentioned in one of the judge's top five picks.
My third and final entry CHANCE (turn your sound up):
This was the idea that literally popped into my head completely whole from out of nowhere, so I've probably read someone else's mind without realizing it (lol).
Once again, I recruited my sister Sarah Loftus, also my 11-year-old nephew Charlie Loftus was needed to bring the creepy kid factor to life. There's just something inherently spooky about a child's laugh and in the horror genre you can really have fun with that.
From a technical point of view this short has its problems, lighting is always a worry to the no budget filmmaker and I felt, given more time, I should have lit the short better. Nit picking on my part, you may not have even noticed but it bothers me every time I think of this one (quiet brain).
CHANCE ended up in two judges' TOP 5 picks
CHANCE tied for 11th place with lots of other entries
I did shoot a FOURTH entry, but for a couple of reasons it never got put into the mix.
We shot this in a bit of a scramble on the same day as PHOTO (you may notice Michael wearing the same clothes). I originally had plans to make this into a 30 to one minute short for Halloween as a fun little jump scare.
The basic idea I guess has been done before, and the handheld found footage style isn't something I've utilized very often so I thought I'd give it a go for the hell of it. That Ouija board was bought about 15 years ago for a short film and only used like three times... typical.
Sian made her brother up to look like a demonic Deadite, which is always my go-to horror face... I love Evil Dead, what can I say?
So did any of that creep you out? Or are you such a hardcore gore hound that it was "like the buzzing of flies" to you?
SUBSCRIBE to my channel for more shorts: Matt Loftus Channel.
Drop me a comment as I'd love to hear feedback on any of our projects, you can check out all the buzz on the official 15 Second Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/15secondhorror
Oh, and here's my MAKING OF video with a little more info if your still game :)