ByZachary Cornett, writer at
I'm a huge horror buff, an aspiring actor and a film student in upstate New York!
Zachary Cornett

For all of the fans of horror out there, have you ever experienced a story that gave you chills just thinking about it? Have you ever experienced something unnatural or just out of the ordinary that made you think about what is real and what isn't? I know I've had this feeling before.

The Smiling Man is a short story that was uploaded to and was written by the username blue_tidal. The story follows a young man taking a walk one night whom eventually encounters a strange man with a wide grin on his face waltzing in the street. If you have not heard of this story before, I highly suggest you go and take a listen.

Going to film school, I find myself surrounded by creative people from all over and that's how I was first introduced to this story. My friend Jamison had told me about how he wanted to make a short film based around this story that he had listened to one night while playing on his computer. He said it was short, simple, creepy and not too outrageous so that it would be doable. I told him that I was up for anything and that I'd take a listen. A couple months went by and I forgot about it. I completely forgot about it until he had messaged me saying that if I wanted to do this short film, then I had better listen to the story. After I did, I thought that this could be a really cool thing to do. It would be a project that would not be for a grade, but a project that would let us mess around with our creativity. From the moment I said yes, we were already working hard. Together Jamison and I pulled together a quick storyboard, made necessary changes to the story and recruited a small, yet dedicated and talented cast and crew.

Early on, Jamison knew that he wanted to make the original story the main focal point, which of course made sense, but that didn't stop us from brainstorming some alternate ways of telling the story as well as alternate endings. We had a total of about three or four different endings, none of which ended up being shot due to our upload deadline.

When it came time to shoot, we were ready. Planning for the shoot to all be held in one night, Jamison and I made sure we had everything put together with script super notes, a clapper app on someone's phone, cameras, etc. We weren't going to slack and let this be some video on YouTube that made the viewers feel as though we didn't care. Like I said before, Jamison and I both knew that we had 95% creative control over this, which we used to our advantage. We then packed up our stuff and walked to a long and dark deserted road and began filming.

After about five hours of cold weather, a large number of cars coming out of nowhere and running, we wrapped at 2:30 AM. It was then Jamison took over the role of editing. It took about a week, but once the final edit was finalized, we took it to our friends Domenick and Gordon who would create music. In this situation, Jamison and I let Domenick and Gordon create whatever music they wanted. As long as it fit the style of the video and gave it that creep factor then it would work. We tried many different tricks, sound effects and rhythms before ending up with the final score. Once the music was matched up with the edit, it was time to get it uploaded. Without knowing the kind of reaction it would get from viewers, all of us believed that we did a good job on something that we came together to create. That's just the life of a film student.

So far, we've gotten over 1,000 views on YouTube and have gotten positive feedback from it. Of course there will be negative feedback as well, but one can realize that it's the same with everything. Through the positive and the negative, you have to strive to be better at what you enjoy and what your passion is. That's what makes life exciting, right?

In the end, what we pulled together was something quick and simple, yet eerie and bizarre. And you can view that short film below. Also, if you like what you see, we'll be uploading more content here at TKM Productions on YouTube:



If you encountered a weird man on the street, what would you do?


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