Hey, movie pilot people. For my first post, I want to talk about a recent achievement. So recently I've finished my second short film, "Scream" (nothing like the horror film). "Scream" is about a guy who is a drug addict who gets caught in the middle of a drug deal.
Here's a little background on how I and why started making short films.
My first short film, "Crying out," was a pretty big achievement for me. It was my first time ever actually directing a serious video. Before "Crying Out," I really didn't know what I was doing. My channel usually consisted of random videos; stop motion, phone videos, and a weird comedy video where I kill a bunch of clones of myself. But then something happened. Nationwide, there is a Red Ribbon event which advocates for anti-drug use. I wasn't really interested until an awards ceremony for some contests they had. These contests ranged from essays, poetry, posters, and film. I didn't realize they had a category for film until I saw the rival school take the prize by default. I thought to myself "Now that is just unacceptable."
The next year I was ready. I had already thought of a great one to make. This would be awesome. Possibly the best video entry the Red Ribbon Foundation had ever seen. I had seen the rival school's video the year before, so I knew their style. It was good. Alright, I guess. Something you would expect to see from a group of high school students. Mine had to be better. I had to introduce something new to the table. And that's just what I did. Filming was stretched across a period of about two months. Finally, it was finished and it won first place. When people saw it, they were amazed that it was my first short film.
Like "Crying Out," I've entered "Scream" into the Red Ribbon film contest. But "Scream" was harder to come up with. It went through quite a few changes. The original idea was completely different. The original idea was that a guy was pushed so far over the edge that he brought a gun to school and was about to shoot the man he deems responsible until his best friend shows up and talks him out of it. I still believe it would be good, but this is a school event, so the judges might not take it very well if they saw a gun in the video. One day at work, which is at Kart Kountry, I was thinking about this video. I knew it needed to be changed drastically. But how? As I watched the go-karts go by on the track, an idea came to me. An idea that would lay down the very foundation of the video. What if about half of it were set in a car? What if that half were to be the point of revelation? As I started on the script, I realized we only needed one day and one night to film. And that's exactly what happened.
My favorite scene has to be the drug deal scene. It was the height of the whole film and it was a lot of fun to make. But the days before that filming night were very nerve wracking. It was the only night I could actually film and if anything popped up for any of us, that's it. Movie's cancelled. But luckily that was not the case. I had scheduled for us to meet up at the school at 8 pm because it would be dark and no one would be there. Of course, the school knew what we were doing, but we didn't want to risk getting into any trouble with anyone else because this was a drug deal scene. I made sure that this scene would look legitimate. I wanted it to be, in a way, almost nerve wracking. Like it was real. But of course, when we got there, there were some people there. I see them and I start thinking, "I don't want them here while we do this sketchy scene." Turns out their car broke down. You can actually hear the car being towed away in the first few shots of me waiting and walking towards Austin (Jared, the drug dealer). We had done that scene over and over again from so many angles. Finally it was time for Austin to drive off, then we did our chase scene. For the chase scene, we didn't take multiple shots of the same thing at different angles. We just filmed each segment at one angle and went with it. That only changed when it was time for me to throw the bag.
And then it was time for that first scene. Zach is running and finds the bag. Then the camera zooms out slowly. This was done in attempt to make the audience feel distant just as Donnie does. Although, it took us two takes before Zach finally learned he's supposed to stand in place and not move. It was a great shot, that also made for a great poster.
The name "Scream" actually took a lot of time to generate. I thought about it for the longest time. After doing some research on what it's like to be an addict, I soon discovered that most addicts don't feel proud of what they do. If anything, they want to scream at themselves. But I didn't want to call it "Scream" just then. After all, that's the name of a slasher horror series. I tried thinking of another title, but "Scream" was the only thing that did it justice. And then I saw the value this title had towards the story. It gave a bit of an artistic sense to it. It gives an idea of the way Micheal feels and how he takes on his situation. Whereas the horror film has the title just because that's what people do when they're scared. There is seriously no value to that name for a movie like that. I know, it's just a title, but the title is what draws us in. If the title is completely misleading like Cloverfield, you're drawing in the wrong crowd.
Now the original layout of the film was to have a scattered plot. I didn't want it to be in chronological order. After watching some Christopher Nolan films (The Prestige and Memento) I thought it would be a cool technique to show this out of order. The original order was this:
- Donnie running through the parking lot and finding the bag
- Micheal and Donnie walking through the hall
- Donnie walking up to the car, asking to be let in
- Jared telling Micheal the plan
- Micheal letting Donnie in the car followed by him asking if Micheal were okay
- The football scene all the way up to where Donnie catching Micheal in a drug deal
- Micheal explaining how he feels about being the worst person in the world up to the point where he says it's torture
- Jared drives off and then the chase scene. A shortened version of the first scene is shown.
- Micheal explaining all his regrets and feelings of guilt to the very end.